Tristan Galant, a prodigy who captured the imagination of the golfing world at age 12, has returned home after 4 years in the USA and the South African Golf Development Board player aims to inspire youngsters on the Cape Flats.
A past winner of the SA U-13 Championships the strapping teen is back in Cape Town having spent the past four years at the Bishop’s Gate Golf Academy and the International Junior Golf Academy in Florida.
“Bishop’s Gate coaches Zach Parker and Iain Highfield saw me play in Scotland and invited me to come to Florida to further my golfing education,” says Tristan. “I had just turned 12, but I wasn’t afraid to make the move. My mom said she would missed me a lot, but we knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Growing up in Belhar, Tristan previously attended Erica Primary School and his goals are to turn pro one day and to give back to his community. “I want to inspire kids where I grew up surrounded by gangsterism,” he says.
Having learned the game under the watchful eye of his father at the former King David golf course, Tristan has golf in his blood with uncle Mervyn Galant having played on the Sunshine Tour. He was inspired to play by Tiger Woods. “I would watch him on TV and loved his celebrations,” says Tristan.
He also enjoyed the extreme shot making exploits of the great Seve Ballesteros. “So, I don’t mind being off-line! Plus, recovery is part of life,” he adds philosophically, illustrating an old head sits atop his broad young shoulders.
Tristan’s first tournament since returning home in December, was the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series at Durbanville golf course on 5 January 2018. His game showed some rust and the gale force South Easter did him no favours, but Tristan still impressed with his Tiger-like length off the tee, once booming a drive 300 metres – uphill!
More impressive was his calm nature, even when the golfing gods threw him bad breaks.
“If I do badly I like the opportunity that golf gives you to come back, that teaches you a lot about life. Because you get knocked down so often, golf builds resilience,” says the remarkable 16-year-old.
His career highlights so far include being awarded provincial colours aged nine, winning the U-13 SA Championships and a couple of runner up sports in the USA. “Also shooting my lowest score so far, 65 at Bella Collina in Florida,” he adds.
Tristan’s return to US fairways could come sooner than expected, provided he wins one of the remaining juniorseries.bridgefm.co.za events to qualify for the Series finals in April 2018, where the country’s best U-19 golfers will compete for the grand prize of an all-expenses paid trip to play in the prestigious Junior North and South Championship at historic Pinehurst in North Carolina.
“We got involved with the series to boost junior golf and Tristan is another example of South Africa’s exciting pool of young talent,” says Paul Stewart, Executive Director at Bridge Fund Managers.