Our world champion
Martin Vorster (15) won the Reply Italian International U16 Championship on 7 September. An interview with Martin was interrupted constantly by well wishers, bursting with pride, who came to congratulate this newest darling of Mossel Bay.
These were some of the comments: “Well done. You deserve it. We’re proud of you. It’s great to see a Mossel Bay guy up there.”
Not only is Martin already a golf world champion, he is bright. He finished grades 8 and 9 in one year. He home schools via the GED Academy.
With his impeccable manners and humility, he is a fine ambassador for South Africa. He says the most memorable aspect of the championships was the rush of being treated like a star.
“After I won, there were cameras and video cameras everywhere. You don’t get that in South Africa. There were five 12-yearolds who were too young to compete in the tournament and they ran up to me and took selfies and got my autograph. That doesn’t happen in SA,” he reiterates.
He beams and his eyes sparkle as he recalls this.
Fine hours on the golf course per day is the norm, plus he gyms. Are there any other sports at which he excelled? “I was good at athletics. In Grade 7 I came third at SAs in high jump, but I didn’t continue with it,” says the tall teen.
“In 2015 I had back problems. I had a growth spurt.” The Louis 57 Academy sent Martin to a golf trainer in Plettenberg Bay, who taught him how to ‘’gym for golf’’. Since Martin started training and stretching differently he has had no problems. It is significant that he lives and practises at the Mossel Bay Golf Course, which was the home course of Mossel Bay’s golf star, Louis Oosthuizen.
Martin, sponsored by PING, is coached by Val Holland. Also, she is the coach of the amateur SA women’s team.
His feet firmly on the ground, Martin is honest about his strengths and weak points. “I need to work on my putting. It’s not up to world standard. And my wedge play between 60 and 110 metres. My strengths are the distance I hit the ball and my long irons are good and accurate. I’m impressed with the way I’m chipping.”
He describes himself as an adventurous person. “I’d much rather be outdoors, hiking, than watching TV.”
Home schooling and playing golf means he sees his friends only on weekends. “It’s a sacrifice. I want to turn pro at 19. My goal is to win a Career Grand Slam.
Of South Africans, only Gary Player has done that, and only six people in the world have won it. I also want to represent South Africa at the Olympics.” Martin’s dad, Waldo, who got him into golf, says: “I am just so happy for him. He worked hard. As parents we’re really proud of him and believe he will make it big.”
Martin Vorster at the Mossel Bay Golf Club. He says it was a “blessing” to be at the championships and regarding his win, “all glory to God”.
Martin with dad Waldo and the family’s dog, Zoë.
Photos: Linda Sparg Martin Vorster with Kriekie Jacobs, who is a marshall and starter at the Mossel Bay Golf Club, and wanted his photo taken with Martin.