What sort of level does the Real Madrid star play at in his favourite sport outside of football? Goal has all the details
Gareth Bale earned the nickname 'The Golfer' at Real Madrid and his apparent obsession with golf has resulted in a lot of derision, with his own supporters even mocking him.
As he struggled to find form at the Santiago Bernabeu and found himself occupying a place on the bench more often than not, his predilection for a game of golf was held against him by some.
"A lot of people have problems with me playing golf," Bale told the EAL podcast. "I don't know what their reason is because I've spoken to doctors and everybody's fine with it.
"The media has this perception that it's not good for me. Steph Curry plays maybe on the morning of a game. If I play two days before a game, it's like 'what's he doing?'"
He's taken the criticism in good spirits, however, and even appeared with a banner which featured the slogan, 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.' when Wales qualified for Euro 2020.
“I am a golfer. Have you not seen the pictures?" Bale said of his new nickname, which was given to him by Thibaut Courtois, in 2019. He added: "I'm very happy with the nickname to be honest. It's a great one."
Evidently, then, Bale's love of golf is well documented, but is he actually any good? Goal takes a look at the Wales star's handicap and more.What is Gareth Bale's golf handicap?
Bale plays off a handicap of three or four in golf. He revealed his handicap in conversation with Erik Anders Lang in 2020 when the pair played a six-hole match at Golf Santander in Madrid.
A handicap of three or four means the Wales star is an above average amateur golfer, being so close to 'scratch' (0), though he is still not quite as good as the professionals.
Looking forward to watching the US Open this week. Pebble is an amazing course, as long as you drive it well. Cheering for all the #TeamTaylorMade guys this week, especially @djohnsonpga. #usopen pic.twitter.com/9ZEQ0MW09B— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) June 13, 2019
In 2015, the Daily Express reported that the forward's handicap was "a respectable six", meaning that his time playing in Madrid and over the world has helped him improve, if only slightly.
He clearly plays enough to be getting better, but is he really playing too much? It seems unlikely and he has stressed that it is simply a pastime, which helps him unwind.
"Football is my No.1 sport. I'm paid to do it and I always give my best. Golf is a hobby like anyone else would have a hobby," Bale said in 2019.
"There is nothing wrong with having a round. People make a lot of it, but a lot of footballers play and it's one thing I really enjoy.
"It keeps me calmer off the pitch and gives me time away from football which is nice.”Does Gareth Bale have a golf course at his house?
Bale has a three-hole golf course at his home in Wales, with par-3 holes modelled on a selection from three high profile venues. It was built in 2018.
The holes at Bale's mini course are: 17th at Sawgrass, the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon and the 12th at Augusta.
There have been some memorable moments at @theplayerschamp... I was lucky enough to have a go at recreating them! What do you think, @TigerWoods? @pgatour pic.twitter.com/wBhpCNNPsf— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) March 14, 2019
The dimensions of the holes in question are slightly smaller in Bale's course and he intends to expand the course when he eventually moves back home to Cardiff.
"We based them on three holes that I really like," Bale told the EAL podcast. "We've had to call them 'the replica of...' because it's not the exact same dimensions.
"[The replica of 17th at Sawgrass] is a little bit smaller, the green, which makes it harder. So when I actually went to play Sawgrass, the green felt massive!"