Former Springbok No 8, Pierre Spies, gives it a muscular hit off the tee, comes up with ‘miracle recovery shots’ and cites Highland Gate as a course he would most like to play, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
How much golf do you play?
I’m starting to play a lot more now that I’ve hung up my boots. I’m probably that typical 14-handicapper, some good days and some bad ones when everything falls apart. Hopefully the scores will improve. I’m excited for golf again after joining Serengeti as an ambassador. You’ll be bumping into me there a lot.
You were a bruiser on the field. Are you the same on the course?
Ha, ha, you could say that. I try to give the ball a good whack and get it as far down there as possible before things usually go wrong. I have a strong draw which often turns into a snap-hook, so that’s something I’m working on.
Are you the type who spends hours on the range?
(Laughs) No, not at all. I’ve been tempted to spend more time working on the range but it hasn’t happened just yet. Maybe I’ll make some more time to fine-tune my skills this year. My boys are quite keen on golf, so we’ll make it a family outing, which will be great.
Do you want them to follow your career path or go for pro golf?
Now that’s a tough question. You can definitely earn more money with golf [laughs] and you can play it for longer, so there’s a lot in its favour. But, in all seriousness, as a parent I just want them to participate in sport and they can play whatever game suits their passion.
You once had a long-drive competition. Would you say you’re a big hitter?
More on the rugby field than on the course! No, that was just some fun. On my day, I can get it away quite far but I won’t be bragging about it anytime soon.
Where do your strengths lie?
The miracle shots! Maybe it’s something about being a sportsman that you have that built-in BMT, because I always manage to get myself out of trouble quite easily.
Which ex-teammate needs more work on their game?
I’m probably the one who needs it. I used to play a lot with Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez, and they are exceptional. Jean de Villiers and I were always playing catch-up.
Do you have any embarrassing on-course stories to share?
Besides the regular duffed drives, chips that don’t go over the bunkers but rather in them, and freshies? Nothing really stands out but there are always plenty of laughs.
What courses have you played that stand out?
Leopard Creek is definitely up there, as is Fancourt – it’s amazing. I like how Serengeti plays too. Highland Gate is probably on the top of my list of courses I haven’t played yet.
Do you sit in front of the TV until all hours watching the Majors?
With a young family, I don’t have a lot of time to watch too much TV, but when it comes to The Masters and Sunday’s final round, for sure. I always do my best to make time for that.
– This article first appeared in the March issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale