Central Gauteng young gun Jaden Deltel took up the game at the age of nine, but until the family moved to South Africa in 2017, Jaden had played all his golf on a nine-hole course in Seychelles, which was previously a coconut plantation!
His progress on the GolfRSA national junior circuit has been nothing short of exceptional and Jaden demonstrated his budding talent when he emerged victorious in the 2018 Sun City U-15 Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.
Last year he underlined his maturing potential with fourth place finishes in the Nomads SA Boys U-17 and U-19 Championships and he recently validated his selection to the 2020 GolfRSA National Squad member with a brilliant come-from-behind victory in the Bryanston Country Club Junior Club Championship. It was only his second competitive appearance since golf re-opened in June and followed a third place finish in the Kyalami CGGU Junior.
Let’s meet Jaden.
It started in Seychelles when I was nine 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.
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.
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 realized 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!
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! I also work 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.
I’ve really wanted to be a part of the Golf RSA 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.
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 to my grandparents 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 turned a not-so-great year into an incredible one for me!
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 finished third. I was using a new set of Titleist clubs and I was still adjusting to the new distances. It showed with a bit of a rollercoaster round – I made 6 birdies but also 6 bogeys!
I teed it up on the 10th on day 2 in the Bryanston Junior Champs after a shocking front nine that left me 6 shots back. I had to go big or go home on the back nine. 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. A mental error from the leader on 12 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!
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!
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.
Major, Major, Major and another Major. A Career Grand Slam, Golf Hall of Fame baby, that’s why . . .haha!
My favourite club in the bag is the one I’m holding in my hands when I have to hit a shot.
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 the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan. My Dad. I know I can beat two out of the three…hahahaha.
Scotland. To play all the links courses in those tough, cold, windy conditions.
I’ve had three. One at Wanderers, another at Kyalami and the last one at my home course, Bryanston Country Club. The first one was cool because I actually finished hole-in-one, birdie, par, birdie to win the tournament.