ALMOST from the time he first hit shots as a seven-year-old at Wedgewood Country Club, David Konzani has been a grinder. The entrepreneur and father of four has enjoyed a career spanning more than 40 years and his win in the Southern Cape Senior Amateur at George GC at the end of May comes after success both at mid-amateur and senior level last year.
A pair of 71s at George for a 142 total reminded golf fans that at 54 Konzani is still a serious contender. Bertus Smit, who now plays out of Mossel Bay and spent several years competing on the European Senior pro tour where he chalked up a victory, finished second behind Konzani on 144, with Serengeti’s Francois Le Roux next best on 146. Mowbray’s Herman September and Mziyanda Zingela (Uitenhage) tied for fourth on 147.
Last year Konzani grabbed the headlines when he outshone 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 lifted the Eastern Province Senior Open title at neighbouring St Francis Bay.
Now he’s winning again and teeandsandwedges chatted to Konzani to find out more about the enduring golfer and what still inspires him to compete at 54.
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: You won back-to-back tournaments on mid-amateur and senior level last year and now this year you’ve won the Southern Cape Senior Amateur at 54, 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 pretty steady. 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. Last year he made 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 the 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: 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 Golf 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 Randpark, Simola and Fancourt Links here at home.
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 overseas, as well. I definitely still dream of wearing the green and gold one day.
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
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.