Rising Star | Superhero Zinan

By Simone Anderson and Lali Stander Photos: GOLFRSA & Lesego Maimane

11-year-old Zinan Maimane became the youngest golfer yet to join the GolfRSA National Squad. In a career spanning six years, this grade six, Tyger Valley College learner has bagged more than 50 trophies, including back-to-back wins in the victorious Gauteng North teams that won the 2018 and 2019 Nomads U-13 Championships.

We caught up with Zinan to learn more about this young gun with the shy smile and deadly drive. When Zinan was four years old, he used to love going with his dad and older brother to the driving range and follow them around on the course, when they played a round. He showed a keen interest in the game and when he turned six, his dad decided to buy him his first set of clubs and enrol him for golf lessons with Daniel Mosebi. At this stage Zinan’s parents main focus was on his older brothers game, who was 10 years old at the time. But as it turned out he did not enjoy the game and ended up throwing in the towel two years down the line, while Zinan continued to shine and fall more and more in love with the game. Within three months of starting competitive golf, Zinan made the top two at the US Kids Golf World Championships qualifiers. By the age of wight, he had achieved Provincial colours, was nominated into the U13 Gauteng North Union team and he has represented his province with distinction ever since. For the first two years of his career, Zinan was coached exclusively by his dad and Daniel Mosebi. His parents then decided that it was time to get him more professional coaching and he was introduced to TuksGolf. He was identified by Tuks Academy, at the age of eight, while representing his province during the U13 Nomads held at the Port Elizabeth Golf Club in 2017. He then joined TuksGolf under Coach Bradley Nienaber, who has subsequently emigrated to Australia, but left Zinan in the good hands of Senior Elite Coach – Emile Steinmann and Head Coach – Llewellyn Van Leeuwen.  Although golf is his absolute number one passion, Zinan also loves to play soccer, hockey, cricket and athletics. He specifically enjoys high jump, sprints and middle distance. And like most boys his age, he is also a PlayStation freak.

CHIP SHOTS with ZINAN

  • BORN: Bloemfontein
  • BIRTHDAY: 9 November 2008
  • GOLF CLUB & UNION: Silver Lakes Golf Club, Gauteng North Golf Union

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Member of Gauteng North winning team – 2018 Nomads SA U-13 Championship
  • Winner (Under-10) – 2018 Junior Africa Challenge Tournament
  • 4th – US Kids Golf European Championship (Under-10)
  • Member of Gauteng North winning team – 2019 Nomads SA U-13 Championship
  • Winner (Under-11) – 2019 SA Kids Team Challenge
  • 9th – 2019 US Kids World Championship (Under-11)
  • 2019 – SA Kids Golf Best Average Stroke Player of the Year

Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.

When I was four years old I used to go with my dad and older brother to their golf practices and matches at Leopard Park in Mafikeng. I would only watch and play around with my brother’s clubs. When we moved to Pretoria in 2014, my dad decided to buy me my own clubs. Then I started taking golf lessons and fell in love with the game.

Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals? If so, what goals have you set for yourself for next season?

Yes I do set goals for myself. My goal for the next season is to win the Nomads Under-13 Championship, the Sun City Under-13 Challenge, the Gauteng North Golf Union Under-13 Order of Merit and the SA Kids Golf 11-12 Order of Merit.

You are only 11 years old, but you have started to wet your feet on the GolfRSA national junior circuit. How tough is the transition to the national circuit and which events do you intend to compete in 2021?

The transition is tough, but exciting, as I am going to undergo so much change. I am ready for any obstacles and challenges that might come my way. I think it is going to be an exciting year. I am planning to take part in the Nomads Under-13 Championship, Sun City Under-13 Challenge and the Junior Africa Challenge. When the Covid-19 regulations ease, I would also love to also 1participate in the US Kids European and World Championships.

You were a member twice of the victorious Gauteng North teams that won the Nomads SA Under-13 Championships. Both times – at Koro Creek in 2018 and last year at Devonvale – you made vital contributions to the team score. Tell us about the experience.

