THINK YOUNG, PLAY HARD
Could Dean be a big-time player?
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.