LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE

THE MAN WHO GAVE GOLF ITS DIS­TINC­TIVE AFRIKAANS VO­CAB­U­LARY

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 6/15 - – Dan Retief

The orig­i­nal voice of Afrikaans golf.

Willem van Drim­me­len, the man who put “die taal” into golf, has gone to the great com­men­tary booth in the sky. A char­ac­ter, full of pas­sion and love for his fel­low hu­man be­ings and golf, he passed away in Bela Bela a few days be­fore his 73rd birth­day. Van Drim­me­len had a deep bari­tone voice ide­ally suited for tele­vi­sion com­men­tary, although in those early days of SABC golf­ing cov­er­age we some­times be­rated him for talk­ing too much and not al­low­ing De­nis Hutchinson a word in.

He was a lawyer by pro­fes­sion who was fas­ci­nated by the Rules

of Golf. His le­gacy will be that he coined many of the beau­ti­ful words and phrases for “gholf in Afrikaans,” and played a big role in at­tract­ing to the game the many young Afrikaans-speak­ers who have come to dom­i­nate South African golf to­day.

When Van Drim­me­len started do­ing com­men­tary for SABC on the Sun­shine Tour, golf was played in English; even Afrikan­ers talked of a driver and a put­ter and a green. Van Drim­me­len, though, was a purist and in­sisted that his broad­casts be “sui­wer.” His most fa­mous word was “trû­tol,” for back­spin – and he was of­ten re­ferred to as “Trû­tol van Drim­me­len.” He came up with won­der­fully de­scrip­tive words such as “sukkelveld” for rough, “plofhou” for ex­plod­ing out of a bunker and “soom” for the apron of a green. The one that got him, though, and which led to end­less dis­cus­sions, was “chip.” He even­tu­ally set­tled on “kaphou,” but I never liked it be­cause a chip is not a chop! I sug­gested once that I liked “rap­shou,” but Willem, quick with a naughty quip, shot back. “Nee man, dis wat ʼn ou met ʼn meisie doen!”

He and Hutchie were great to­gether on SABC, but Van Drim­me­len wasn’t ap­pre­ci­ated as much by Su­perS­port when they took over the broad­casts.

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