For Dom Tyson, growing up involved footy in the winter and golf in the school holidays.
While school holidays are no longer relevant for the Melbourne midfielder, the philosophy still stands; footy is Tyson’s full-time job but golf is an important pastime, and a lot of other footballers can identify.
“It’s hard to put your finger on the sport’s popularity. It’s one of the only other sports you can comfortably get away with playing,” Tyson told Aflplayers.com.au.
“Given everyone is competitive within the AFL ranks, golf is a good way to satisfy that competitiveness in another format. There’s a great social element to golf and it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends.
“It’s such a challenging sport, some days you feel like you’re progressing and others you feel like you’re back at square one, so it’s a tantalizing game.”
The 23-year-old started his golfing towards the end of his primary school years.
Coinciding with the end of a another long school term, Tyson along with brothers Sam, now 25, and Hugh, now 22, would sneak onto the golf course with their grandfather late in the warm summer evenings to have a hit.
The informal teachings of their granddad, who’s now been a member at Riversdale Golf Club for more than three decades, was the beginning of Tyson’s passion for the sport.
That desire hasn’t waivered since joining the AFL ranks. Now entering his sixth year at the elite level, Tyson is part of a strong cohort of Melbourne teammates who enjoy a hit during the ups and downs of an AFL season.
“I spend a lot of my spare time playing golf. There’s a group of boys at Melbourne that get out there pretty regularly and probably use our days off for a combination of studying and golf.
“It’s a really good outlet and is one of the only sports you can play without risking injury. You’re competitive by nature being an AFL footballer, so it’s pretty relaxing to get that hint of competitiveness out there in a social setting.”
An avid golfer needs adequate golfing equipment, but golf is an expensive sport to play and one that doesn’t cater for those who aren’t as keen as Tyson.
That’s where he identified an area in the market that could use a little help.
“12 months ago one of my school mates and I came up with the idea of a more affordable brand of golfing apparel.
“We thought there was probably a gap for people who don’t play all that regularly and weren’t willing to spend $100 on a golf polo and wear it once every six months.
“I feel there’s also a lack of versatile golfing apparel. You see a lot of expensive golfing polos at pro shops that are purely a golf polo in design, so there was an opportunity to provide a quality product that wouldn’t look out of place at a café or at a family BBQ as well as on the course.”
Launching last week, Clutch & Co. offers simple golfing apparel and is a way for Tyson to combine his love for the sport while also using some teachings from the commerce degree he’s currently undertaking.
Tyson’s brothers are also helping out and they’re using their father’s 20 years of experience in the sporting goods industry to pick up a few extra tips.
With the footy season fast approaching, university about to commence for 2017 and the launch of a new business, Tyson is sure to have his hands full throughout the year.
In between all of those commitments, Tyson is under no illusions he’ll need to deliver on the course to excel in the clubhouse.
“If I’m honest and despite all the practice over the years, I’m still a very average player and that’s something that contradicts the business.”
“So I might need to get that in order to help the business grow.”