My life in golf: Wayne Rooney

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Wayne Rooney has just broken Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time goal-scoring record for Manchester United, with his 250th strike for the club.

“Obviously it is a proud moment,” Rooney said. “It is a bit of a strange feeling as obviously we wanted three points but didn't get it. But on the other end it is a proud moment for myself to get that record and a huge honour for me.

“I've been at the club a long time. Obviously those goals have built up over the years but to finally get that record it is a great feeling.”

Rooney also overtook Charlton to become England's all-time top scorer after netting his 50th goal for the Three Lions with an 84th-minute penalty in a 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win against Switzerland in September 2015.

A five-time Premier League champion, Rooney has also won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup and two League Cups – be he told us he gets just as much of a buzz playing golf.

Golf for me began when I was pretty young. I was about seven years old when I used to go out with a 7-iron and just settled for hitting the ball. Actually I was cack-handed until five years ago, but changed things round and really got into it from there.

Golf was on the backburner for so long with football the priority. Now I look forward to taking any chance I can to play. I also enjoy watching golf on TV. However, with a young family, it’s not always easy. It’s a sport anyone can play – unlike football, where you have to be reasonably fit. With golf, it doesn’t matter what standard you’re at, you can always go out and play.

Rooney

One of the best courses I’ve played is Queenwood in Surrey. I played there on the weekend of the 2013 Open at Muirfield. We had breakfast before we played and Gary Player was there, too. I’ve also played the Blue Monster at Doral in Florida, but it was too hard. Really tough.

I live very close to Prestbury GC in Cheshire and it’s lovely. The only thing is that with playing football for a living, for me it’s preferable to go round in a buggy… but Prestbury don’t allow buggies onto the course. There are lots of very nice courses in my area and my lad is currently having lessons at Mottram Hall. I haven’t had lessons myself yet, though I’ve sneakily been picking up a few things from my lad’s – so it’s a case of two for the price of one!

My current handicap? Two... only joking. I wish. About 16 on a good day would be closer to the mark. I don’t have as much time to play as I’d like though we usually manage to get a game or two in during the England get-togethers at The Grove. Naturally I’m pretty competitive – a few years ago I used to be an angry golfer, but I’ve calmed down quite a lot.

Fellow striker Harry Kane (seven) would be the lowest handicap England player, though I’ve played Harry a few times and to be honest I’ve been more impressed with Phil Jagielka (7.6). James Milner is also a very solid player. My best round to date was at Wentworth, where I finished about 10 over and even beat Jags by a couple of shots.

Best golfing experience? It would have to be in Qatar, where we followed Justin Rose for nine holes; it was just brilliant to watch. I then did a Nike TV commercial with Rory McIlroy and after we’d finished, we had a game. It was incredible to watch Rory play. He’s a big United fan and has since become a close friend, supporting my Foundation (officialwaynerooney.com/foundation), which has been really good.

My short game is my main downfall though I’ve got a mean ‘flop’ shot... it’s right up there with Mickelson’s! My driving used to have a big left to right going on, but I’ve straightened that up and I can hit it around the 260-yard mark. I used to try and smash it, hence the huge slice, but I’ve changed my swing, am more controlled and take it a lot slower.

Rooney

Premier League and international football is obviously pretty exciting, but I love the buzz about golf. I enjoy the pre-round excitement, checking the weather forecast, the anticipation during the journey to the course and then stepping onto the first tee and having the feeling you’re going to play well. It’s a great escape, and for four hours takes you away from all the pressures. It’s also a little break from the kids as well.

Golfing ambitions? I’m thinking big – to win the Masters! Actually, to play Augusta would be great and, seriously, when I finally finish playing it would be great to get down to single figures. 

I’ve got a nice putting green at home – I bought it for my lad – but I’m in the process of getting a new place and there will be a few good golfing things involved... a mini course, a few holes, driving range, pro shop, stuff like that. Actually I’ve exaggerated on one or two things there but, even so, I can’t wait.