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In conversation with Tiffany Chaisson

Actions speak louder than words and Tiffany Chaisson is definitely a woman of action. She could not put her love for golf into words but it is quite evident by how beautifully Fairways is progressing in its quest to propel and support hundreds of children to become a part of the golf community. Her enthusiasm for the game is infectious, so it would be a fair warning to keep a club set handy if you chance upon a conversation with the charming and joyful woman. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.

How long have you been playing golf?
I have been playing golf just over 3 years.

How did you get into it?
I was working at Brudenell River Golf Resort in Canada and I started hitting balls at the driving range. I just fell in love with it, got addicted. I have now played 129 courses in 11 countries and when I was golfing on the north coast of Ireland in April last year, I started a non-profit called Fairways sponsoring underprivileged junior golfers all over the world.

What prompted you to start Fairways?
I was golfing with the president at Ballyliffin Golf Club and they said they get a lot of children through their summer program but some kids can’t continue golfing purely because they cannot afford to. I found that was unacceptable and decided to change it so I started Fairways.  We pay for underprivileged junior golfers' membership and lesson packages, green fees and tournament fees. It is different in different countries. We have got juniors in Canada, India, Nepal and Bolivia at the moment and it looks like we will probably be expanding into Australia and maybe Zambia in Africa next year as well.We plan to continue to grow and help kids all over the world

Does Fairways fund only the underprivileged or kids who cannot afford golf but are from moderately well to do families as well?
Underprivileged means different things in different countries, like in India we are helping slum children and in Bolivia they have a similar sort of lifestyle as that of India.  Yet in Canada the families have a lot more than the ones in India or Bolivia but they still cannot afford to play. They sort of live cheque to cheque and there is no extra money to spend.

Why Golf?
I cannot answer that! I don’t know! When I got back to Australia, all my friends went “Golf? What? ”. I am unreservedly happy on a fairway. I love the personal challenge that’s golf. I think that golf gives you really good life lessons, from learning to be patient to analytic time management, course management. It is good for juniors too to learn the etiquettes and respect at a young age and to take all that to become a more well-rounded adult.

Which are the tournaments you have played till now?
I don’t play a lot of tournaments, I play the club championship every year at my course in Canada which I love and that’s just to celebrate my anniversary of golf. I have also played lots of fun tournaments with friends and we have had a few different fundraisers. One of the tournament-like fundraisers I have enjoyed playing was on the summer solstice where I played 111 holes of golf in one day in June this year!

Which is your favorite golf course?
I sort of have a favorite course in every country. But one of the most memorable golf courses that I have played is Club de Golf Montanyá which is about 40 minutes north of Barcelona in Spain. It has some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.

Would you share a funny incident on any of your favorite courses?
At Mt Broughton Golf and Country Club in Australia, a friend of mine and I play there not quite backward but rather haphazardly. We might tee off from the 7th tee and play till the 12th hole. We go all over the course without playing it properly but we also make sure that there is no one on the ground!!

Which is the most challenging course you have come across till now?
Just recently I played at Cabot Cliffs on the east coast of Canada in Cape Breton. It is a relatively new course but it is the number one public golf course in Canada. It is a links style golf on the east coast of Canada. It was quite windy when we played. It is a tricky test of golf and was quite challenging.

What are your golfing goals?
I would like to have 50 juniors in 7 countries this time next year and keep expanding.  I would like to go to a couple of tournaments in the UK next year and get media accreditation which I do in Canada and Australia.

What do you write about?
I write about the golf tournaments and the connections I make there. When I am writing about my experience on a new course, I don’t write about the course or it's history, I write about the people that I meet and the connections I make. As I travel I get to play with professional golfers and captains of different clubs and I write about their golf stories, and why they love golf so much.

When was the last time you visited India?
I was in India around this time last year during Durga puja, it was a very busy time here with lots of people around. It was amazing!

What do you find special about India?
I have never played with a jackal on the course before. Last year when I was in India, I saw something on the course, I asked if it is a dog and they said no it’s a jackal (nonchalantly)!
You have to play different golf in India as the ball doesn’t travel so far because it is so humid here. India is the only county in the world that I think that if I lived here I would have to wear gloves because it is so humid and it gets so sweaty, it makes the club slip.
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