Most of us know Denise Van Outen from her roles in the West End and her time on our favourite Saturday night talent show Strictly Come Dancing. But a few years ago she fell in love with golf, and now she’s just as likely to be found on the greens as she is on the dance floor.

I caught up with the TV personality for a golf lesson, plus a chat about how she caught the golfing bug, how she’s made the sport work for her, and of course, Strictly…

How did you first get into golf?

One of my friends bought me a set of clubs for my 40th birthday on the condition that I tried having lessons. I agreed even though I didn’t think I’d stick at it, I used to think that golf was really boring and fuddy-duddy.

But I had my first lesson at the Grove in Hertfordshire and I just loved it! So I signed up for 10 more and it just snowballed from there really. I’ve been playing for around two years now. Mainly because of my job I get invited to go and play at a lot of charity events, but they’re always good fun.

Why do you enjoy golf more than other sports?

I love everything about it. It’s great for keeping fit, getting you outdoors, and it’s really fun. It’s also very social; you can do a lot of talking because it’s just you and your friends with nothing to disturb you.

I like that you’re more in competition with yourself than with other people. It doesn’t really matter what everyone else is playing as long as you’re improving and you’re feeling good about yourself. I think most other sports I’ve come across are far more competitive.

It doesn’t have to take a long time, some courses are just nine holes and that only takes a couple of hours. It’s good for concentration as well, I could never imagine myself doing yoga but golf is kind of like my version of meditation.


Do you like wearing golf clothes?

I love golf clothes and all the fun, sorbet colours they come in. I think they’ve changed a lot recently and have become more trendy. The whole perception that golf is for older people has gone away a bit now.

Have you made many friends through golf?

Yes, everyone I’ve met has been so nice and welcoming.  I’ve gotten to know Justin Rose and he’s a lovely man and very helpful. He’s a great example of a golfer who plays at a really high standard but will still take time to help you.

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Did golf come easily to you?

I don’t think it’s a sport that comes naturally to me and I do struggle with it. But I think that’s partly what got me so hooked; I like the fact that I’m always learning.

My friend Rachael Drummond is a professional golfer and she’ll always help me out if I’m struggling. I find a really good way to learn is to get someone to film you doing a swing and then when you watch it back you can see what you’re doing right or wrong.

But I do throw myself in at the deep end by playing with people who have been golfers for twenty odd years. So I try not to be too hard on myself as I haven’t been playing for very long really. The only way I’m going to learn is by playing with people who are really good.

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Do you get ever get nervous on the first tee?

Absolutely, Celtic Manor’s Celebrity Cup was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.

Performing on stage is scary, but teeing off in front of everyone is terrifying. It’s just not what I do, it’s just a hobby for me so it’s much more daunting than performing on stage. But I’m glad I did it because since that day I’m not freaked out if there are like five or 10 people watching.

Does your daughter play golf?

She’s got her own clubs and she goes out on the putting green, but she’s only six so she doesn’t play properly. It would be lovely to be able to play with her when she’s older though. My boyfriend Eddie plays as well so it’s a nice thing for us all to do together.

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What would you say to other women who are thinking of taking up golf?

I think a lot of women are put off from golf because it’s such a male dominated sport. But all the men I’ve met on the course will go out of their way to help me if I’m having a tricky shot. I think this whole stuffy stigma that women shouldn’t play golf has subsided a lot now and the new generation of male golfers love having women on the course.

If you’re just learning maybe have lessons with some friends who are also beginners so you can support each other. Once you’ve hit a good shot you’ll never look back!

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Are you watching Strictly this year?

Of course, I love Strictly and all the glamour and glitz; it’s perfect Saturday night TV! I think this year’s line up is better than ever, I’m friends with Laura Whitmore and Louise Redknapp and I’m a big fan of Daisy Lowe.

When you’ve done it yourself you appreciate how technical the dancing is and you know how dedicated the contestants need to be.

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Did you make any friends while you were on the show?

Absolutely, I loved working with Craig, Len and Anton, everyone really. I’ve played golf with Anton before and he’s really good.

Kimberley Walsh was on it with me and she’s one of my best friends, and I also got on extremely well with Michael Vaughan. It’s a really bonding experience doing that show. You literally live, eat and breathe Strictly for months, but it was such good fun.


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