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Interview

Peter Pappas: Golf can help Greece

 

 

“I was born in America. My father was born in Cyprus and my mother in America from Greek parents from Kalamata and Leonidio. I was raised in New York City and learnt the traditions of the Greek lifestyle. I find that Greece is in recovery. They are trying to promote investors to invest in anything. For years and years Greece was sunset, food and summer and of course islands. And what they forgot was that there are other months of the years, that they can have tourist coming and fresh money into the country. My hope is that golf can help Greece because it as a destination for people to come visit and of course play golf. Greece being one of the newest countries is trying to get into the golf market in Europe but you cannot compare to Spain, Italy, France, or Germany – it is impossible. A destination like Costa Navarino in Messinia is pioneering to do that. My father’s advice was a very simple one. My father pushed me; my mother was totally opposed to start my one business, because she didn’t think it was a good idea. But I can tell you that you are good and kind and continue to be that way. His belief was that if people liked you, they would like to do business with you. If you are arrogant, if you are rough, nobody would want to do business with you. And I took his advice because that confirmed what I thought I was. My father and I don’t have much in common at all. He worked many, many hours, not being raised in America; he wasn’t the father we could play with him. But I found him always by my side. When he passed away, I found him closer to me than I never had, day after day, and I was not worried about being alone. 

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What interests me is when I am going to play golf next. People often select a sport like golf that they never knew as a teenager. I learnt about golf in my early years in business, being used as more social sport. What happens with golf is that it gives you challenges. Individuals need challenges, not to become a professional but just to compete in the same level as other people. There are two species of golfers, one that play for socializing and other golfers that are dedicated to the game and to its challenges. I played golf for years with Telly Savalas. We played from early morning to night. We can play 15-16 holes in a day. I played with presidents, President Bush, with governors, with actors. But I like to play with the same group. We play often and we know each other better. The challenges are higher. I don’t want to play with one group today, with another group tomorrow, and then the next day and so on. Luck is in the casino, there are no calculations and it can be considered pure luck. But I think that success is not related to luck. A successful person is not lucky. He worked hard, he took risks, he faced challenges and achieved. Luck is a much exaggerated word. The wealthiest people started from nothing. I think that the people that are born to it find it very, very difficult to maintain and build in their life. There are people who didn’t face difficulties but who lost everything. In order to succeed you have to have discipline, positive thoughts and focus on your goal. People have to practice at work in order to be better. People have to practice at work, like in sport”.

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