The Germany-based South African hockey star has his eyes set on the Tokyo Olympics, after his goal against USA in the FIH finals helped secure the spot there. The Harvestehuder Hockey Club midfielder shares his love for golf. By TYRON BARNARD.
Do you think golf assists in hockey development?
Yeah, I do. The timing and connection of the golf ball, even though stationary can have a positive impact on your hockey swing too.
When did you start playing golf and what is your handicap?
My golf started way back when I was a youngster in South Africa. Probably around the age of 15 or 16. I don’t have an official handicap, but I’m a fairly consistent 20. Which means I’m hardly consistent and sometimes play like a 20, a 12 or a 34.
What are the courses like in Germany?
We have some top-quality courses. It’s difficult to compare to South Africa, though, because we are really spoiled for choice there.
Do any of your teammates play?
Lots of us at Harvestehuder play golf, but not many will be names you have heard back at home!
You have a career full of great hockey memories, but what is your best golf memory?
The one that stands out is playing in the Tucker Family charity golf day back in South Africa. It’s a great cause and it’s really awesome to have families participating together towards a special cause.
How big is golf in the hockey community?
Most hockey players I have played with are really good golfers. I would say golf is pretty big in the hockey community.
What’s your drink of choice if you fail to make it past the red tee?
I don’t know if it’s a choice when you do such things, but a tequila!
Who is the biggest ‘Celebrity’ you have teed it up with?
Would you believe it… Rassie Pieterse [SA national hockey goalkeeper]
What are your favourite courses in and out of SA?
Tough question. In Germany, my favourite is Gut Waldhof in Hamburg. Back at home I can’t decide between my home club, Wanderers in Johannesburg, and Hans Merensky in Phalaborwa.
If you were a professional golfer, which Major would you want to win the most?
Maybe it’s the timing, but I have no doubt it would be The Masters. How cool would it be to wear the Green Jacket!
Is there a golfer you are hoping to meet at the Tokyo Olympics?
I have to first make the South African hockey team, but if I do I would be honoured to meet Rory McIlroy, former world No 1 but still one of the best players in the game.
What’s your strength between driving and putting?
Neither. Although I’m fairly good playing out from the deep rough as I’m there quite often. I also have an affinity towards the short chips around the green.
Have you ever experienced something incredible on a golf course?
I was once playing behind a group where we saw a guy shank a shot. He lost his temper and threw his club into the water, then realising he might need it later, he had to get into the water to fetch it. I have not got to that level yet!
The 29-year-old midfielder, who left South Africa in 2011 to gain experience in Europe, played two seasons at Gantoise in Belgium before signing for Harvestehuder, in Germany. He has been capped 10 times for the South African national team and has scored twice, including a last-minute goal against the United States to book South Africa’s place at the Olympics.