At the tender age of eight, Traigh Pathon is already earning a reputation as a golfing phenomenon, playing in the European Kids Golf Championship in Scotland and tying up the score for first place after day one.
Traigh, born in Athlone and now living in Rondebosch East, hit his first golf ball at the age of 14 months, appeared in his first TV ad at 18 months and played his first official round of golf at the age of four.
The golfing sensation is also the youngest member of the prestigious Royal Cape Golf Club in Wynberg.
Traigh flew to Scotland to compete in the championships, which teed off on Tuesday May 29, courtesy of Turkish Airlines.
His dad, David van Schalkwyk, thanked the airline for recognising Traigh’s potential and making his dreams come true.
“I am so proud of my son and all he has achieved.”
He said Traigh displayed “excellent hand-eye co-ordination” from the time he started walking.
“We got him his first plastic set of golf clubs when he was 14 months old and he joined me on the driving range at 3 years old. So he was always exposed to golf.”
After placing in the top three in his first international tournament last year, he is considered one of the world’s most promising young golfers.
“He hasn’t participated in a tournament without his mother and me at his side. He’s just a child and sometimes all he wants to do is play on his PlayStation,” he said, adding that Traigh was under immense pressure when he competes, but, “he always has time to be a child”.
The young golfer said he played the Rory McIlroy PGA Tour video game to improve his own performance on the field.
One of the greats of the game also gave Traigh a few words of encouragement.
“My advice to him is to make sure that he follows through when he hits the ball and the other thing is when he is putting is to keep his head absolutely still that is important,” said Gary Player