For the last three years, Daniel Nduva has been domiciled in South Africa, sharpening his game against Africa’s top amateurs with an eye on ultimately breaking into the European Tour. Going by the progress he’s made so far, the 25-year old lad from Mombasa will soon be making headlines in the golf circles.
Having become the country’s top amateur player at a tender age, many had expected Nduva to be causing ripples in the paid ranks by now. In fact at the peak of his game, he was ranked number 250 by the official World Amateur Golf Ranking body. A cocky Nduva spoke to T-OFF News on his triumphs and tribulations and his pathway to glory.
What is your mission in South Africa?
I came to South Africa to improve my game to a level where I can compete with the world’s best. I plan on staying here until I am able to get my full playing rights on the European tour or PGA Tour. I have played on the amateur circuit here for the past three years having been based at Balderstone Sports Institute golf academy. I try and play as many tournaments as I can.
How is the progress so far?
I’d say it is going well. Last year I won Balderstone Order of Merit champion, Player of the Year and lowest stroke average of the year with 71.7. My game has gotten better over time and I have even come close to winning a few amateur tournaments. It’s just a matter of time before my name goes up on a trophy.
How different do you find golf training in South Africa compared to Kenya?
In Kenya, I never really had a coach. My mum taught me this game from a young age and I have been able to work myself up the level where I am right now. Golf is not only about hitting the ball long and straight. There are other things that go into the game. For example, your mind needs to be strong. How you handle yourself around the golf course and decision making has to be excellent for you to score well. When I arrived here, it was the first time I ever worked with a mental coach. He showed me a few things that I never really used to bother myself with around the course. The more I got to work with him, the better my game became. Fitness is also very important.
Why is it that Kenyan golfers hardly enjoy success in South Africa?
The level of golf here is very high, and there are a lot of good golfers. At the amateur level at least 75% of the top guys are handicap zero and below. You have to be playing great golf to win out here.
Dan, your career seems to have stagnated. You became one of the best amateur players in Kenya more than three years ago but you are still in the same circles. Your comment?
It’s all a journey. The three years I have been here have taught me a lot about this game. My game has changed for the better and good things are yet to come. Trust the process.
What is your long term plan as a golfer?
I started playing golf at the age of 5 years and my passion for the game has grown immensely with time. It was my late mother who introduced me to the sport. She played in the Ladies national team and would always take me along for practice. Her passing on made me make a resolve to become the best. It was not easy without her. Not only did I lack my mentor and a dear friend but I had to figure out how to pursue my passion amid serious financial challenges. My determination, however, could not be snuffed by the issues that I faced, and through great push I have become one of the best amateur golfers Kenya has produced, having won various Championships. I am not yet done with aiming for greatness; I keep pushing until the day I will rank among the best golf players in the world one day. I am aiming to become the first Kenyan to play full time on the PGA tour. But before achieving that long-term goal I will keep pushing my game so that I may become the first local to win Kenya Open plus play in the Olympics. Outside the course I will take it upon myself to mentor young golfers and become Kenya’s brand ambassador.
2019 Uganda open Champion
2018 Kenya Amateur match play Champion
2018 Congo Open Champion
2017 Kenya Amateur stroke play Champion
Top 500 Official amateur ranking. Best Rank of 275.
Kenya Team Captain