THINK YOUNG, PLAY HARD

Could Dean be a big-time player?

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 6/15 - – in­ter­viewed by barry havenga

Zim­bab­wean Dean Burmester.

ON PLAY­ING UN­DER THE ZIM­BAB­WEAN FLAG I cur­rently travel on a South African pass­port, but have an op­por­tu­nity to play for Zim­babwe, my coun­try of birth. I aspire to play in the World Cup of Golf and the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and my chances are ob­vi­ously greater play­ing for Zim. I was born in Harare and grew up in Mu­tare where I learnt the game at Hill­side and Ju­lias­dale golf clubs.

ON GROW­ING UP IN A SPORT­ING FAM­ILY

My dad (Mark) played cricket for Zim­babwe be­tween 1992 and 1996 and took the coun­try’s first Test wicket in 1992. My mom (Michelle) won the women’s All-Africa in­di­vid­ual golf ti­tle twice in the ’90s and still has the women’s course record at Royal Harare (70). My younger brother An­drew was a mem­ber of the Ernie Els & Fan­court Foun­da­tion and now works in Dubai.

ON MOV­ING TO BLOEM­FONTEIN AS A TEENAGER

At 14 it’s tough to move to an­other coun­try, but the Afrikaans com­mu­nity was very wel­com­ing to our fam­ily. The Free Staters are mas­sive sports fans which suited our life­style per­fectly. I had played ju­nior cricket for Zim­babwe, and went on to play provin­cially for Free State while at Grey Col­lege. And I’ve made life­long friends at Schoe­man Park Golf Club.

ON A SLOW START AS A TOUR ROOKIE

The ma­jor­ity of am­a­teurs se­ri­ously un­der­es­ti­mate the jump re­quired when turn­ing pro­fes­sional. South Africa has a mas­sive breed­ing ground of huge tal­ent, and it took me two years to ad­just to play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally. The plan­ning and thor­ough prepa­ra­tion of trav­el­ling, and fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self prop­erly with the cour­ses, must be a pri­or­ity.

ON SHED­DING HIS VOLATILE TEM­PER­A­MENT

I was way too petu­lant and impatient as an am­a­teur and dur­ing my first two years on the Sun­shine Tour. I ma­tured emo­tion­ally af­ter meet­ing Melissa three years ago, and that helped my golf im­mensely. We were mar­ried in Novem­ber and are ex­pect­ing a child in July!

ON HIT­TING THE SHOT OF HIS LIFE

Tied for the lead play­ing the fi­nal hole in my home Open – in front of a mas­sive crowd at Royal Harare – I hit my 51-de­gree gap wedge 150 me­tres down­wind from the right rough to three feet at the par-four 18th. Nailed it!

“I want to play golf for Zim­babwe at the Olympic Games in Rio.”

Dean Burmester ac­knowl­edges the gallery on the fi­nal hole of the Zim­babwe Open at Royal Harare.

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