Talented sevens player Siviwe Soyizwapi has found a passion for golf and can’t get enough of bashing his driver down the fairway, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
When did you pick up the game?
I started playing only in October 2018, so it hasn’t been that long. The Blitzboks have had a couple of golf days and team-building sessions around the game, so I gave it a try. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but took a while to get to. We also spent some time with Swingfit Golf Academy at De Zalze and the lessons paid off. It didn’t take long for the bug to bite.
And you’ve already been a contender at the BCX SuperSport Shootout?
I’m not that good, though [laughs]. Don’t be deceived.
Being a pro athlete, albeit in another sporting code, what is the most frustrating thing about golf for you?
Consistency. In golf, you have the theory and then you practise it but it’s almost always different when you get on to the course. We’re all competitive and a lack of consistency affects not only your shot, but your round too; what you want to score and your overall handicap. So, getting into a rhythm and a constant mode of play is the biggest hurdle for me … so far anyway.
Sevens is all action and high intensity. Is golf too slow for you?
Well, I like the pace of golf. When I’m ‘at work’, it’s a million miles an hour, the heart rate is going crazy and you have to make split-second decisions. Golf is refreshing from that point of view and a real escape for me.
You play the ‘non-traditional’ version of rugby. Are you a traditional type of golfer?
In terms of all the rules and regulations I would be non-traditional, I suppose. As a beginner that can be a bit of a downer but it’s not too much of a concern. I don’t mind having the pin in or out and to be honest, I’m still getting to grips with all the nitty-gritty rules.
Back to the Celeb Shootout – leaders after round one and then it went ‘over par’. Was your partner Curwin Bosch to blame?
No, I’ll have to blame myself [laughs]. It was a good team effort on the first day but he’s much better than me. It was a great time to play and meet new people in the sporting industry. Maybe next year I’ll go to sleep
a bit earlier before round two.
Who would win in a golf game between the Springboks and the Blitzboks?
That’s a good question. Not of all us play but the few who do, we have determination and high handicaps so that would help us beat them. Plus, I owe Victor Matfield a loss after he klapped me in the Shootout.
Which are your favourite courses?
De Zalze is my home course and I really enjoy getting out there. Pearl Valley is also a great place to play and I’ve been down to St Francis Links. Those courses make up a good top three for me.
How many golf balls did you lose at St Francis Links?
Who’s been telling you my secrets [laughs]? I had to buy nine balls after halfway just to make sure I had enough to get through the round. It’s tough but special.
What is your favourite shot on the course?
I love getting on the tee box and getting out the driver. It’s definitely my favourite club in the bag and I’m decent with it. It goes straight and it’s satisfying to stand up there and launch one down the fairway.
Born in Mthatha, ‘Shakes’ made his rugby breakthrough at the Border Bulldogs before moving to the EP Kings. He debuted in Super Rugby in 2013 and accumulated six caps. The Blitzboks then brought him into the sevens fold. More recently, he has been handed a senior role in the team and captained the squad on a number of occasions.