Despite his on-course success, negativity and mental health challenges caught up with Dean Burmester. Now over the worst, he talks about life on tour and why he won’t be getting as fired up during competition anymore, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
As a prolific winner on the Sunshine Tour, a European Tour regular and a player who has flown the South African flag in Major golf, the 31-year-old is firmly on the radar of local media, fans and even punters around the world.
While having admitted to dealing with criticism from within his own camp recently, it is the unprovoked, unstructured and unsolicited words from elsewhere that have at times affected his psyche more than perhaps it should’ve. Coupled with life on tour as a pro and unexpected life events, the strife took its toll.
‘You know, I think that’s kind of the hardest thing with being somebody noticed within the golfing world; you’re always susceptible to criticism. And whatever it may be, you’ve got to kind of take it with a pinch of salt …, ‘ he tells Compleat Golfer.
‘Because whatever people say, they might not really know what the situation is, whether it’s at home, something you are dealing with by yourself or just within your own golf game, you know … mentally.’
However glamourous it may appear from outside the ropes, professional sportspeople are not immune to the realities of life in its various forms. Now, on the other side of his difficulties including a car accident involving his family during the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year, Burmester has fronted up to his depression and reveals the severity at its peak.
‘I mean, being inside the ropes, I can truly tell you that I’m one that’s gone through depression on the golf front. It really struck me at the beginning of last year, that first three or four months, you know, at the end of April I pretty much stepped out on the golf course not kind of not even knowing why I was playing golf.
‘And this was coming off one of the best seasons I’d had, playing my first Major and making the cut in the Major, and doing some really cool things, but for some reason I found myself in this funk.
‘I think I’d put myself under pressure and that kind of translated into stuff that I couldn’t control, you know, thoughts in my head that were, looking back, just ridiculous …
‘And now, being able to have worked through all of those things, I kind of feel like I’ve grown up.’
What the experience and his days on tour so far have taught him has seen a shift in temperament both on and off the course.
‘On the golf course I’m not as fiery as I might have been, you know, not as complacent as I might have been.
‘I’ve also had a lot of stuff happen in the last six months, with car accidents and all sorts of stuff going on. But I think everything is just a learning lesson and a part of that is being able to take the negativity of the media or whoever it might be, even punters who say we’ll make a bet on you etc
‘Social media can get hold of you. I take that stuff and say, you know what, it doesn’t matter because I always tried my best and I’m not one to ever really fire up on social media and reply to anyone; I just ignore it and take with a pinch of salt and try and do better next time,’ he adds.
His golf will be doing the talking for the foreseeable future.
*For resources to help yourself, a loved one or friend, please contact visit sadag.org or call the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837
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