I enjoy team events very much. They are really nice. If you play badly or if you feel disappointed in your performance on a specific day, your team-mates will always motivate you to do better. At Koro Creek, one of our team members fell ill and had to pull out of the tournament. The pressure was hectic because that meant my scores (good or bad) contributed to the team’s performance. There was no room for mistakes, because I did not want to disappoint my team. I tried hard to stay focused and enjoy the game. I was really proud of myself for the contribution I made in the first two days. Although the last day was disappointing for me, I still made a contribution. I knew my capabilities and I took note of what I need to improve on next time.

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.

My long game is my strength. My coach Llewelyn van Leeuwen has done a great job to ensure that I keep on getting better and better. I still need to improve on my chipping, but since I began working with coach Emile Steinman, I have seen great improvements. We are working really hard to master my craft. I am blessed to be part of the TuksGolf team.

You are the youngest amateur ever selected to be part of the GolfRSA National Squad. How do you feel about making the grade?

I was super happy that I made history. My goal was always to make the National Squad at the age of 15. I am very honoured to have achieved such a major milestone, especially at my age.

How did you keep your game in form during the nationwide lockdown?

I practised in my backyard. I have a hitting net, chipping net and a putting mat. Immediately after my online school classes, I would work on my game.

What’s your favourite club in your bag?

I cannot really decide on a favourite, so I am going to give you my top three. In no particular order, it’s my driver, 8-iron and lob-wedge.

Which are your favourite golf courses and which golf courses would you still love to play?

My favourite golf course to play is Royal Johannesburg. I would love to play Eye of Africa.

Who would you like to play with in your own Fantasy Fourball?

Most definately Louis Oosthuizen, in a heartbeat! Then Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods.

Any hole-in-ones?

Nope, not yet. I have hit the flag and also lipped the hole many times, but I guess luck has not been on my side just yet, but it is getting closer and closer.

What is the best piece of golfing advice you have ever received?

Keeping my head down when putting.

What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?

Before you move to the more advanced stuff, get the basics right.

Tell us five things about yourself that most people don’t know

I am a soccer fanatic. I also love playing PlayStation… my favourite PS games are Fortnite and Fall Guys. My favourite song is Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots. Most people think I am 14 years old – he giggles.

Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?

If I win one of the national amateur tournaments, I would be so proud of myself. And if I won my age group in the US Kids World Championships, it would be my first international win.

If you had to pick one animal to describe yourself, what would it be and why?

A Dolphin. They are kind, sweet, friendly and very intelligent. That is me in short.

Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.

A chicken burger at McDonald’s.

What is your favourite season and why?

I really like spring, because it is neither cold nor hot.

Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?

All screens… The TV, my cellphone and my PlayStation.

Tell us something you dislike doing and why?

A speech, because I am quite shy.

When you were younger, what did you want to become when you grew up?

I honestly never had a plan.

Describe yourself in one word.

Energetic.

What movie can you watch again and again and why?

The Fast and the Furious. I just really like the movie.

Tell us three things you consider yourself to be really good at.

PlayStation games, FiFa to be specific; Sports and Mathematics.

What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?

Water and food for survival and cellphone reception to keep in touch with the real world.

If golf wasn’t an option, what would you pursue and why?

I would become a Civil Engineer and take over my dads company.

If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?

Kevin Hart. He is a talented actor and I really enjoy his movies.

What are your biggest fears?

Tarantula spiders give me the creeps.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

Bill Gates. He looks like an amazing person.

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?

Tiger Woods.

Any superstitions? (not just on the golf course!)

I don’t have any.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Staying in my pyjamas the whole day.

Words to live by….

Be humble.

If we gave you a free plane ticket anywhere, where would you go and why?

France. It looks like a really nice place. I would also like to go to Disneyland Paris. I’m not embarrassed to say that … I can easily spend 30 minutes in the bathroom (LOL).

What is your favourite quote from a movie or a person?

“It is about to go down” – Kevin Hart.

What is still on the bucket list for Zinan Maimane?

Meet Bubba Watson Meet Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson Visit Disneyland Paris Watch Chelsea live at Stamford Bridge Watch El Clásico live

About Simone Anderson

Simone Anderson is the owner and founder of the JUNIOR GOLFER SA magazine as well as Simone Anderson Design and Layout Solutions.