ME & MY TRAVELS: GAVIN HASTINGS

Scotland’s record-breaking full back is happiest when hoofing a howitzer down the fairways at Turnberry’s Ailsa Course

 My first holiday memory is… going to Mallorca as a kid and having a ball with my brothers. We stayed in a multi-storey hotel and we all thought it was fantastic as there was a big pool which we were in all day. I have a feeling though that my parents hated it!

My most recent golf trip was to… The Grove in Hertfordshire as a guest of Crew Clothing. I joined the brand to celebrate the launch of its new golf apparel collection. Crew is a partner to the Legends Tour and I had the pleasure of meeting their team in Mauritius earlier this year. The brand is a big supporter of British sport and it’s been fantastic to spend more time with them in the past few months. The Grove was in fantastic nick and I’m delighted to say that our team won the competition – so a great day all round!

My favourite golf course abroad is… Shek O Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong. It’s a really superb test and one that I have enjoyed whenever I’ve been out there for the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. It’s a short course, measuring well under 5,000 yards, and with no par fives, but its clifftop location, with the front nine overlooking the Tathong Channel, is breathtaking.

My ideal holiday fourball would include... my three brothers – for the banter and the competition. We are aiming to have our first game since pandemic somewhere in Scotland this summer. Needless to say, there will be a lot of family bragging rights at stake!

My most memorable ever round of golf was at… the Old Course at St Andrews. Aged about 14 or 15, I needed a par on the 18th hole to break 100. I got up and down from in front of the green and felt like I had won The Open Championship!

My favourite golf resort is… La Manga in Spain. I have been there every year – barring Covid – for 20-plus years and the three courses are terrific. I have so many memorable times playing there with friends and always having a laugh. I used to play in the Wooden Spoon Celebrity Rugby Golf Classic there, which was always great fun.

I always travel with… my Apple iPad. It’s so light and convenient on the plane or in the hotel. I use it to keep up with emails, stream TV shows, podcasts and listen to music.

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in was… Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. It is like catching up with an old friend and the staff are fantastic, as is the service and quality of food. The Captain’s Bar is a must visit.

My favourite city in the world is… Hong Kong. It’s such a buzzing and vibrant place, and I’m finally beginning to know my way around having had so many great times there over the last 30 years.

My memorable meal while on holiday was at… the Hong Kong Hilton in 1990. Lunch lasted from midday until about 8pm. The food and drink we consumed was just mind-blowing and it just kept on coming.

My holiday reading/playlist would include…anything to make me relax. I am a big fan of Jo Nesbo thrillers. 

I’m planning a golf trip to… the USA, hopefully sometime later this year. The West Coast beckons, hopefully Pebble Beach, as it’s been on my bucket list for ages.

My top travel tip is… to set your watch to the time zone of the country you are visiting before you leave home. That way you’re straight into their time and you forget about jet lag. Just go with the flow!