Rugby World Cup winner Steven Kitshoff talks about getting his handicap down, his first-tee nerves and who the best golfers are in the Bok side.
First off, have you come down to earth yet after the Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan?
It was a crazy couple of weeks after the World Cup victory. South Africans came out in their masses to share in our celebration and it was incredible to see. The team put in so much hard work and made so many sacrifices to win that title. It’s been a great journey.
How did you get into golf?
I started playing in my first year of university because all the guys in the rugby team played; I felt a bit left out.
I started off very badly and shot a couple of hundreds, but I’ve worked my way up and improved from there. I love it and try to play every week.
What’s your handicap?
My handicap index is 12. I get around, but I make a lot of mistakes around the green. Or I’ll have a good drive and stuff up the second shot. My form on the golf course can be a bit up and down.
Where do you play most of your golf?
I’m a member at De Zalze, and I play a lot of the Cape Town courses and those in the Stellenbosch and Somerset West areas. I always enjoy a big competition or golf day. A highlight for me has been the Gary Player Invitational. It was such an honour to be invited to play, to spend time with a legend like him and to be around the Sunshine Tour professionals and watch how they play the game. I’ve met Gary Player a couple of times and he’s such a legend because of what he’s achieved, on the course and in raising money for charity. I hope I can have a small bit of his success in my rugby career.
What’s more nerve-racking, the first tee at the Gary Player Invitational or playing in front of a capacity stadium in the Rugby World Cup final?
Definitely the 1st tee at the Gary Player Invitational – 100%. I was a bit shaky. I snap-hooked it into the bushes and
I picked up after that. It’s much more nerve-racking playing golf in front of people than rugby. Playing in front of 10 people on a golf course and playing in front of 50 000 people in a rugby stadium, I can tell you I’m far more nervous with the golf.
Did you find any time for golf in Japan?
As a Springbok group we were together for about six months and we probably worked in five or six rounds, so I haven’t played too much in the past six months.
Who are the top golfers in the Springbok set-up?
I’d say Franco Mostert is the guy to beat. He plays off a four or five handicap. He’s really good. He hits a long ball. Faf de Klerk is great with the driver. When I’m with the Boks, Malcolm Marx is normally my golf partner. He can also hit a driver pretty far. Those are probably the guys to watch out for on the course.
Do you have a regular fourball?
At the Stormers our regular fourball was always myself, EW Viljoen, JJ Engelbrecht and Jano Vermaak. But EW and JJ have left the Stormers, so I’m on the lookout for a new fourball.
What have been some of the most memorable courses you’ve played?
One of the rounds that stood out was at Celtic Manor. That was awesome. I’ve played a lot of courses in the United Kingdom. Wentworth was also an amazing experience.
Steven Kitshoff was a member of the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning squad. The loosehead prop started his rugby career at Paul Roos Gimnasium with the U14 A team and never played anything less than the
A team throughout his school career. He graduated to the South African U20 team that won the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship and that same year won the Currie Cup with Western Province. He made his Springbok debut in the 2016 Test series against Ireland. He has won three Super Rugby Conference titles with the Stormers.