Greg Norman: What COVID has taught me
Having spent most of my life in the public eye, I feel like I've been put in a box almost the entire time. But social media has allowed me to have direct access to my fans, and that's what I enjoy about it. I like to be able to share my life outside of golf.
If I had social media when I was playing golf, then I could have closed the gap between perception and reality. People judged me for the wrong reasons - they based their own opinions on those of others and how the media portrayed me.
I wish I would have had that direct access so I would have been able to, quite simply, give the public the truth.
Honestly, a lot of people don't realise I do have a sense of humour about myself. I take the mickey out of myself all the time. I give my friends a lot of sh*t, and it goes both ways. I can dish it out and I can take it back.
I think that's because as an Australian, you've got to be able to take the piss out of yourself, right?
Most people have seen me in serious mode playing golf, but at the end of the day, when you get into my inner circle of family and friends, I've actually got a light, moderate side to me.
And my new project Holey Moley is a great way to show it off. I was very intrigued by it. To showcase golf from a lighthearted point of view - plus it's competitive - was a no-brainer for me.
I had to film the show remotely, from my home base in the US. It really was a credit to everyone that we filmed out of multiple locations and did such a phenomenal job under the circumstances.
I've never done anything like this before, and for me it was a crash course in basic acting. I had to learn about things like inflection and mannerisms.
I really had some fun designing the holes, too - my favourite features Greg the Shark. Just so you know, he's not named after me, he's named after my son.
When the pandemic first hit, we were finishing building a house, so that helped me keep my mind off things. And then, like a lot of people, I realised the way I do business had to change.
I've been through a few recessions and every time you have to prepare yourself about how you want to come out of that recession. You have to rethink your positioning. And we've been doing that very meticulously and very methodically with COVID.
I'm proud of what we've done during this time. There's going to be a lot of change coming out of this. I've been forced to improvise. For example, I'm building all of my golf courses by drone because I can't travel.
This is the longest amount of time I have spent away from Australia since 1976. My father is 93 and I wanted to get back a couple months ago and I couldn't because of quarantining; it was going to be something like a six-week turnaround and it was just not practical.
I miss Australia. I miss the way it sounds. Not long ago, I was on the phone with my parents and the sounds of the bird life in the background was something else. And the smell of Australia... it's so clean and fresh. I love the coffee and I miss the people; they're so easygoing.
We are very blessed with that quality of life. It's one that only Australia can deliver.
But who can say what will happen with the virus? I want to get back to Australia as soon as I can. To tell you the truth, I think about coming home every second day.
Greg Norman is the resident golf pro on Seven Network's Holey Moley, which debuts Monday, February 1 at 7.30pm.
Originally published as Greg Norman: What COVID has taught me