Former Springbok wing, Breyton Paulse, talks about taking his customary try celebration onto the golf course, playing well at Sun City, his troublesome 60 degree wedge and Paul Adams’ game, writes WADE PRETORIUS in Compleat Golfer.
When did you take up golf?
Far too late! I only started when I retired from rugby, so it was in 2008. I suppose I always had a perception about golf that it was a bit slow and took too long to play. Then one day, a friend invited me to complete a fourball and I embarrassed myself. That’s when the bug bit and the rest is history.
How much do you play?
Not as much as I should, because I’ve taken up cycling, so this year was all about the Cape Town Cycle Tour. To be honest, I would need to check my handicap before the next time, it’s been that long. The SuperSport Shootout is coming up soon, so I’ll be putting in some rounds before then, that’s for sure.
Which track is your favourite to play?
South Africa can compete with any country as a golf destination; we have so many excellent courses. I prefer the older, more established ones over the new designs. They tend to suit my eye more and I love that ‘old school’ feeling. I’m biased because it’s my club, but Royal Johannesburg & Kensington is the standout. The relaunch of the East Course has been magnificent. Royal Cape is another ‘old school’ course with so much charm.
Which course holds the best memories for you?
Definitely the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City. I’ve shot a few exceptional scores there and it’s always great to perform well on such a fantastic course
Which celebrity needs more time on the range?
That’s a tough one because the rugby, cricket and soccer guys I play with are really good. Everyone is so competitive that you have to be at your best or you will be paying up.
So you aren’t going to dish the secrets?
[Laughs] If I have to, I would say Paul ‘Gogga’ Adams. He’s a bit wild on the course and hits it everywhere when he’s not playing well. One time, we even had to apologise profusely after his ball hit someone during a round at Strand.
Which club in your bag misbehaves the most?
My 60-degree wedge. I’m quite good from tee to green, but around the dance floor I tend to struggle. If I could rule out the doubles, I would score much better, but my wedge does its own thing sometimes.
And does your trademark celebration ever make its way on to the course?
Funnily enough, it did a little while ago during a golf event in Swaziland. I make three or four eagles a year, so when the rare one comes out, I just go into my natural mode. The people watching loved it and applauded like crazy. Thankfully, my hammies survived the ordeal because you never know what happens when it starts playing up after a few years have passed.
The Masters or The Open?
Both are special but, for an amateur, winning at Augusta must be the dream. The course is set up so hard and the greens so quick, it takes all your skill to play well there. I love watching all the Majors and here’s hoping Tiger can do the unthinkable this year.
Despite his small stature, Breyton Paulse forced his way into rugby’s top-flight scene as an electric wing with a penchant for finishing well. He made his debut for Western Province in 1996 and duly started with a hat-trick. Paulse continued his rise over the next few years before earning the first of 57 South African caps, against Italy in 1999. Again he scored a hat-trick. The fleet-footed wing would go on to play his way into fans’ hearts, ending his career with three Currie Cup titles and one Tri-Nations winner’s medal in a career that spanned over a decade. Since hanging up his boots, Paulse has become a regular feature in the SuperSport studio as part of their esteemed panel of analysts.
– This article first appeared in the April issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale