With more than a handful of world class golf courses on Cape Town's door step,…
At just seven years old, Simthandile Tshabalala isn’t just the youngest member of Steyn City’s gold club – he’s also one of the most talented.
Simthandile has earned a significant number of trophies from both local and international tournaments in the nine months that he’s been playing professionally. He recently left South Africa to take part in the Australian Open Golf Championships, in which he came fourth – and with a global ranking of number 14 in his age category, he’s sure to keep South Africa’s flag flying high.
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It’s no wonder that the international press have been quick to draw parallels between Simthandile and Tiger Woods, especially since US golf officials have nicknamed the young star SimTiger. At such a young age, he’s caught up in his sheer love for the game and refuses to give up his time on the greens even when it’s dark or he has other commitments. Simthandile receives full support from his family, with his father acting as his caddy. Of course, he also has the entire Steyn City team behind him. We caught up with the young sports star to find out a little more.
How did you discover your passion for golf?
My dad started teaching me golf when I was four years old – he bought me a set of golf clubs and took me with him each time he played. I started competing eight months ago and my first tournament was the Africa Open 2018, in which I came third.
Tell us about your nickname SimTiger.
On the first day I played in the Kids Golf World Championship 2018 in Malaysia, people said that I swing the club like Tiger Woods. When the US kids’ golf officials asked me what my name was, I said I didn’t have one, so they began calling me SimTiger and the nickname just stuck.
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If you could have one wish, what would it be?
To become a pro and to win The Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. It would be a great feeling to wear the green jacket – this means that you’re an honourary member.
What does it feel like to be the youngest member of Steyn City’s golf club?
It feels good and it’s the best golf course that I’ve ever played. The people at Steyn City love me and I love them. It’s a special place!
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What’s your best memory from competing in the Australian Open Golf Championships?
Carrying my country’s flag and parading it in front of other countries was a proud moment for me. I also made the podium and received a top five trophy, which was a huge achievement for me and for South Africa.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I play soccer for Starlets academy and I’m the captain of my team.
If you had R10,000, how would you spend it?
I’d give half of it to homeless kids and use the other half to buy a new Callaway Epic driver or TaylorMade M6 driver and golf clothes.
What do you hope to achieve before your next birthday?
To win an international tournament and get a gold sponsor to sponsor me and my golf trips overseas.
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!