Look out Justin Rose, there might be a new number one on the golf course soon, and his name is Ruhan van Dijk.
The 21-year-old from Glen Marais did Kempton Park proud when he turned pro in March and plans to compete in the esteemed Sunshine Tour next year.
Earlier this year, the former Hoërskool Kempton Park learner missed this opportunity by about three shots, but now his future looks bright.
He managed to secure spots in the top 10 rankings of two previous IGT tournaments and believes he has what it takes to qualify for the Tour this time.
“I try to practice at least six times a week,” he told Express at a restaurant with sweeping views of the Serengeti golf course, where Van Dijk is part of the Wanna Be A Champion Academy. He is also a member of Kempton Park Golf Club.
Van Dijk certainly has come a long way since his days at Laerskool Kruinsig, where he picked up a club for the first time in Grade Seven. Already an avid rugby, cricket and tennis player, he was a natural, but he wasn’t the best.
“I barely made it into the first team. My teammates had talent but I had to rely on hard work and determination.”
His dedication paid off, and by Grade 10 he was representing his province on national level. By Grade 12 he was even better but went through a dip with his chipping.
“I tried everything but I couldn’t hit the greens. I tried it with different grips, one arm and even closed eyes, but nothing worked.”
In the end, the right-handed player chipped with his left hand and he hasn’t looked back since. “I don’t know another player who does that,” Van Dijk said.
With heroes such as American golfer Dustin Johnson and Brit Justin Rose, it’s no wonder he dreams of becoming the best in the world. “My dream of achieving that is what keeps me motivated.”
When he’s not on the golf course or playing squash with his dad for fun, Van Dijk can be found behind the books, as he studies a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Botany through UNISA part-time.
But how on earth does he manage it all?
“If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way,” was his advice. “If you don’t want it bad enough, you’ll find an excuse.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Van Dijk can contact him at [email protected]