The world’s most epic golf event

Richard Branson stands with a group of golfers at the Necker Open.  It's a sunny day and the sea is visible in the distance behind them
Image from Necker Open
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 23 December 2019

While I’ve shared lots about the Necker Cup, the pro-am charity tennis tournament we host each year, we also host the Necker Open – and this year was one for the ages.

I got chance to hit the greens with the Necker Open players on the beautiful Nail Bay Golf Course, a few minutes boat away from Necker. The like of Greg Norman, Bryson DeChambeau, Michael Campbell and Tommy Fleetwood have joined the Necker Open before. This year we had the special honour of welcoming Sir Nick Faldo, one of the all-time greats, who I have watched win many a major honour.

Richard Branson playing golf with Nick Faldo and Rod Laver
Image from Greg Rose

It was a real privilege to watch Nick in action – he certainly hasn’t lost any of his golfing skills. As for his talent on the tennis court? You’ll have to wait and see. We also got chance to sit down and discuss our lives and careers – including some delightful coincidences. More on that soon.

We are also joined by an incredible guest in the form of Rod Laver. Perhaps the greatest tennis player of all time, he told me how he became a keen golf player in order to improve his health and now absolutely loves the sport. It keeps him fit and active – and he’s got a fantastic short game too!

Richard Branson standing with Rod Laver and Nick Faldo on the golf course at Necker Island
Image from Greg Rose

My own golf is, let’s say, slightly scratchy. But the Necker Open makes it fun for all abilities, with unique challenges like hitting golf balls through hanging melon slices, and our legendary floating green challenge. Players hit the ball from the roof of the Great House on Necker onto a green bobbing in the ocean below – and don’t worry, the balls are made of fish food!

Richard Branson playing golf with sea and mountains in the background
Image from Necker Open

The world’s most epic golf event runs in parallel with the Necker Cup, which makes for lots of mingling of golfand tennis legends and fans. The event is also run by Premier Live and Mehow to raise funds for good causes – with more than $3 million going to charities including Virgin Unite and the National Tennis Foundation so far. Thanks for everyone who supported us in 2019, and we’re looking forward to 2020 already.