In June, 11-year-old Zinan Maimane from Silver Lakes Golf Club became the youngest golfer yet to join the GolfRSA National Squad.
In a career spanning just six years, this grade six Tyger Valley College learner has bagged more than 50 trophies and celebrated back-to-back wins in the victorious Gauteng North teams that won the 2018 and 2019 Nomads U-13 Championships.
We caught up with Zinan to learn more about the young gun with the shy smile and deadly drive.
BIRTHDATE: 9 November 2008
GOLF CLUB & UNION: Silver Lakes Golf Club, Gauteng North Golf Union
Member of Gauteng North winning team – 2018 Nomads SA U-13 Championship
Winner (Under-10) – 2018 Junior Africa Challenge Tournament
4th – US Kids Golf European Championship (Under-10)
Member of Gauteng North winning team – 2019 Nomads SA U-13 Championship
Winner (Under-11) – 2019 SA Kids Team Challenge
9th – 2019 US Kids World Championship (Under-11)
2019 – SA Kids Golf Best Average Stroke Player of the Year
Q – Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.
ZM – When I was 4 years old I used to accompany my dad and older brother to their golf practices and matches at Leopard Park in Mafikeng. At the time I would only watch and play around with my brother’s clubs. When we moved to Pretoria in 2014 at the age of 6, my dad decided to buy me clubs. Then I started taking golf lessons and fell in love with the game.
Q – Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals? If so, what goals have you set for yourself for next season?
ZM – Yes I do set goals for myself. My goal for the next season is to win the Nomads Under-13, the Sun City Under-13 Challenge, the Gauteng North Golf Union Under-13 Order of Merit and the SA Kids Golf 11-12 Order of Merit.
Q – You are only 11 years old, but you have started to wet your feet on the GolfRSA national junior circuit. How tough is the transition to the national circuit and which events do you intend to compete in 2021?
ZM – The transition is tough, but exciting, as I am going to undergo so much change. I am ready for any obstacles and challenges that might come my way. I think it is going to be an exciting year.
I am planning to take part in the Nomads Under-13 Championship, Sun City Under-13 Challenge and the Junior Africa Challenge. If they ease the Covid-19 regulations, I would love to also participate in the US Kids European and World Championships.
Q – You were a member twice of the victorious Gauteng North teams that won the Nomads SA Under-13 Championships. Both times – at Koro Creek in 2018 and last year at Devonvale – you made vital contributions to the team score. Tell us about the experience.
ZM – I enjoy team events very much. They are really nice. If you play badly or if you feel disappointed in your performance a specific day, your team-mates will always motivate you to do better.
At Koro Creek, one of our team members fell ill and had to pull out of the tournament. The pressure was a lot, because that meant my scores (good or bad) contributed to the team’s performance. There was no room for mistakes, because I did not want to disappoint my team. I tried to stay focused and enjoy the game. I was really proud of myself for the contribution I made in the first two days. Although the last day was disappointing for me, I still made a contribution. I knew my capabilities and I took note of what I need to improve on next time.
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.
ZM – Long game is my strength. My coach Llewelyn (van Leeuwen) has done a great job to ensure that I keep on getting better and better. I still need to improve my chipping, but since I began working with coach Emile (Steinman), I have seen great improvements. We are working really hard to master my craft. I am blessed to be part of the TuksGolf team.
Q – You are the youngest amateur ever selected to the GolfRSA National Squad. How do you feel about making the grade?
ZM – I was very happy that I made history. My goal was to make the National Squad at the age of 15. I am very honoured to achieve such a milestone, especially at my age.
Q – How did you keep your game in form during the countrywide Covid-19 lockdown?
ZM – I practiced in my backyard. I have a hitting net, chipping net and a putting mat. Immediately after my online school classes, I went straight to work on my game.
Q – Although the national events have been cancelled for the season, amateurs are able to compete at provincial level. How has that been going?
ZM – It has been going good so far. I haven’t had amazing tournaments, but we move and continue to practice even harder.
Q – What’s your favourite club in your bag?
ZM – I cannot decide on a favourite, so I am going to give you my top 3. In no particular order, it’s the driver, 8-iron and lob-wedge.
Q – Which are your favourite golf courses and which golf courses would you still love to play?
ZM – My favourite golf course is Royal Johannesburg and I would love to play Eye of Africa.
Q – Who would you like to play with in your own Fantasy Fourball?
ZM – Louis Oosthuizen, in a heartbeat! Then Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods.
Q – Any hole-in-ones?
ZM – Nope. I have hit the flag and also lipped the hole many times, but I guess luck was not on my side.
Q – What is the best piece of golfing advice you have ever received?
ZM – Keeping my head down when putting.
Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
ZM – “Before you move to the more advanced stuff, get the basics right”
Q – Tell us 5 things about yourself most people don’t know
- I am a soccer fanatic
- I love playing PlayStation
- My favourite PS games are Fortnite and Fall Guys
- My favourite song is Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots
- Most people think I am 14 years old
Q – Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
ZM – If I win one of the national amateur tournaments, I would be so proud of myself. And if I won my age group in the US Kids World Championships, it would be my first international win.
Q – If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
ZM – A Dolphin. They are kind, sweet, friendly and very intelligent. That is me in short.
Q – Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.
ZM – Chicken burger at McDonald’s.
Q – What is your favourite season and why?
ZM – Spring, because it is neither cold nor hot.
Q – Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?
ZM – Screens (TV, Cellphone and PlayStation).
Q – Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
ZM – A speech, because I am quite shy.
Q – As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
ZM – I honestly never had a plan.
Q – Describe yourself in one word.
ZM – Energetic.
Q – What movie can you watch again and again and why?
ZM – The Fast and the Furious. I really like the movie.
Q – Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
ZM – PlayStation games (Fifa to be specific), Sports and Mathematics.
Q – What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
ZM – Water and food for survival and cell reception to keep in touch with the real world.
Q – If golf wasn’t an option, what profession would you pursue and why?
ZM – I would become a Civil Engineer and take over my dad’s company.
Q – If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?
ZM – Kevin Hart. He is a talented actor and I really enjoy his movies.
Q – What are your biggest fears?
ZM – Tarantula spiders give me the creeps.
Q – If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
ZM – Bill Gates. He looks like an amazing person.
Q – If you could meet and have lunch with anyone in the world (real, fictitious, from any time period, dead or alive) who would you choose?
ZM – Tiger Woods.
Q – Any superstitions?
ZM – I don’t have any.
Q – What is your guilty pleasure?
ZM – Staying in my pyjamas the whole day.
Q – Words to live by….
ZM – Be humble.
Q – If we gave you a free plane ticket anywhere, where would you go and why?
ZM – France. It looks like a really nice place and I would love to go to their Disneyland.
Q – I’m not embarrassed to say that ……
ZM – I can easily spend 30 minutes in the bathroom.
Q – What is your favourite quote from a movie or a person?
ZM – “It is about to go down” – Kevin Hart.
Q – What is still on the bucket list for Zinan Maimane?
- Meet Bubba Watson
- Meet Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson
- Visit Disneyland Paris
- Watch Chelsea live at Stamford Bridge
- Watch El Clásico live