Proteas star JP Duminy tells us about his favourite course, being deadly inside 100m and why he watches more golf than cricket on TV, writes WADE PRETORIUS in Compleat Golfer.
Why do you play golf?
It’s a great game to play with mates. Most people see it as quite a stressful sport, but I just go out there and have fun. I’m so used to playing sport with so much on the line that I don’t feel nervous on the 1st tee or hovering over a five-footer. It’s all about having a good time.
How did you start playing the game?
I started playing early, probably when I was about five, under the watchful eye of my grandfather. He cut down some clubs to fit me and we’d go off to the park where I’d smack a few balls. He just let me play and that’s how my unusual grip [cross-handed] started. I’ve been playing that way ever since.
What do you play off?
I’m off a rusty seven at the moment. I’ve been down to a six, but between cricket, my businesses and my foundation there isn’t a lot of time left to practise and play. I love the game though, and relish every opportunity to get out to Pearl Valley and enjoy the superb condition the course is almost always in.
Golf or cricket: which is harder?
It has to be cricket for me. There are far more uncontrollables in cricket. As a batsman, how much can you do when a guy is screaming in at 145km/h-plus and you have so little time to react? And then you add lights, swing and pitch variations, etc. I feel that in golf, the ball is there and you have your technique – it’s up to you to put it all in place and hit it sweetly.
If you had to choose one player to par the 72nd at Augusta to save your life, who would it be?
Without a doubt it would be Dustin Johnson. Not only does he possess a solid wedge game and hits it a mile, he’s also cool and composed under pressure. With this in mind, I’d pick DJ to make par and save my life [laughs].
As a cricket all-rounder, where do your on-course strengths lie?
My favourite shots are the ones that require some finesse or a touch of skill. I back myself to get it close any time I’m inside 100m to the pin. The only problem is getting the ball into that range in the first place.
The Proteas set-up has a few dodgy golfers, I hear?
[Laughs] Chris Morris is an absolute ringer off double digits, so don’t let him tell you anything else. Most of the guys enjoy the game, and myself and Kyle Abbott formed a pretty formidable partnership. I’d say we won way more than we lost.
Do you ever get to play while on IPL duty?
Most of the international guys in the Delhi side play and our team owners are very good. They’ll organise a trip to a secluded resort and we’ll go and enjoy a round. Karun Nair is one of the local guys who is pretty handy, so he often joins in.
How much golf do you watch?
I would say I watch more golf than any other sport, including cricket. I don’t know what it is with cricket, but when I’m not playing, I’ll just catch the highlights. With golf it’s another story; I’ll be glued to the TV for hours. I was lucky enough to attend The Open last year and it was pretty special to walk alongside some of the greats of the game.
A cricketer capable of playing any shot in the game, JP Duminy amassed 46 Test caps for South Africa since making his debut against Australia in 2008, where he cemented his place in the side as he helped the Proteas to a memorable series win. Duminy quickly established himself in white-ball cricket as someone who could finish the innings with lusty blows and chip in with a few wickets. Earlier this year, he hung up his whites, but remains a valuable member of the national team in the shorter formats.
– This article first appeared in the November issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale