Eastern Province senior David Konzani gave the home crowd a real reason to celebrate when he claimed back-to-back victories in June.
Almost from the time he first hit shots as a seven-year-old at Wedgewood Country Club, Konzani has been a grinder. The entrepreneur and father of four has enjoyed a career spanning more than 40 years and his recent success reminded golf fans that he is still a serious contender.
The Humewood golfer grabbed national headlines when he outshined the country’s top mid-amateurs to claim a three stroke victory in the Eastern Province Mid-Amateur at St Francis Links. Just a week later, he won the Eastern Province Senior Open at neighbouring St Francis Bay.
And next month, Konzani hopes to give the local golf fans even more to cheer about when he partners with the cream of Eastern Province golf at the Tempest Premier South African Inter-Provincial at Westlake Golf Club.
We chatted to Konzani to find out more about the enduring golfer and what still inspires him to compete at 53.
Q: Where and when did your love for golf begin?
DK: My father, Natti, was a greenkeeper at Wedgewood Country Club and I grew up right next to the golf course. He encouraged me to play, so I took up the game when I was about seven. I also worked as a caddie after school and on the weekends to make some extra money and to pick up tips from the ‘pros’.
Q: What do you consider the highlights of your golfing career?
DK: I’ve had some great victories, but for me the biggest achievement of my career was being selected to represent Eastern Province at the Premier South African Inter-Provincial.
Q: And the most memorable moment of your career?
DK: My breakthrough win at the Uitenhage Prestige Open Eastern Province Order of Merit event.
Q: You won back-to-back tournaments on mid-amateur and senior level earlier this year. At 53, what still drives your competitive juices?
DK: To be honest, my motivation comes from trying to keep up and to beat players younger than me.
Q: Describe yourself as a golfer.
DK: I am a pretty steady golfer. The strongest part of my game is my short game, but I’m rather short of the tee, which can be a drawback against the long hitters.
Q: Who are the players you admire and why?
DK: I really admire Mziyanda Zingela, for his consistency. He will be making his 23rd appearance for Eastern Province at the Premier SA IPT and that takes some doing. I also admire Ernie Els for his contribution to South African golf with the establishment of Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation and Tiger Woods for his work ethic and what he has achieved globally.
Q: Do you work or have you worked with a coach?
DK: No, I’m self-taught. I’ve never worked with a coach.
Q: What is the one tournament you would still like to win and why?
DK: I dream of winning the South African Senior Amateur, our senior “major”. It’s the one every senior in South Africa wants to bag.
Q: If you could change one rule of golf, what would it be and why?
DK: Definitely fixing spike marks on the green. I mean, why should only the first group of players enjoy unspoiled greens and lines?
Q: What are your five most favourite golf courses and what are your five dream courses to play?
DK: Three of my favourite courses are close to home – Humewood Golf Club, St Francis Links and East London Country Club. The other two are the Montagu course at Fancourt in George and Durban Country Club.
My dream courses to play are St Andrews and Augusta National abroad, and Rand Park, Simola and Fancourt Links here at home.
Q: Who would you pick for your Fantasy Fourball and why?
DK: I would love to play with Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Bernhard Langer. Ernie for passion for South African golf, Tiger for his work ethic and Langer for his longevity and competitiveness.
Q: Do you think enough is being done to develop young talent in South Africa?
DK: I think the South African Golf Association and the unions are doing a fantastic job to develop young talent.
Q: On the flip side, what about the seniors?
DK: We have a lot of playing opportunities on the local circuit, but we have very little representation abroad. I would like to see some national teams get the chance to play oversees, as well. I definitely still dream of wearing the green and gold one day.
Q: You have done duty on the senior team, but in September you are lining up for EP for a second successive year at the Tempest Premier SA Inter-Provincial. How did it feel to represent your union at national level against a much younger crowd last year?
DK: My debut at the Premier SA IPT last year was the best experience of my career. It was always one of my dreams to represent Eastern Province. I didn’t think it could still happen and it was a dream come true.
Q: What are your expectations at this year’s SA IPT?
DK: We have a strong and skilled team and I believe our team is capable to challenge for A-Division promotion this year.
DID YOU KNOW
My nickname is Venter, because I am one of the shortest hitters, always bringing up the rear
I love going to the gym
I play with Cleveland 588 TT and Srixon Z Star XV
The oldest club in my bag is a Titleist 975 three-wood
If I could pick any actor to star me in a movie about my life, it would be Martin Lawrence
The motto I live by is to stay in the moment
The best advice I ever received was to keep it simple, and not to get too technical
If I didn’t play golf, I would be a soccer coach