A quick 18 with Amilkar Bhana

2018 Dimension Data Junior Open Under-15 Challenge winner Amilkar Bhana; credit Ernest Blignault

The Quick 18 series shines the spotlight on 13-year-old Central Gauteng golfer Amilkar Bhana, with his big drives and lethal short game. In two short years since he started competing on the South African Golf Association’s junior circuit, Bhana has risen to third in the Under-15 Rankings and broken into the top 30 in the Under-17 age group.

BORN: Sandton, Johannesburg, RSA
BIRTHDATE: 12 October 2004
RESIDENCE: Kelvin, Sandton
SCHOOL & GRADE: Crawford Preparatory School, Benmore, Sandton; Grade 7
GOLF CLUB: Country Club Johannesburg
REPRESENTS: Central Gauteng

1 – Kids World Championship Malaysia U-10
4 – US Kids European Championship U-12
Top 10 US Kids World Championship U-12
Selected for International Team Versus USA team-U12
1 – Nomads SA Under-13 Championship
1 – Gowrie SA Under-15 Challenge
1 – Dimension Data Junior Open U-15 Challenge

1. I’ve always been fascinated that humans have found a way to fly. I like to read and know about aeroplanes and because of this fascination, hopefully one day I will know how an aeroplane is built.
2. I have 2 older sisters, and as much as they make me know I am a small boy in the house, I cannot do without them. They have always been there behind me and I know if I trip, they will catch me.
3. I have heard stories of people who have done good things in the world from my Mom and Dad. I am happy they told me these stories and I try my best to say thanks to these people whenever I meet them. I wish I met all of them.
4. My dad is my All Time Hero. I am grateful for all time I have with him, and I make it a point to take my time from him for me. I know I can go to him whenever I need to. Hope he stays like that.
5. I am told I come from a family that likes their own culture, food and praying habits. I see it with my own eyes and I like it.

I like to stay in India for a short period to see how people live, where my forefathers came from.
I wish one day I could build an aeroplane, even if it’s the smallest one.
I wish to play a round of golf with Tiger Woods at CCJ, my home course.

Q – Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals? If so, what goals did you set for yourself to achieve in 2017 and beyond?
AB – I have dreams, I have not set goals. My dream is to play my best golf on the biggest days of the golfing calendar.

Q – Towards the end of last season, you started competing in national junior events, playing against golfers much older than you. How tough is the transition, i.e. what are the most difficult obstacles to overcome?
AB – I am much shorter than the ones I play with now. I am hoping to get tall and strong like them. For now, the obstacle is my age and I know I will overcome that.

Q – Do you enjoy the experience? If so, has it impacted positively on your game?
AB – I lose every so often and sometimes I also win. I like the winning part. Makes all around me very happy and I feel I achieve something when I win and that’s a good feeling for me. When I lose, which is more often than I win, I first get frustrated and sometimes angry with myself and I always get quite and that helps me to think where I had gone wrong and I go and talk to my elders about it. That makes me feel better and most times I learn something out of those losses.

Q – Talk to us about the strengths of your game and what are the weaknesses or aspects of the game you still need to attend to.
AB – I know I am learning golf and I am enjoying learning golf. I am happy with the people that my parents have put around me to learn the game of golf. Sometimes I feel I am good at certain aspects of the game and sometimes I feel that the very same things are my weaknesses of the game and.I hear of adults talking about being a student of the game. I’d like to be one of those.

Q – Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.
AB – I once accompanied my dad to the driving range. I observed him and his friends hacking away. My dad turned around and asked me if I would like to hit a ball, and I was hoping when he was going to ask me. I jumped at his request and hit the ball the furthest and straightest I could. My dad and his friends made me feel like a champion with that one shot. I am so lucky that it went well.

Q – Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
AB – The Open, wherever it is played

Q – If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
AB – Elephant. I come from Africa. I see this big and powerful animal, and every time my parents took me to the game reserves, I love observing the elephant because it seems to be such a calm animal, yet it is big and powerful.

Q – Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.
AB – A hot dog in New York. I saw so many people eat it in the movies and it looks delicious. I had to eat it myself. I had six before my Mom stopped me.

Q – What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
AB – My Mom and Dad says, “be myself”. I am trying to work out what that means, but it sounds nice.

Q – What is your favourite season and why?
AB – I can’t wait for soccer season to watch my favourite club Liverpool play. I wish that the Kopp could sing for me at Anfield as they sing for my Liverpool heroes.

Q – Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?

Q – Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
AB – I hate washing cars. My parents insist that it is important for me to do chores at home. Yet there are so many car-washers.

Q – As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
AB – Having won the Open, built an aeroplane and see a smile on my Mom and Dad’s face.

Q – What’s your favourite club in your bag?
AB – My Putter. Every hole however good or bad has to come to an end.

Q – Describe yourself in one word.
AB – Son

Q – What movie can you watch again and again?
AB – Cars

Q – Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
AB – Building model aeroplanes, scoring goals in football, A game of Chess

Q – What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
AB – Water, a friend, a dolphin to save me

Q – If golf wasn’t an option, what profession would pursue and why?
AB – Pilot, I love flying aeroplanes

Q – If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?
AB – Amitabh Bachchan, He is my Mom’s absolute and All-time hero.

Q – What are your biggest fears?
AB – Not enough food to feed everybody in the world. I come from Africa, and the city I come from -Johannesburg- I see children my age standing in lines for food. It happens every Saturday at my Dad’s cricket Club (JCC). It pains me that I have food and they have to come to my Dad’s club for food.

Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
AB – When an adult gives you a chance to pick up the golf club, be happy and bring a smile to the adult who gave you a chance. It does not matter where the ball goes.