A former golf caddy has revealed how chatting to his clients about their lives on the course helped him become one of the country’s top biographers.
Mark Eglinton spent almost five years advising golfers as they made their way around 18 holes.
During that time, he found he had a knack for getting them to relax and open up about their personal life.
Since then, the 48-year-old has written books with rock stars and sports stars.
And he’s now working with former Liverpool and England hero Michael Owen on the striker’s life story.
But Mark didn’t study English or learn how to write at university. He mastered his interviewing skills while working at the Old Course in St Andrews.
Mark said: “Working as a caddy, I got the opportunity to really learn about people, to understand them, and I also became quite skilled at getting them to open up and really talk.
“For those four-and-a-half hours, you are forced to be in each other’s company on the golf course. You can really learn about each other – as well as just talking about golf.
“There are not many jobs where you have the opportunity to be in someone’s company for so long on a one-to-one basis.
“So every moment I was out there on the golf course with whoever it was, I was learning that little bit more about how people tick, what their stories were and developing an awareness of how to project their voice on paper.”
Dad-of-two Mark, from St Andrews, gave up his job as a caddy after getting his first book deal in 2010 – to write the biography of Metallica’s James Hetfield.
The success of the book gave him the courage to approach many of his childhood heroes and sporting legends he admired to ask them if they would allow him to write their autobiographies.
Mark was delighted when stars, including Australian World Cup-winning rugby captain Michael Lynagh and Pantera bassist Rex Brown, agreed.
He has now written 11 books – mainly co-writing autobiographies – with several more in the pipeline.
Mark, who caddied for sports legends including Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent at the Dunhill Links Championship in St Andrews, said: “Rex Brown was a member of the heavy metal band Pantera, who were huge in the 90s.
“Their whole legacy is clouded by the on-stage shooting of their guitar player Dimebag Darrell some years after they had disbanded.
“It was one of the biggest moments in music and changed music security forever – the fact that
“I thought, ‘Here is a band who are huge and none of the members have done an autobiography.’ So I contacted bass player Rex and he said, ‘OK. Let’s do it.’
“After that, I didn’t want to be typecast as someone who could only write heavy metal books.
“I was always really interested in sport so I contacted Michael Lynagh, who won the Rugby World Cup with Australia in 1991 and had a major stroke in 2012 and almost died.
“I said, ‘Hey, I’m a huge fan of yours. I watched you playing when I was a kid at school. There’s a
“At first he said, ‘I’m not very rock and roll. I’m worried my story wouldn’t be very exciting.’
“But I told him the opposite was true – that he had a really exciting story – and so we did it.”
Mark doesn’t have a hitlist of stars whose autobiographies he wants to write but says many of the people he has worked with have been his heroes.
His most recent book, Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest, is the autobiography of the band’s guitarist KK Downing. Mark said: “I’m working with the people that I had on my bedroom wall.
“I listened to these guys, bought tickets to their concerts, watched them play different sports and here I am now, sitting in a room with them, writing their autobiographies. All these guys were my idols.
“I’m currently working with Michael Owen, a fantastic footballer and a hero of mine.
“Michael had previously done a book in 2004 but at the time he was still very young and hamstrung somewhat by commitments to agents, football clubs etc and couldn’t say too much about certain things.
“Now he’s retired and in a different place with a lot more perspective on things that happened.
“There’s lots he wants to say now that he didn’t get to say back then.”
Mark added: “I loved working as a caddy and now I’m loving my work helping to write the stories of these amazing people.”
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