The street where I grew up: Kirsty Gallacher, 46, TV presenter, radio DJ and model shares memories of Wentworth Estate, Virginia Water, Surrey
I was born in Edinburgh, and then my dad Bernard was made the professional at Wentworth Golf Club, so we settled in a big old house designed by the architect WG Tarrant, right on the edge of the golf course on the Wentworth Estate, and there I spent the next 20 or so years.
I appreciate that I’m very, very lucky and it really was an idyllic childhood, surrounded by fresh air and countryside. From a very young age golf was in my blood, and I vividly remember my dad practising his putting on the lounge carpet, which he still does today.
And he still holds his cutlery with the same grip that he holds a golf club. It’s a strange habit that a lot of golfers have, and when he does it now my kids look at him and think, ‘Look at Grandad, he’s mad!’
When I was growing up, Dad was friends with a lot of high-profile golfers including Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo, and also with Bruce Forsyth, who was like an uncle to me.
Kirsty Gallacher, 46, (pictured) TV presenter, radio DJ and model shares memories of Wentworth Estate, Virginia Water, Surrey
He and Dad spent hours putting balls in the living room and were best friends. His widow Winnie is still very close to my parents.
The golfer I have the fondest memories of is the great Seve Ballesteros, who I have to admit was my first crush. He was such a goodlooking man.
I remember him in his navy Slazenger jumper, winning The Open with that stride of his and that Spanish strength, and I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘He’s something else.’
Then he’d appear in the house, and I’d be like, ‘Righty ho!’ I don’t think I could talk, and I generally ran off and looked back through a crack in the door thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s Seve.’ I was in awe of him.
The Wentworth Estate was always a very wealthy area so there were lots of famous neighbours, including Elton John, Sarah Ferguson and even Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who I used to bump into at the local shop. But my dad didn’t take anything for granted and made sure my brother and sister and I didn’t either.
He was born in a working-class town called Bathgate in West Lothian and worked hard to make the most of the gift he’d been given and to give us everything we had.
I had all my formative moments at the Wentworth house, then I moved to London to go to the London College of Fashion and worked at the Joseph clothes shop before I got a job at Sky. Yet I’m a country girl at heart and I couldn’t wait to go back to where I grew up.
When I met my ex-husband we moved to Virginia Water, which reminded me of my happy childhood. Now I’ve moved out into the Berkshire countryside and I love the silence, the birds and the space.
I still go back to the Wentworth Estate from time to time, but our old house no longer exists. My parents moved into a smaller property in the area about ten years ago and the old house has been knocked down and replaced with another, but that doesn’t dilute the memories I have.
I’m still a regular at Wentworth Golf Club too. Like my dad, I’m not the most patient person on the planet, but I’m sticking at it and I’m hoping to get my handicap down.
- Kirsty Gallacher is an ambassador for Kinetica Sports Nutrition. Her Smooth Radio show is on every Saturday from 1pm to 4pm.