Bertus Schaap is the envy of all his mates right now.
The Cape Town resident is preparing to play in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup Amateur Series at the picture-perfect Gloria Golf Club starting on Wednesday.
It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, but Schaap is not getting carried away by all the hype.
“Golf is fun. It’s a time to meet up with friends and that’s the most important thing for me. You play golf to meet new people, make new connections, and that’s the ultimate for me. That brings me happiness,” Schaap told Independent Media.
Journey of fate
The journey to Antalya was also one of fate for Schaap.
“I played in a four-ball with some colleagues of mine. We were invited to it. I didn’t plan for it, never made any notes saying I want to play on this tour. It was by invitation, and I just enjoyed it, made new memories, and ended up winning it,” he said.
“It wasn't a long process. It is a bit different to the rest of the countries, who all have regional finals, whereas South Africa just had two competitions.
“I couldn’t believe it. I phoned my wife immediately, and told her that I just won a trip to Turkey!”
Seventy-five golfers from all around the world, including fellow South African Euan McNeil from Johannesburg, will line-up at the tee box on Wednesday.
He certainly looked sharp during the practice rounds at the New Course on Tuesday, navigating his way through the fast greens, water hazards and sandy bunkers with relative ease.
Matter of national pride
And as much as Schaap is trying to stay in his bubble, he knows come tee-off time the competitive juices and national pride of representing South Africa will start to kick in.
“If you had a look around, and chatted to some of the guys, there are a couple of phenomenal golfers here, and they would not have ended up here if they can’t play golf,” he said.
“My expectations are just to go out there, play the best I can possibly play, and make some memories.
“But it will be great finishing up the top, and the competitiveness will kick in eventually. When the pressure gets on, that’s when you want to impress, and of course representing a South African country on a global stage, you want to make your country proud. You don't want to end up No 75!”
*Zaahier Adams is attending Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup Amateur Series Grand Finals courtesy of Turkish Airlines.