Golfing with a rockstar: A better drug

The Wombats frontman Mathew Murphy talked to CLICKON about the role golf plays in his life. Like us, he believes there’s a lot more to it than just swinging a club.

“Existential,” the word Murph used to describe golf, a brief assessment that tells you a lot about this laconic and genial man. We were immediately taken by his openness and ease, it was an enticing combination. No topic was off limits and no conversation was caveated.

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This is Mathew Murphy, the lead singer and guitarist for The Wombats, the British rock, pop-punk, and more recently, psynth-heavy sounding band from Liverpool. With three successful albums, their ability to mature and develop sound is impressive, and largely apparent when you examine their loyal fanbase. They are best know, in the opinion of many, for the depth of their lyrics and the intimate nature of their subject matter:

“It’s tough to stay objective, baby, with your tongue abseiling down my neck, it’s a bulletproof offer I can’t accept. It’s tough to maintain focus, baby, now all my elephants are in the room.”

The Wombats, Emoticons.

The Wombats. (Source/Beat)

We met Murph at his home in Los Angeles. The sunny drive set the glamorous scene. We passed through the inhospitable roads that link the sprawling communities of the Hollywood Hills. This has to be one of the most secluded parts of LA, where the privacy of people is matched only by the unaccommodating topography — we unsuccessfully asked for directions, twice.

We followed Murph’s instructions and left our car teetering on the side of the road, next to a white Porsche. The heat was intense for November, a small trade-off given the privacy of the idyllic setting.

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We ascended the short hill towards our destination, passing an enormous mural of Mona Lisa, “built as a fuck you from one neighbour to the other,” Murph would later explain. It was conceived after a squabble between two houses on his street; a rather lurid looking picture, she followed us all the way down the hill. At 15 feet by 10 feet, it’s size gratified our Hollywood fantasy.

Entering Murph’s house, we were immediately hit by the presence of golf in his living room: clubs, shoes, and bags adorned the corners. He’d just returned from a golfing holiday in Arizona and reflected on the experience. “The altitude is intense, you can hit the ball so much further! The hangovers are also intense,” he added, with a wry smile.

We headed outside where we were immediately greeted by Daisy, the family dog. “She’s an absolute money swamp,” Murph laughed, “but she’s an important part of our lives.”

Mathew Murphy
Mathew Murphy’s dog Daisy.

“Within the first two weeks of us moving back to the Hollywood Hills, she got skunked four times. She didn’t learn; she wants that skunk and she’s not going to stop until she gets it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty inspiring.”

Murph handed us a drink and looked over to Daisy, who was now urinating next to our video producer. If there was any ice to be broken it lay on the floor, melted next to a proud dog.

This set the tone for our day of filming. Any awkwardness dissipated thanks to the delightful, but incontinent Daisy. We were truly grateful for the opportunity to tell Murph’s story. And that much more determined to explore his love for the game, its existentialism he championed, and the therapy he appreciated.