A Quick 18 with Jaden Deltel

Jaden Deltel; credit Hardus van der Merwe

The Quick 18 series shines the spotlight on 13-year-old Jaden Deltel from Central Gauteng. Jaden took up the game at the age of nine, but played all his golf on a nine-hole course and when the Deltel family moved to South Africa from the Seychelles Islands, the world was his oyster.

Jaden’s progress in a short period of time has been nothing short of exceptional and he demonstrated his huge potential with his victory in the Sun City U-15 Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club, followed by a tie for 14th in the Boys 13 Age Group at the US Kids Teen World Championships at Pinehurst. Let’s meet Jaden.


BORN: Mahe Island, Seychelles
BIRTHDATE: 14th October 2004
RESIDENCE: Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa
SCHOOL & GRADE: Crawford College Lonehill, Grade 8
GOLF CLUB & UNION: Bryanston Country Club, Central Gauteng Golf Union

Winner of 2018 Sun City Under-15 Challenge
2nd in the 2018 Gowrie SA U-15 Challenge
T17 at the 2018 Nomads Boys SA U-17 Championship
Winner of a US Kids Qualifier at CCJ by 10 shots (score – 4)
T14 in the 2018 US Kids Teen World Championship (Boys 13 Years) at Pinehurst
Member of winning Central Gauteng Team at 2017 Nomads SA U-13 Championship
Winner of Primary Schools Inter-Provincials (IPS) at Benoni in December 2017 (score of -1)
Won the 2015 Mauritius Commercial Bank/Constance Open in Seychelles competing against men; the victory qualified me for the Air Mauritius Trophy and MCB European Senior Tour Pro Am at Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius.

I speak Creole (the national language of the Seychelles)
I love WWE (Wrestling)….especially the drama of it, not so much the actual wrestling
Apart from golf, I can’t live without bacon!
I am in awe of Tiger Woods – he is by far my favourite golfer. I will meet him someday.
The only person however that can get into my head is my father. When anyone says I can’t do something or put me down – it fires me up!!

I want to win a big event overseas. Winning in SA is one thing, but to win overseas makes you feel like a proper touring amateur “wanna be” pro golfer!
I want to represent South Africa playing golf
I would literally give anything to meet Tiger. I may even stop eating bacon!

2018 Sun City Under-15 Challenge winner Jaden Deltel with GolfRSA’s David Younge

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?
JD – I set yearly and tournament goals. In 2017, I wanted to represent my union at U-13 and U-15 levels and I achieved this. I also wanted to win a provincial event and I went on to win the IPS. I  set my sights on a GolfRSA  win in 2018 and I came really close at Gowrie, but a few months later I won the Sun City U-15 Challenge by 2 shots. I love setting tournament goals that include greens in reg, fairways hit, putting targets, etc.

Q – You learned your golf on a nine-hole course in the Seychelles. How tough has the transition been after moving to South Africa and starting to compete in the national junior events? What were the most difficult obstacles to overcome?
JD – The greens in Seychelles are slow!! Adjusting to super-fast greens took some time. Also, the course in Seychelles is short so I had to work on my long game with fitness and strength training as well as some high level equipment changes. I also had no coaching in Seychelles and realized I needed top coaching to compete at the highest junior levels. I now have two coaches: Gavan Levenson at Glendower and Bernard van de Meeburg at the World of Golf.

Q – Do you enjoy the experience? If so, has it impacted positively on your game?
JD – I absolutely love it! I thrive on competing with the best and I am extremely competitive. As I used to compete against men in Seychelles, I have no fear of bigger boys who hit it long. The bigger the challenge, the more excited I get!

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.
JD – My strength is my short game. Especially my chipping. I love being around the greens and creating shots in difficult situations. I spend hours and hours on this part of my game because I know no matter how long you hit the ball or how straight, you gotta put the ball in the hole from on or around the greens! My weakness is probably distance off the tee. I mean I’m not the shortest, but an extra 20 metres would be great! Interview me again in a year and I may have sorted this out.

Q – Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.
JD – It started in Seychelles when I was 9 years old. I was playing soccer at the time and my dad was golfing. I used to hate going to the club with him because the grass was itchy and the mosquitos were killing me! I would just sit down at the club house and wait for him to finish. Then I started putting and loved it. I started chipping and loved that even more. Then, one night, my dad was watching Tiger Woods in a PGA event and he holed this most incredible flop shot and went on to win the tournament. I was mesmerized by the shot, the crowd screaming and his fist pumps. I must have watched this on recording 100 times or more. From that day, I decided golf is what I wanted to do in my life.

Q – Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
JD – Major, Major, Major and another Major. A Career Grand Slam, Golf Hall of Fame, that’s why!

Q – If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
JD – A lion. Because I love to hunt things down!

Q – Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.
JD – Bacon and eggs. Almost everywhere. Who can live without that??

Q – What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
JD – Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.

Q – What is your favourite season and why?
JD – Summer because we are on school holidays and I have more time to practice and play golf.

Q – Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?
JD – Golf. And bacon, of course

Q – Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
JD – Taking medicine, especially liquid ones. Yuck! It tastes terrible. It can take me 20 minutes to psyche myself up to swallow a pill or a spoonful of medicine!

Q – As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
JD – Nothing really until I discovered golf.

Q – What’s your favourite club in your bag?
JD – Lob wedge. I use it for chipping, bunkers, flop shots and even approach shots. I can even putt with it. I trust this baby!

Q – Describe yourself in one word.
JD – Determined.

Q – What movie can you watch again and again?
JD – Shrek

Q – Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
JD – Golf. Eating. Ten Pin Bowling.

Q – What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
JD – A golf club. A golf ball. And bacon. At least if I die I will have everything I love with me!

Q – If golf wasn’t an option, what profession would you pursue and why?
JD – This question is far too difficult to answer. I can’t imagine doing anything else nor do I want to.

Q – If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?
JD – Matt Damon – I liked him in the “Legend of Bagger Vance”.

Q – What are your biggest fears?
JD – Failure. This fear drives me to training every single day.

Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
JD – Golf is hard and you need to stay patient. Nothing can substitute hard work and all you have that is worth anything is your own self-belief.