The former Springbok and Sharks flyer has always enjoyed golf for its spirit and a chance to relax outdoors with teammates and friends, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
When did you start playing golf?
I played a bit at university but that was mostly just an excuse to hit the ball around before some beers. When I moved from Boland to the Sharks, I tagged along with the guys on a Wednesday, which was our day off, and it all kicked off from there.
And now that you’ve retired from rugby, how often do you play?
It’s probably still once or twice a month. I get invited to a lot of corporate days, which is great and obviously my rugby past means I get a lot of invites. I’m still heavily involved with the SA Rugby Legends and we have our own golf days, so my calendar is quite full.
Which teammates impressed you the most on the course?
There were guys like Justin Swart, Ollie le Roux and Andre Snyman. They knew how to play the game and were talented. Our coach Nick Mallett was also very good, and competitive on and off the course. Butch James is quite incredible off the tee and generates a lot of power. Gary Teichmann and Wayne Fyvie were others who stood out. Ollie’s golf ability was no surprise because of his history with water polo and squash – he had it all.
Did you have any teammates who weren’t as gifted?
[Laughs] Poor Deon Carstens won’t like me saying this but he struggled. He was always good value and up for a game but he wasn’t the best golfer. Craig Davidson improved almost every time he played but I couldn’t get used to him lying flat on the ground to read a putt. He’d jump up and miss it, usually with the wrong read, which would leave us in hysterics. I have to mention Pieter Dixon too, but not for needing improvement … he played with his grip the wrong way round but was a low single-figure handicapper.
When touring, how often were you able to get out to the course?
We played golf back then but it wasn’t like it is today. We played some amazing courses in Ireland and were lucky to play
St Andrews. There were some great tracks in Australia and New Zealand too. But it was with rental sets or whatever we could find, there was no travelling with our clubs and all that. Oh, and it was almost always in our takkies.
And which courses do you enjoy closer to home?
The Durban area has some amazing golf courses that combine scenery with good conditions. I enjoy Prince’s Grant, Zimbali and Durban Country Club. Last year I played Pearl Valley in the Cape and it was also impressive.
Where does your skill on the course lie?
Don’t laugh but I tend to putt from very far out. I’m talking 80 metres. Some people are shocked but I’ve worked it out nicely and would get closer with my putter from that range than trying to chip it. The rest of my game is decent, except one aspect always takes leave for a round … one day I can’t get off the tee, the next it’s my fairway shots.
Do you stay up late to watch the Majors?
I won’t say it goes in my diary but if there’s a South African near the top and things are close on a Sunday, I’ll watch to the end. It’s hard to beat following Ernie, Louis or Charl when they get themselves in the hunt.
What is your game like?
I play like anyone else. Some days are great, others are rubbish but it’s still the same for me as when I played with the Sharks or Springboks on tours. It’s about fun, camaraderie and relaxation.
The versatile speedster burst on to the scene in the late 1990s when he scored four tries on debut against Ireland to equal the Springbok record. He then wrote his name into the history books when he scored five tries against Italy in the 1999 inbound series before eventually finishing on 19 tries in the green and gold. Terblanche ended his career with over 200 caps for the Sharks, almost 90 for Welsh side Ospreys and 37 matches for the Boks over a five-year period. In 2010, he returned to captain the Sharks to a Currie Cup triumph over Western Province. He is now the CEO of the SA Rugby Legends Association.