Dean Burmester writes his second column for MyTwoCents about life on the tour while at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships in Scotland. It is one of the richest golf tournaments on the European Tour played on three different links courses centred on the “home of golf”, St. Andrews.
There is no better place to be as a golfer than at the home of golf and I thought it fitting to talk about my personal “origins of golf” for this week’s column, as well as giving some insights into the different courses, what it’s like to be on tour as a South African, some of my mentors and my secret to being long off the tee.
Earliest golf memories
The earliest memories I have of golf are getting my first set of cut-down irons from my uncle when I was about 5. I used to sleep with my 4 iron I loved it so much and I hit this club everywhere.
Another of my favourite memories was when I somehow managed to convince my dad’s caddie to come out with me for 9 holes (which turned into 18) in the heavy rain after my favourite Saturday competition was cancelled. My dad always tells me to remember that little boy who just loved it so much that even when nobody else was willing to play I was out there having fun on the golf course.
Some insights into playing the three different courses
Firstly coming from South Africa and not having played much links golf, it can be daunting at first. You are in a constant battle with the tough windy and wet conditions. It can be fun though and you can literally hit 3 different shots with three different clubs and get the same result.
St Andrew’s is the greatest town and just walking around you can feel the urge to play golf running through your veins. My favourite holes on the Old Lady are definitely 17 and 18, the copper building behind the 18th green just draws you into hitting a great tee shot over the Swilcan bridge.
Carnoustie is one of the best tests in golf and probably has the toughest last 3 holes on the Open roster. Like a headmaster you know that if you step out of line there could be consequences.
Kingsbarns is the prettiest of the 3 courses but don’t let that fool you … it too has some teeth. Kind of like a big night out – you know in the morning you will still be talking about it.
Secret to hitting the ball miles
So hitting it far I believe is to an extent something you are born with and train at a young age. Being a fast bowler when I was younger taught me how to create torque in my body which is essential in generating club head speed and distance.
Mentors and players I looked up to
My parents have been my greatest mentors and without their sacrifices I would definitely not be where I am today. I always looked up to Nick Price and Ernie Els growing up. They both seemed to be the nicest guys on the course and having met them both I am pleased to tell you that they both knocked my expectations out of the park.
What separates the best from the rest …
What separates the best is simple in my mind, a purpose that drives their self belief to work harder and smarter than anyone else. Which in turn allows them to achieve the unthinkable.
Home away from home
Although I am far from home, this tournament hosted by Johann Rupert has such a South African feel to it and we were made to feel at home with a welcome braai on Tuesday for all the South Africans. If thats not enough you will you will find a South African in Nando’s at St Andrew’s pretty much any night of the week!
If there are any questions you would like to ask or for me to answer about life on the tour please send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer them in the next column.