Cara Robinson: Landing her dream presenting job (Part 1)
Cara Robinson spent three years as an assistant producer and presenter with Golfing World before landing her dream of hosting the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive.
Your Twitter activity reveals a love for Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club – is that where your love of golf comes from?
Yes, and I have my family to thank for that. As a child, I grew up spending summer holidays at my grandparents house in St. Margaret’s Bay and the whole family would get involved in the annual ‘Deal Week’.
In fact, for any family into golf, I highly recommend a trip to Deal at the end of August, in the week running up to the Bank Holiday. The club runs a series of open competitions for anyone. That’s the beauty, you don’t have to be a member to take part. There are all sorts of events – I actually won my first tournament this year, the Ladies Stableford!
One of the great things about Deal is its well-stocked halfway hut and the ancient highway that gives you the ability to easily drive to the 9th hole and, in my aunt’s language, ‘hole-hop’ your way in (should you choose not to walk) stopping at the various lay-bys on the high way and see matchplay contests come to a close.
With no girls my age playing golf when I grew up, I spent a lot of time with my aunt ‘hole-hopping’ and at the halfway hut – a very sociable spot on the golf course, and where we now have a bench in my late brother’s name.
What or who inspired you to get involved in media, journalism and TV?
I always wanted to work in television, and was inspired – of all people – by Davina McCall! To this day, I have never met her but I grew up watching her present entertainment programmes and just thought I want to be able to convey a message to the viewer in the same, down-to-earth, likeable manner that she does. There is just something about her. Down-to-earth likeable manner that resonates with me.
I went and got a degree in Politics at Newcastle (the ‘fall-back’ option to appease the parents!) but then got my first job as a Runner on a Saturday night chat-show. It was an amazing introduction to production, working in a team.
Via a contact at IMG I managed to arrange a meeting, which several months later led to an interview and I fell into a job at IMG Sports Media as a Production Secretary working on a football documentary. I was booking flights & hotels for shoots, transcribing scripts etc.
From there, the only way was up! I landed a sabbatical cover as the PA to the Co-Managing Director of European Tour Productions – that was my big break into golf.
I spent weekends learning how to Assistant Produce on the European Senior Tour under the supervision of a producer who became my mentor – and I will never forget my first week conducting interviews with the likes of Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Juan Quiros at the Casa Serena Open in Prague!
Golfing World has been a great success for IMG – you were involved pretty much from the start?
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I joined the team as one of the ‘preditors’ (a self-shooting producer and editor) and so for a couple of years I travelled around the European Tour as a one-man band filming and editing my own features.
I also co-presented the National Sevens Series of rugby for Sky Sports and started to host a lot of digital content for Golfing World. So when Sky suggested they made the programme presenter-led, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity. It went from there, presenting the weekly 30 minute Golfing World programme for Sky Sports and the monthly inflight edition.
What were the highlights of that role?
Travel was certainly one. I think I spent 25 weeks on the road one year. From America to Dubai, South Africa, Barbados, Mauritius, I have been lucky to travel to some incredible places with golf.
But it’s not all as glamorous as it sounds. Some of the regular European trips do just become airport/hotel/golf course and you find yourself going through the routine.
Who is the best interview in golf?
You know, it’s hard to say. I always tell people I feel very lucky to work in the sport of golf. We are blessed with amazing athletes.
The access we get in this sport, I believe, is better than any other and I constantly remind myself of that. There are the jokers in the pack (like Henrik Stenson) and the reliable Brits (Justin Rose). On the most part everyone will give a good interview – it just depends on what you’re asking!
I learnt very early on to be respectful of the golfers’ routines and know the best time to approach them. That’s how you get the most out of them. I used to do a lot of ‘Walk the Course’ features for Golfing World. Most memorably with Rory McIlroy on the Old Course at St Andrews, the week after he was part of the winning European team in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Part 2 coming soon…
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