Usman Khawaja is a busy man. The left handed top order batsman plays Test Match, One Day and T20 cricket for Australia and in 2016 he will visit New Zealand, India, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, and South Africa before returning home for this years’ summer.
Whilst not playing cricket or travelling you can often find Usman enjoying his other great passion, golf, here at The Brisbane Golf Club.
Golf was introduced to Usman as early as the age of seven by his father who would take him to the Moore Park driving range in Sydney. Largely self-taught, that is where Usman learnt to swing a club, however, it would be some years later when he moved with his family to Parramatta that he would play his first round.
With a back yard that shared a gate with the 9th hole of Parramatta Golf Club, a council owned and operated 9-hole course, Usman began playing rounds of golf at the age of 16. The modest course offered Usman convenient grounds to regularly exercise his swing.
“I wasn’t great at golf but I loved it,” said Usman.
As his cricket career bloomed, Usman would use golf as a palate cleanser of sorts and would get out on the golf course as a way to get a break from the cricket nets.
As a member at Oatlands Golf Club in Sydney, Usman was afforded reciprocal rights with The Brisbane Golf Club by way of a long standing agreement between the two clubs. When Usman would venture north to play cricket he would often stop in to enjoy a round at The Brisbane Golf Club and soon became well acquainted. After making the permanent move to Brisbane to captain the Queensland Bulls last year Usman became a full member at The Brisbane Golf Club and has thoroughly enjoyed his time thus far.
His short game is where Usman feels most at home and through his chipping is where he makes many of his gains. Surprisingly, unlike on the cricket field, it is driving which causes the most concern.
“My driving is absolutely horrible,” said Usman.
“However, I’ve started golf lessons with Reece from the golf shop and I’m hopeful I’ll be hitting it as good as he does shortly.”
Usman plays in the Saturday competition when his cricket commitments allow him to and he admits that the sportsman in him prefers competitive golf to social play as it gives him a goal to chase.
“That’s why I love golf, it’s competitive and I really enjoy the challenge of playing to and beating my handicap’” said Usman.
At the same time I can just relax and enjoy it and be really social with whoever I’m playing with.”
“The great thing about The Brisbane Golf Club is the fellowship amongst members. They have all been very welcoming.”
When asked if his expertise with the cricket bat lent itself to his golf swing he replied with a brief chuckle.
“You hit a ball and that’s basically where the relationship between golf and cricket stops,” he said.
“Plenty of times you find cricket players who are good at golf are actually bowlers rather than batsman, oddly enough. Ryan Harris, also a member of The Brisbane Golf Club, is an example of that.”
“Whilst they’re both swinging actions, there are so many differences between the two.”
With Usman’s handicap getting as low as 5 it’s clear he’s a natural sportsman capable of turning his instincts to many different disciplines and finding results, just like he does with the three forms of cricket he plays, at the highest level all around the world.