Paul Gibson is the owner of the Yorkshire Hotel & Spa (yorkshireinn.com/patonghotel), in central Patong Beach, a 68-room hotel and leisure centre. He also owns and operates Phuket Catering, which is a high end external catering business, mainly providing for weddings, parties and charter boats.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 35 YEARS AGO?
I was the youngest PGA professional in the UK. After five years qualifying for the European tour, I realised that I was not good enough as a player and long-term saw no real future as a golf pro. I therefore applied for my amateur status again, and embarked on a career in the world of business.
I started a golf club manufacturing and repair customising business, based in Leeds. This quickly snowballed and I was invited by The Royal & Ancient to repair and customise at the annual Open Championship. This brought me in close contact with many of the world’s top players,which resulted in me doing work and making clubs for many of them. I specialised in making persimmon (wooden) drivers. I had the pleasure and honour of meeting and working with some of the greats, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Ben Crenshaw and many more.
WHY DID YOU MOVE HERE?
I moved to Phuket seven years ago. The first reason was a bad divorce. The second was the land of the smiling face and the small bottom. I just love beautiful women.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING HERE?
The humbleness of the people, the weather, the beaches and the smiling faces.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
I play golf, but to be truthful as I get older this sometimes becomes frustrating.
My favourite for relaxation must be sitting on my 17th floor balcony over looking Patong bay with a glass of Chilean red wine and a crossword, which I normally do not finish as I cannot spell.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY?
Leaving school, which I hated. Also the first time I beat my dad at golf, who was a three handicap at the time.
Food and wine are what I live for. Favourite food has to be Spanish so a good paella has to be way up on the list, followed by a great fish casserole. Fruity new world red wines are my favourite.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC ARE YOU INTO?
Soul, blues, and jazz, but the new British singer-songwriter Adele has really caught my attention.
BEST TIP YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE MOVING TO PHUKET?
Stay away from Bangla, don’t get into a tuk-tuk, and take the time to see the whole island. I have been here seven years and am still finding hidden gems like Laem Singh beach.
Living in Thailand has changed my life completely. In the UK, I had big houses, big cars and top holidays. Phuket has humbled me and changed my outlook on life. Now I have very few material things. I have realised that it is far better to give than receive.
I now spend a lot of my time raising money for children. I sponsor various children through the Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation in Kamala, as well as helping a small orphanage in Cambodia with 50 children. If children in Thailand get a proper education and learn to speak English this impacts on their entire family.
FUNNIEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU ON THE ISLAND?
This happened shortly after my arrival in Phuket. I bought a house in Anapus golf villas in Kathu. Inside the development there is a large common grassed area, for children to play and parents to walk their dogs. The Thai manager erected a large sign and wrote on it: “Please do not let you dog Chit on the glass.”
THE PERSON YOU ADMIRE THE MOST AND WHY?
Peter Hamilton, the co-developer of The Yamu on the east coast. He has helped me greatly and is a very kind and generous man. He one of a handful that have inspired me throughout life’s short journey.
WHERE IN PHUKET WOULD YOU TAKE SOMEONE ON A FIRST DATE?
It depends who this would be, but a favorite place is the El Natural Restaurant in Phuket Town.
IF YOU COULD COME BACK AS ANY OTHER PERSON WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Frank Sinatra as I love to live life to the full.
FAVOURITE PLACE ON THE ISLAND?
Laem Singh beach next to Surin Beach. Why? It’s peaceful, quiet and I love Papa’s seafood restaurant.