- Business Insider
For former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, life is good.
His Microsoft stock is trading near an all-time high. His basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers, has been doing well. He’s had time to focus on philanthropy. And USAFacts, his new project focused on collecting and sharing data about how the government spends its money, has been earning accolades.
Ballmer was so cheerful when he met with Business Insider recently, we suggested he was “the happiest retired guy in tech.”
He didn’t deny it.
But the best part for the tech billionaire? The golf.
“I’m a member of more golf courses than Connie Ballmer would like me to be a member,” he said, giggling, referring to his wife. “Two in Seattle, two in Hawaii, one in L.A, one in Nebraska, one in Detroit.”
In addition to playing at stateside courses, he also goes on fabulous golf vacations with his buddies. Last year he went to Scotland’s Cruden Bay, which, among the world’s best golf courses, is one of the lesser known gems. The course with its nearby castle was one of the most beautiful he’s ever seen.
Next up, he and a buddy are planning an epic trip down to the Southern Hemisphere to play courses in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania.
But is he any good?
“No,” he said.
There was a point right after he retired where he improved markedly. But it required him to be practically “manic,” playing 100 rounds of golf. At four to five hours a round, it went beyond being even a full-time hobby, to being more like an obsession.
Since he bought the Clippers and started spending more time on philanthropy, though, he’s stopped playing as much. Alas, his game “has not recovered the magic,” he said.
Not that it matters much to tech’s happiest retired guy.
“I play and I have fun,” he said. “It’s my guilty pleasure.”