Young Golfer: Danes Dontoh Jnr
5/15/2012 5:54:22 PM -
Tiger Wood's formula for success, it turns out, is one that any family could follow: discipline, affection and family involvement. Speaking to Danes Donton, ten- year old golf genius whose golf prowess and passion parallels great golfers with proven track records, I get the impression that together with the help of his family especially his dad, a ground-breaking golfing dynasty could just be underway anytime soon in Ghana.
The interview makes exciting reading, with deep appreciation of the game and highly expressive accounts of how the young and unassuming golfer views the game.
Editor's note: Danes originally provided answers, with his mother, Naa Ashiley helping with final editing.
1. Having played golf over the years as a young golfer, what kind of impressions do you have of the game and how has it inspired you to move steadily on your way to the top?
I have been playing the game of golf since the age of 2 and so this has become part of me. I can't think of a day that would go by without me doing something with golf. It could be just cleaning my clubs, my shoes or actually practicing and I continue to love it. It is however a game that needs a lot of concentration as well as confidence and I believe that I am gradually getting more confident in it and this is because I truly see myself growing in the game. I love how my mom (who by the way is a very bad golfer and so stays away from the game) pushes me. I guess because she has seen the passion I have for this game, she also motivates me to go on with it and I am always so proud of myself when she is around and then claps for me and tells me how I hit just like an adult.
2. As an amateur player, and having the rare opportunity to play among older golfers, how are you able to stay in contention and not feeling intimidated on the course.
My Dad has been very instrumental in my game. I am literally following his footsteps. Although he is an adult, he also has a dream of becoming a star in the game of golf and he will always tell me that if he had had someone push him when he was my age, he too would have been a professional by now. So I guess he will one day join the 50 plus professionals. These drive the two of us in our game. Truly, that there are rare opportunities to play among older golfers in my situation that has been different. I have played with many older people already and whenever my Dad is going for tournaments, I am there. If I cannot play, I will caddy for him or sometimes just walk the course with him and as I do that, I am studying the game. I have been privileged though to play with many adults and it gives me a kick when my score is almost the same as some of them.
3. What are your major strengths on the course? Is it your chipping, putting, shots or approach shots, etc?
I think my major strength is chipping. My Dad and I put a net in our back yard where we used to practice our swings but just very quickly thereafter, we put a little putting ground which allows me to also chip and that is where I practice a lot. This has polished my chipping quite a bit and I believe chipping forms a very important part of the game. Wherever you may find yourself (especially in the most terrible positions, if you can chip well, you still have a chance and so that is my priority.
4. Apart from the Achimota Golf Club, which other courses have you played and how does playing any of those courses affect your game?
I have played on almost all the Golf Courses in Ghana. Of course, Achimota is where I play most, but I have played at Tema Golf Club, Celebrity, Bok Nam Kim, Tafo, Kumasi, Takoradi and even the new one a private man was putting up also in the Western Region (can't remember the name), I played there too with my Dad. I even improvised and created a mini golf range on a very dry hard piece of grass in Tamale when I visited there with my parents (when they were working) and still played my game. Playing on some of these courses can be challenging because they are all different and so you need to adjust a bit. However, I like it because I like and enjoy the challenge.
5. What is your current handicap and how do you intend to reduce it, if you earnestly desire?
My handicap for the youth was 24. However, now I am working on getting a handicap that will enable me play with the adults because I strongly believe that will help push me forward faster. Based on what I have been playing, I am thinking this might be between 18 - 20. We will see. The goal is then to build this down as quickly as possible of course.
6. Kindly throw more lights on the new golf union you have formed with your friends, and what does the union seek to achieve among the young golf fraternity?
I enjoy this union because I am getting the exposure gradually. So far, it has been my Dad, me and then of course my family. My brother is also coming up quite strong and I like that too. However, I know I need the exposure to the outside world too if I really want to excel in this game. So this union is very important to me. It will also allow me to compare myself to many other talented people, which is also very important. Once I get on with it, it will open doors for many others like me.
7. Do you have any experience playing on any golf course outside Ghana? Share with us your experience?
Yes, once, I had the opportunity of travelling with my Dad to the US. My Dad used to live in Ca in the US so anytime he goes he makes sure he plays on as many courses as possible. The golf clubs are always with him. Unfortunately, I do not get to travel that much as so many things make that impossible. So when I had this one time to travel with him we enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. Although I was only 4 at the time, I remember playing on very nice golf courses. The greens are so smooth and the putting grounds feel like carpet. It is amazing. The ball just slides with a little touch and I really enjoyed that very much. I enjoyed the serenity of the golf courses there, I enjoyed the other folks too and it was there that I realized that to make it in this game, I would need to give in my fullest.