They say that golf is addictive, well in Michael Barrymore’s case then it was super addictive. He came to me as his minder Steve Gilbey had researched for Michael to have a private instructor and I was taken off to the Buckinghamshire Golf Club to coach him.
To say that Michael took to Golf like a duck to water is an understatement. He explained to me that he was used to rehearsing dance steps all day and If I told him what to do he would work hard on it. Well he was true to his word as he really did make great progress. This video below is Michael after just three months starting as a complete beginner.
Michael 3 Months After Starting
Trip To Scotland
Over a period of time I became great friends with Michael. Partied at his house and we travelled all over the Country playing golf whilst I coached him. I was actually with him around the time when the news broke out which virtually went Worldwide with news that he was leaving his wife. I knew Cheryl as well so it was tough for a while and everywhere we went photographers were hassling Michael.
One trip that stands out for me really for me was when Michael took me up to Scotland. Michael booked me into the Gleneagles hotel. It was a spectacular arrival in his dark blue Bently convertible and as we pulled up the bagpipes were playing. I am not a lover of bagpipes myself however somehow they seem different when played in Scotland. We checked in and I honestly had not stayed in a room so big for a long time and the drinks were all included (must have been expensive for him then!). We went out to play that afternoon and we were on the course and his phone rang. He had been on the phone all the round on and off and this time he was looking for a ball. His phone rang and the minder shouted across from the other side of the fairway for me to answer it, so I did.
The voice was quite, very quiet, almost soft like the volume was down however it was exceptionally well spoken. ” Is Michael there” She asked. “No he isn’t he is currently looking for his ball he has just hit another ropey pull hook” I answered. The woman carried on “Oh so with whom I am speaking with then” to which I replied I was Ian and Michaels golf coach. The woman replied that it was Diana and could I get him to return her call when he was free. She hung up by wishing us a good round of golf. When the minder asked who had called I told him Diana. He said nothing and Michael called her back and was again on the phone whilst Steve, myself and Trevor continued to play the hole.
Later that night we sat at dinner. We had to wear a shirt and jacket, they gave me a horrid tie to wear which I put straight in my pocket anyway and I sat and looked at the menu. It was pretty expensive and even the Wild mushroom soup was out of my price range (And probably still is). Steve Gilbey looked at me and said ” I am going to choose for you ,and your having Chateaubriand with me and thats that.” You never really argued with Steve as he was Steve Gilbey a well known and legendary minder figure in London. His voice was so powerful and always went straight through me. “Chateaubriand it is then Steve” at which he said “Been a good day for you then Ian, you played pretty well today, spoke to Princess Diana and now your having Chateaubriand with me and I am looking after you as usual.” His words shook me to the core as usual however this time I never replied as it hit me like a tonne of bricks. It was at that moment I realised that day it was Princess Diana I had been talking to.
I could write a book on the times with Michael Barrymore and maybe I will save the stories for my own book. As for Steve Gilbey, true to his words I know he is still probably still out there somewhere and still looking after me.