Best known for his exploits in the octagon, this former MMA fighter speaks about his love for golf and why the sport is a rollercoaster.
When did you start playing golf?
I started as a young boy, when I would go out and caddie for my dad and he would allow me to play holes during his round. But my true love for golf only came to life in my late thirties.
Now that you’ve retired from MMA, how often do you play?
I play at least once a week these days. I love it. I try to spend as much time as I can playing.
Where is your home club and what is your handicap?
I play mostly out of Krugersdorp, but don’t have an official handicap. I play off about a 15.
You must be quite intimidating to play against. I’d definitely give you that four-footer for the half if you looked at me!
[Laughs] No, I don’t think that would be in the spirit of the game. It’s more likely they would give it to me because they felt sorry for me for playing so badly!
Apparently, you could be a very good golfer if you could keep your emotions more in check. Fair comment?
That’s spot-on. I get in my head a lot and allow my emotions to dictate how I play. But I suppose that is the battle in any sport.
Quite a few boxers play golf, but how about the MMA field – are there many fighters who like to play?
There are quite a few guys from the MMA world who play golf, including big names like Dricus du Plessis and Martin van Staden.
Which is a better feeling – striping a 4-iron to five feet or knocking an MMA opponent to the floor with a perfect punch?
Nothing like playing the perfect shot on the golf course can make me want to fight a lion.
What is the best thing about golf?
The adversity you face and all the emotions you go through test you like nothing on earth.
What is your favourite golfing event to watch and who are your favourite players?
The Masters for sure. Tiger Woods because of his ability to stay in the moment and never give up – he always backs himself.
What are your favourite courses to play in South Africa?
St Francis Links, Krugersdorp Golf Club, Country Club Johannesburg, Leopard Creek and Kyalami Country Club.
Which overseas course stands out for you?
I would love to play the Old Course at St Andrews.
Your greatest golfing achievement?
Definitely my hole-in-one on the 14th at Glendower.
Who are some of the more interesting people you have played with?
I have been so lucky to play with many great South Africans. Each has their own value, so it would be unfair to single out a few.
What is the strength of your game and what is your favourite club?
My strength is definitely hitting the ball long. Best club is my 3-wood.
What’s the funniest moment you’ve had on the golf course?
I’d have to say it was when I chipped out of the crocodile pit on The Dan Nicholl Show.
Describe your dream fourball.
Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Michael Jordan and me.
Interview by Brendan Barratt
– This Q&A first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!