At 38 years of age there is still much that Marc Leishman wants to achieve. A six-time PGA Tour winner, there is a Major itch Leishman is still desperate to scratch and the Tokyo Olympian has his sights set on donning the green and gold at least once more at Le Golf National in Paris in 2024.
Yet for a professional golfer who has had to confront life’s harsh realities head on, Leishman has already considered what comes next.
When his wife Audrey became gravely ill in 2015 and was given little chance of survival, Warrnambool’s favourite son’s first thought was of quitting the game entirely and raising his two boys back in Australia.
But Audrey’s miraculous recovery and the arrival of daughter Eva completed the family dynamic and allowed Leishman to refocus on what he wanted to achieve, both on and off the golf course.
With Audrey taking the lead he has helped to establish the Begin Again Foundation that includes the LeishLine Financial Aid Fund, which to date has awarded 415 one-time $1,000 grants to sepsis, acute respiratory distress or toxic shock syndrome survivors throughout America.
As a one-month promotion for the Foundation, Leishman Lager was developed in 2019 and given his knockabout personality, love of a frothy and home country’s fondness for a drop it is now in more than 300 venues throughout Australia.
Such is his interest in expanding his off-course involvements Leishman took advantage of the opportunity to talk business with one of golf’s most expansive entrepreneurs, our very own Greg Norman.
Partnered with Cam Smith at last year’s QBE Shootout in Florida, Leishman sat with Norman not in hopes of replicating the Great White Shark Enterprise portfolio but to simply glean some gold nuggets that he can apply to his own interests.
“Obviously he’s been very successful so I picked his brain a little bit on a few different things,” revealed Leishman ahead of this week’s Houston Open.
“What he said made a lot of sense. I knew why he was successful already but now that I’ve spoken to him a bit about it, I understand how he’s gone about it and why he is as successful as he is.
“As an elite athlete you’re always looking to learn and get better. It’s not just on the golf course. It’s as a person, as a businessman, as a dad, everything.
“Coming into my late 30s, you start thinking about that. You don’t know how long you’re going to be able to play golf for and you want to be able to do something afterwards.
“I’m just doing stuff that I enjoy. Everything I do, I enjoy. I don’t do anything that seems like a chore which is a good thing.
“I’ve been really lucky with my golf that I’ve been successful. I probably don’t have to do any of that other stuff but I’m always thinking ahead.
“When I do finish playing golf – hopefully it’s not for another 15 years – but when I do I want to have something to keep striving towards and keep getting better and keep improving.
“I don’t want to be sitting around and not having a whole lot to do.
“I need a purpose.”
While he is as hands on as he can be, Leishman attributes his growing brewing empire and philanthropic efforts to the people he has around him.
As President, Audrey drives much of the Begin Again Foundation activity – “I’ve just got to be in certain places at certain times” – and Leishman Lager is a passion project for which he is happy to serve as chief taste tester.
“The beer’s a lot of fun,” Leishman concedes.
“Just going and spending some time with the boys and something that I can do when golf’s done.
“It started out just as a one-month beer for our foundation here in Virginia Beach.
“It’s expanded throughout Virginia, we’re in Florida as well, and then obviously we started the Leishman Lager in Australia.
“That’s gone Australia wide already. Anywhere in Australia that you want to get the beer, you can get it. If golf clubs want it, we have reps that they can get it from.
“We’re at over 300 venues now in Australia and we’re looking to expand that.”