Madibaz golfer JP van der Watt’s positive approach to life is something he takes on to the course and it has paid off in his fledgling career.
The Nelson Mandela University student-athlete confirmed his talent in March when was crowned Humewood Golf Club champion at his first attempt.
Van der Watt, who had only played the links course on a handful of occasions prior to the tournament, said his approach was to apply his life values to his golfing game.
“I strive to be positive and happy and therefore try to see the good in all situations. So why should it be different when I’m playing golf?
“I also think my ball striking and the way I conduct myself on the course have helped me to reach the level I have.”
Although Van der Watt grew up in George, matriculating from Glenwood House, he resides in Port Elizabeth while attending the varsity.
He picked up his first club at the age of 10 and said his passion for the game was a gradual process.
“There was not really one defining moment where I just thought, ‘okay, this is my game’,” said the first-year B.Com student.
Claiming the Humewood title “with the history and tradition behind it” was one of his career highlights, admitted the 19-year-old.
Van der Watt, who has played for Southern Cape teams from U13 to U19, understood the value of hard work on the course and in the classroom.
“With regard to my studies, I tend to wake up really early and do some schoolwork then or at night. So I try to balance out academics, golf and free time.”
The ocean features prominently in the latter.
“I absolutely love the sea and that’s where I go to relax, whether it’s surfing, bodyboarding, swimming or just going for a walk on the beach.”
He acknowledges a range of people who had an influence on his fledgling career.
“My dad has to be the main one for everything he has done and the sacrifices our family has made for my golf.
“[Coach] Val Holland, back in George, really helped me to develop as a player, while [training PGA professional] Pieter Rademeyer from Humewood and Mr Karl du Preez from Madibaz Golf Club have given me a lot of support.”
Religion is a cornerstone of his life and he thanked the CRC PE church for their support, love and guidance.
“A verse that I live by is Philippians 4:13: ‘I can do all things through him who gives me strength’.”