Golf: A Quick 18 with Jaden Deltel | 29 August 2020
‘I am honoured and thrilled to be a member of the GolfRSA national squad’
After making his mark in a really short time on the national stage in South Africa, Seychelles-born golfer Jaden Deltel has been called up as a member of the GolfRSA national squad.
Only last week, the young golfer from Central Gauteng, Johannesburg was also the winner of the Bryanston Country Club Junior Championship 2020 with a score of 148 gross.
Jaden, who will be 16 on October 14, took up the game at the age of nine, but played all his golf on the nine-hole course that was previously a coconut plantation at Anse Aux Pins! After his family moved to South Africa, the world became his oyster and his progress in a short period of time has been nothing short of exceptional.
He demonstrated his huge potential in 2018 with a runner-up finish at the U-15 Challenge at Gowrie Farm before emerging victorious a few months later 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. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength.
Let’s meet Jaden.
BORN: Mahe Island, Seychelles
BIRTHDATE: 14 October 2004
RESIDENCE: Olivedale, Johannesburg, South Africa
SCHOOL & GRADE: BridgetoShore Impaq Learning Centre, Grade 10
GOLF CLUB & UNION: Bryanston Country Club, Central Gauteng Golf Union
Member of winning Central Gauteng Team at 2017 Nomads SA U-13 Championship (individual Top 10 at same event)
Winner of Primary Schools Inter-Provincials (IPS) at Benoni in December 2017
Winner of a US Kids Qualifier at CCJ by 10 shots
2nd at the 2018 Gowrie SA U-15 Challenge
T17 at the 2018 Nomads Boys SA U-17 Championship
Winner of 2018 Sun City Under-15 Challenge
T14 at the 2018 US Kids Teen World Championship (Boys 13 Years) at Pinehurst
Winner of the Air Mauritius Trophy, an open amateur event held annually at Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius.
T4 at the 2019 Nomads SA Boys U15 Championship
4th at the 2019 Nomads SA Boys U17 Championship
Winner of an U19 Provincial 36-hole event at Parkview after shooting 76 for the first 18 and coming in with a 66 for the last 18.
Winner of Bryanston Country Club Junior Championship 2020
TELL US FIVE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW
● I speak a little Creole (the national language of the Seychelles) and understand most of it
● I am a fan of Call of Duty Warzone, although I am not an expert at it! The competitiveness of the game is what I really love about it!
● Apart from golf, I can’t live without bacon and my mum’s lentils!
● I am in awe of Tiger Woods – he is by far my favourite golfer. I will meet him someday.
● Two of my favourite movies of all time are Equalizer 1 and Equalizer 2 with one of my favourite actors, Denzel Washington . . . “The two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why”.
STILL ON THE BUCKET LIST
● I want to represent Golf RSA/South Africa overseas.
● I want to win a Golf RSA U17 or U19 event.
● I want to play Leopard Creek – simply an iconic venue!
● Would love to meet Michael Jordan – a hero of mine.
Question: Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started?
Jaden Deltel: 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.
Question: Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals? If so, what goals did you set for yourself to achieve in 2021?
Jaden Deltel: I set yearly and tournament goals. In 2021, I want to represent my union at U-19 level at the IPT. As mentioned I would love to win a Golf RSA U17 and/or an U19 event (or events) to go with my U15 win. I am quite process driven during practices and enjoy practicing competitively to improve my golf – even if that means whipping my dad (a single handicapped golfer who is actually streaky good)! Of course to represent Golf RSA and South Africa are my bigger goals.
Question: You learned your golf on a nine-hole course in the Seychelles. How tough has the transition been after moving to South? What were the most difficult obstacles to overcome and did the move – and playing the GolfRSA national circuit – impact positively on your game?
Jaden Deltel: 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 realised I needed top coaching to compete at the highest levels. I am now coached by Gavan Levenson at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington. Over the past three years plus, I have absolutely loved competing in South Africa with so much amazing talent around me and look forward to many more exciting tournaments and learning experiences to come!
Question: 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.
Jaden Deltel: 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! Since the last time we spoke, I have also worked very hard at my physical conditioning to improve my distances off the tee because I know length is an advantage. I am not the longest 15-year-old in SA but I can get it out there alright.
Question: In a very short period of time, you have not only made your mark on the national stage here in South Africa, but now you are also a member of the GolfRSA national squad. How do you feel about making the squad?
Jaden Deltel: I’ve really wanted to be a part of the national squad for a long time but always knew I had to earn my way in and that kept me focussed and patient. For three years I have looked up to many past and present players in that squad and I am honoured and thrilled to now be a member. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Golf RSA selection committee for placing their faith in me and of course Mr Rupert for all that he does for golf in South Africa.
Question: Your selection to the GolfRSA national squad came at probably the worst time for any young golfer, right at the start of the countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. How did you stay engaged with the game during the lockdown?
Jaden Deltel: Ironically, the national lockdown gave me a lot of time to work on my fundamentals at home but even more importantly on my mental state. I used the time to practice on my artificial green at home (thanks Nana and Papa!) and read a lot of mental help books that gave me more tools to use on and off the course. Despite the pandemic, to be selected for the Golf RSA national squad at 15 years old turned a not so great year into an incredible year for me!
