Meet Mr Halford, Director of Golf at Mill Hill School. We spoke to Mr Halford to find out a bit more about him and his role.
How long have you worked at Mill Hill School?
I started at Mill Hill School in 2006. This was a particularly exciting time to join The Foundation because it was the 200th anniversary of Mill Hill School. There was a fantastic celebration service at St Paul’s Cathedral and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of it.
What does your role involve?
As Director of Golf, my key role is to ensure that golf is played throughout The Foundation. I work closely with Grimsdell, Belmont, Mill Hill International and Mill Hill School to get pupils involved in the sport. I am excited to promote golf at the new schools which have joined our Foundation.
I also look after the 1st Golf Team; this involves training the team and arranging fixtures. I feel incredibly lucky to work at a school which appreciates the importance of sport. Sixth Formers are even able to have golf lessons with me during their free periods, provided they are up to date with their studies of course.
Boarding duties are another large part of my role. I love everything about boarding at Mill Hill School. Mr Taylor (Foundation Head of Boarding) has even dubbed me “Mr Mill Hill Boarding!” I am proud to say that to my knowledge I am the most experienced boarding member of staff at the school and the only one to have worked in all of the houses.
What is your favourite thing at Mill Hill School?
I would have to say the boarding. Our pupils come from countries around the world and have sometimes grown up in vastly different cultures before arriving at the school. By the end of the first half term, international and local pupils integrate amazingly well and absolutely love it here, making friends for life.
I am immensely proud of our boarding provisions. Each pupil is treated as a unique individual and is given a lot of care. Our boarders’ health and wellbeing is treated with respect and sensitivity. The staff go above and beyond to make our pupils feel at home. This involves adding dishes from their native cuisine to our dinner menu, arranging trips and organising daily house meetings.
I am also proud to say that Mill Hill School consistently produces good and kind people who are a pleasure to be around. I keep in touch with several Old Millhillians who were involved in golf, and they are always a delight to speak to. I feel that this is partly down to our outstanding pastoral and wellbeing program, which develops and nurtures each pupil.
Do you have any advice for our pupils that could help them get the most out of their time at Mill Hill School?
I would say try everything and embrace your time at Mill Hill School because it is truly a fantastic place to be.
What is your favourite book and film for our pupils and why?
My favourite book is ‘Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect’ by Bob Rotella. Bob is one of the world’s most famous golf coaches. He is incredibly successful and has trained top players. The book focuses on the mental side of golf rather than just specific skills and techniques. Bob talks about the importance of one’s mindset and one’s attitude to success, rather than just focusing on having a perfect golf game. I would like to think that my coaching style embodies this approach. I want to impart wisdom and guide my pupils rather than just passing on tips.
‘Gladiator’ is a fantastic film. It is a classic tale of good vs evil and what can happen when power is misused. I also love the film ‘Seve’. It tells Seve Ballesteros’ life story and his journey from being a young farmer in Spain to becoming the greatest golfer of all time. Seve is my golf hero and I have been fortunate enough to coach him!
Could you share an inspirational quote with us? How does it inspire you?
My favourite saying is “It’s nice to be important…..but it’s more important to be nice!” (John Templeton). It resonates with me because I believe that this is how we should all behave.
Can you tell us something that we might not know about you?
I had dinner with James Bond! Whilst Pierce Brosnan was playing 007 his son was in my boarding house. I was lucky enough to go out for a meal with him and it will always be an incredible moment in my life!
Do you have a helpful tip for our pupils to manage exam stress?
I would advise pupils to thoroughly prepare for their examinations. Try to leave no stone unturned and avoid cramming at the last minute. This will make you feel more confident and calm during the exams. At Mill Hill School our teachers are always on hand to help and give their time to pupils, so make the most of that.