The Stormers prop talks about playing at Royal Dublin and which of his teammates are the best on the course.
When did you start playing golf?
When I was 10 or 11, my dad took me and my brother to the Hunters Rest Golf Course in Rustenburg and the bug bit me. I remember my dad giving me an old 3-wood, and that was my go-to club. I hit the ball a good 130 metres. From there, it just grew on me. When I was playing for Tuks in Pretoria, we were able to play at Zwartkop for free because of a corporate partnership with the Bulls.
Some of the Stormers players had a day out with the Sunshine Tour at the Cape Town Open this year. What was it like to compete with some of the pros?
You pitch up there and the pros are there with their TrackMans, doing their yardages. Immediately you feel like, this is pressure, and you aren’t even on the range yet! It was a great experience. Jaco Ahlers, one of our good friends and supporters, was there and took us under his wing. You feel special, for that moment, you are walking around feeling like Louis Oosthuizen.
Have you played any overseas courses while on tour?
During our European tour in the United Rugby Championship, Willie Engelbrecht and I were quite fortunate; our media liaison officer has contacts at the Sunshine Tour and put us in touch with [legendary caddie] Colin Byrne. A couple of days before we were to play in Edinburgh, Colin invited us to play at Royal Dublin. It was unbelievable. You got an immediate sense of history just standing there. I played an awesome round and Colin was so friendly, helping us with our lines.
Which of your Stormers teammates excel on the golf course?
In the past, JJ Engelbrecht and Jano Vermaak were insanely good, but they have moved on from the Stormers. At the moment, Steven Kitshoff and I have a weekly game on a Thursday. We have formed quite a formidable partnership and drive fear into the rest of the golfers here. Kitsie is a solid golfer. He plays with a nine- to 10-handicap. Frans Malherbe also enjoys his golf.
What are your three favourite courses in South Africa?
I had a great opportunity to play at Leopard Creek last year, what a beautiful course! It’s everything everyone says it’s going to be. Definitely my No 1. I have also really enjoyed playing at St Francis Links and Highland Gate near Dullstroom.
What is your handicap?
It’s generally between a 7 and 7.2.
Do you watch much golf and who is your favourite player?
There are so many I enjoy watching. Obviously, you have Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. I got a massive soft spot for the South Africans. Even though he’s not playing regularly any more, Ernie Els is my favourite golfer. When I was younger, my dad and I went to watch the Million Dollar a couple of times and we would walk with Ernie. Just the way he would go about his business, he is just a gentleman. He always takes time for the fans and has done so much for South African golf.
Interview by Dylan Jack
– This article first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!