Meet South Africa’s top ranked amateur Kyle McClatchie
This month we introduce you to South Africa’s number one ranked amateur Kyle McClatchie, the first South African golfer to hit a shot in the Olympics when he represented the country in the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing alongside Kaleigh Telfer.
Hot on the heels of his Western Province Amateur Championship victory, Kyle flew to Ireland, where he is currently competing in the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship and shares the 36-hole lead with England’s Sean Towndrow at Royal County Down.
Before he left for the United Kingdom, we chatted to the GolfRSA National Squad member about his golf career, his likes and dislikes and we discovered a few things about Kyle that most of us didn’t know about him.
Kyle James McClatchie
Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate in Ekurhuleni
OTHER THAN THE YOUTH OLYMPICS, WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
My first highlight was when I received my green blazer representing South Africa in a Test against France at Serengeti.
Another highlight was my 3rd place finish in Italy at the Italian U-16 Championship because it was the first time I played under the South African flag abroad
And definitely my first amateur win in 2016 at the Boland Amateur. I had to focus on my studies in my matric year and my golf suffered and I knew that win would kick start my season. It also set me up for more victories in 2016.
THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME
I got an A-average for matric at King Edward VII School (KES)
I’m a pretty shy guy
I love all sorts of sports, anything that involves being outside and being active excites me
I really love my music it is something that calms me down and inspires me
I am scared of flying
I wanted to be what every other kid growing up did …a super hero, of course
My biggest fear is to not even try… I would rather try and fail that not try at all
STILL ON MY BUCKET LIST
To play in The Masters at Augusta National is definitely something I really want to do
To visit every continent
TALK TO US ABOUT THE START OF YOUR GOLFING CAREER
Well, my parents have photos of me sitting with a golf club at the age of two, but I can’t really remember much about that. My dad has always played golf and he taught me the game and in the end made me passionate about the game. As a sports lover, it was only natural to test myself at the greatest game ever played.
DO YOU SET YOURSELF GOALS AND WHAT DID YOU HOPE FOR IN 2017?
Yes, I set myself goals at the start of every year and put them up in my room so that I can see them every day. I think it’s important to have goals as it helps you improve and in order to view your own performances objectively. My goals for 2017 are to perform overseas and for my country and to win as much as I can in and out of the country as I think that winning is an important part of becoming the best for obvious reasons.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS AND WHY?
One of my role models is my father. He is very committed to all aspects of his life and works extremely hard. He has time for his family and knows how to balance his life. He is a great supporter to me and will always be somebody I look up to.
Another role model of mine in terms of golf is Tiger Woods. On the course he was just incredible, because he has one of the best minds the game has ever seen. His attitude just made him incredible to watch and so hard to beat over the years. He believed he was the best so he became the best which is something I wish to imitate over the years.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS OF YOUR GAME?
I think the strengths of my game are my putting and my ability to never give up (mental game). It’s something I continuously build on, but I can rely strongly on my putter and mental strength when I’m out on the course.
I like to think that I don’t have weaknesses; rather just areas I need to work on and improve on. One of these areas is my pitching. It’s something I’ve worked really hard on and has definitely improved over the years.
BEST AND WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES?
My best travel experience was definitely my trip to the United Kingdom last year. It’s an awesome part of the world filled with some amazing golf courses, which I really enjoyed.
My worst travel experience was trying to get from the airport in France to our accommodation in Chantilly. I was traveling with my good friend Jovan Rebula and he thought it was a good idea to take the train. Four hours later and 100 Euros poorer, we reached our accommodation. On the up side it made for a great story and something I will never forget.
TOURNAMENT OR MAJOR YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO WIN?
I would most like to win the Open Championship at the Old Course at St Andrews, as I think it would just be the most amazing feeling to win at the place where the game started.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS
The song I’d pick to be played for me on the first tee would be ‘The Fighter’ by Gym Class Heroes
My favourite home cooked meal would have to be a good old McClatchie braai with good mates and great music.
If I got stuck on an island and could only have 3 things it would be a lob wedge, unlimited golf balls and a killer music playlist
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER EATEN?
The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten is by far is Haggis – a Scottish delicacy which I never will touch again.
WHAT WOULD YOU ASK FOR IF YOU WERE GRANTED THREE WISHES?
A house at St Andrews, a chance to play a round of golf with the late Arnold Palmer and to go on holiday in the Bahamas and play barefoot golf with my best mates.
TWO THINGS YOU’RE REALLY GOOD AT?
Having a good time
Making the most of a bad situation
WHO WOULD BE IN YOUR DREAM PAIRING AND YOUR FANTASY FOURBALL?
My dream pairing would have to be my dad, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and me and my Fantasy Fourball will be Arnold Palmer, Will Smith, Mohammed Ali and me.
WHICH ACTOR WOULD YOU PICK TO PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
It would definitely have to be Matt Damon, because nobody messes with him.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO CLUB?
My go to club would have to be my trusty Gap-wedge. If something needs to go close that’s the club I wish is in my hands.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNGSTERS JUST STARTING THE GAME?
My advice would be to work as hard as you can and never give up. Make sure to surround yourself with an awesome support team filled with people you can trust and relate to and stick with those people. This will give you the best chance to succeed in golf and in life in general.