Quintin van Jaarsveld
Young Danie van der Spuy lived up to his colourful nickname in his first ever competition in Amanzimtoti recently.
The four-year-old Port Shepstone golfer showed why he’s known as the “Pale-faced Tiger Woods” with a promising performance in the SA Kids Golf Tournament at Amanzimtoti Country Club.
He made a good fist of it in the 5-6-year division and wasn’t far off the pace with a score of 62 over nine holes.
His mother Danieta said it was an exciting experience for the youngster and the family.
“He loved it! He was very excited and enjoyed it. We are exceptionally proud of him and encourage him every step of the way,” she told eHowzit. “It was very well organised and it was good to see such young kids being active.”
Grandmother Rita said, “I was excited to see how he would react playing with other kids. That was until the morning of the competition when I was told I am the caddy, then I was very nervous because Danie knows more about golf than ‘ouma,’” she laughed.
“He had a blast and had everyone talking about the ‘Pale-faced Tiger Woods’. They couldn’t believe he’s four years old.”
Uncle Dwayne commented, “He really enjoyed playing with the older kids. He has a lot of natural talent and a lot of patience for a four-year-old. He can go far, but for now he must enjoy his golf.”
Danie, who was been featured in Afrikaans magazine Huisgenoot, took a liking to golf before he could even walk. With his beloved plastic playset, a crawling eight-month-old Danie could not get enough of hitting balls.
Part of a talented sporting family (his mother boasts provincial colours in netball and action netball, his grandmother in netball, action netball and athletics, his aunt Chantal national colours in softball and provincial colours in netball, action netball and athletics and his uncle national colours in baseball and softball and provincial colours in six sporting codes), he later discovered other sports, but there’s nothing quite like golf for the enthusiastic youngster.
“He has a love for any ball sport, but golf just stuck,” said Danieta. “I think it is from a connection he has with his uncle, Dwayne. They are very close. When he was a baby, they watched golf together and I think that’s where it started.
“He absolutely loves golf and if he had his way, he’d play all day. He has asked us many times to go play at night.”
His interest in the sport continued to grow as he did, to the extent that he started taking lessons from Willie Lindeque and Derek James, the respective resident pros at Port Shepstone Country Club and Southbroom Golf Club.
Danieta said it was these two coaches who gave Danie his nickname.
“I think it is a suitable nickname even though he doesn’t know Tiger too well since he hasn’t been playing in a lot of tournaments lately. He supports Rory [McIlroy] and encourages him whilst watching the golf.”
His grandmother now takes him to practice in the afternoons.
“I am very proud of Danie. He really has a special talent; it is not often that you find kids his age with his golfing abilities,” Rita said, adding it’s a joy to watch her grandson in his golfing element.
“It gives me a warm, happy feeling to see him playing and that he is loving every minute of it. He is in seventh heaven when he is playing golf.”