Question: Although the national events have been cancelled for the season, you are able to compete at provincial level. How has that been going? You also just celebrated a wonderful come-from-behind victory at the Bryanston Junior Club Championship – tell us about that blistering back nine!
Jaden Deltel: I am delighted first and foremost that we are back playing and would like to thank the efforts of Golf RSA in getting us the approval with government. Mr Hepburn and his team worked so hard and I am so grateful. In fact, there has only been one provincial junior U19 event at Kyalami and I played OK finishing solo third. I was using a new set of Titleist clubs and was still adjusting to the new distances and it showed with a bit of a rollercoaster round in which I made 6 birdies but also 6 bogeys!! As for the Bryanston Junior Champs, I teed it up on the 10th on day 2 after a shocking front 9 that left me 6 back of the leader. I had no choice but to go big or go home on the back and I thought if I could get a couple of shots back on the leader after the first few holes that maybe I still had a chance. After 11 holes I was still 6 back even with a birdie two on 11, which the leader halved. A mental error from him on the 12th and a par from me closed the gap by two strokes. By the 15th, I was three back with four to play. My predator instinct kicked in and I finished birdie, par, birdie, birdie to win by one. After an ugly front nine, I cleaned up the back nine with four birdies and zero drops. Moral of the story: Never, ever ever quit!
Question: Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
Jaden Deltel: Major, Major, Major and another Major. A Career Grand Slam, Golf Hall of Fame baby, that’s why . . .haha!
Question: If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
Jaden Deltel: A lion. Because I love to hunt things down!
Question: Describe the best meal you've had while on the road and where you had it.
Jaden Deltel: Bacon and eggs. Almost everywhere. Who can live without that?? The Big Champion burger at Wimpy Harrismith (half way to Durbs) comes in at a very close second!
Question: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Jaden Deltel: When my dad keeps reminding me that I’m not good enough. Not in a bad way, but in a way that keeps pushing me to get better and better. You may not say that’s advice but it’s these four words that keep me humble. My dad is actually a phenomenal mental coach and knows just how to lift me up, but also wake me up when I drift off track!
Question: What is your favourite season and why?
Jaden Deltel: Summer because we are on school holidays and I have more time to practice and play golf. I can wake up earlier to do physical training without freezing my butt off!! (can I say butt here?)
Question: Is there anything you are addicted to or can't live without?
Jaden Deltel: Golf. Bacon. Competing. And my mum’s cooking!
Question: Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
Jaden Deltel: Taking medicine, especially liquid ones. Yuck! It tastes terrible. It can take me 20 minutes to psyche myself up to take a spoonful of medicine!
Question: As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
Jaden Deltel: Nothing really until I discovered golf.
Question: What's your favourite club in your bag?
Jaden Deltel: My favourite club in the bag is the one I’m holding in my hands when I have to hit a shot.
Question: Describe yourself in one word.
Jaden Deltel: Relentless.
Question: What movie can you watch again and again?
Jaden Deltel: The Equalizer 1
Question: Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
Jaden Deltel: Golf. Eating. Irritating my older sister.
Question: What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
Jaden Deltel: A golf course (preferably a replica of Augusta National), a set of clubs/balls and a flare gun!
Question: If golf wasn’t an option, what profession would you pursue and why?
Jaden Deltel: You asked me this last time if I recall and I remember saying I cannot see myself doing anything else but playing golf for a living. Now that time has passed, I can categorically and emphatically say that nothing has changed! I do not want to sound brash, but I believe everyone has a purpose in life. I’ve already found mine.
Question: If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?
Jaden Deltel: Denzel Washington. The dude is a legend and an inspiration to succeed.
Question: What are your biggest fears?
Jaden Deltel: Not much scares me although I am not a fan of rollercoasters.
Question: What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
Jaden Deltel: 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.
Question: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
Jaden Deltel: I would trade places with Michael Jordan. Play golf all day, smoke big, fat cigars knowing you’re the GOAT!
Question: 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?
Jaden Deltel: Kobe Bryant. Pushed himself to the highest level of his sport and then went even higher!
Question: Any superstitions?
Jaden Deltel: Not really. I do believe in Karma though (what you put out, you get back double or more).
Question: Which are your favourite golf courses and which golf courses would you still love to play?
Jaden Deltel: My two favourite courses in SA are Gary Player Country Club at Sun City and St. Francis Links. I would love to play Augusta National and St. Andrews (old course).
Question: What is your guilty pleasure?
Jaden Deltel: Getting away with not doing house work while my sister slaves away!
Question: Who would you like to play with in your own Fantasy Fourball?
Jaden Deltel: Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan. My Dad. And I. I know I can beat two out of the three…hahahaha.
Question: Words to live by….
Jaden Deltel: Rest at the end, not in the middle.
Question: If we gave you a free plane ticket anywhere, where would you go and why?
Jaden Deltel: Scotland. To play all the links courses in those tough, cold, windy conditions.
Question: Any hole-in-ones? (please list how many and where)
Jaden Deltel: I’ve had three. One at Wanderers, another at Kyalami and the last one at my home course Bryanston. The first one was cool because I actually finished hole in one, birdie, par, birdie to win the tournament.
Question: I’m not embarrassed to say that ……
Jaden Deltel: I eat like a horse!
Question: What is your favourite quote from a movie or a person?
Jaden Deltel: “Pressure is a privilege” – Michael Jordan.