He finished off his first year as a professional in fine form making the top ten Australasian Order of Merit and was looking forward to a big 2020 until COVID-19 arrived. While he is hunkered down in New Zealand before tour events commence we sat down to have a Quick Round with Denzel Ieremia.
How old were you when you started playing golf and who got you started?
When I was really young Mum and Dad had an old Greg Norman documentary and I was glued to it. As soon as I could walk, I started swinging and hitting things around the house. Dad found a club and cut it down when I was about 4, and I got my handicap when I was 7.
Where did you start playing golf?
My first course, where I really started playing was at Queens Park Golf Club in Invercargill. We lived down there for a couple of years and because it was light for so long in summer, Dad and I could get in 18 holes after school. After Queens Park, Hamilton Golf Club has always been my home.
What was your lowest round score and where?
I’ve had 60 a few times, most recently at Coldwater Links in Ames, Iowa.
How many holes in one have you had?
I’ve had one! It was at the 4th Hole at Tauranga Golf Club. It was on the left green; I recall smoking a 4-iron right at it. It was my first match for Waikato and I remember losing that ball a few holes later!
How far do you hit your 7-iron?
I work in yards because of my time at college. So I can hit it 185 yards (169 meters)
What is the strongest aspect of your game?
I’ve got a lot of speed and I’m really accurate with the driver in hand. My wedge game has come a long way and is one of my strengths now too.
What is your biggest frustration (pet peeve) when playing golf?
That has to be slow play. In tournament golf, when people don’t start reading a putt until it is their turn to play, this just slows everything down. When it’s your turn, you should be ready to go relatively quickly.
What do you most love about playing golf?
I really enjoy how many different ways there are to play the game. Whether you bomb it and wedge it or you plod it around and hit it in spots. Anyone can compete if they know their game well enough.
What is your most memorable golf moment or tournament?
I really enjoyed the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House a couple of years ago. We had a really solid team and put our best foot forward. From our team coach, Jay Carter and our Physio/Captain, Bryce Hamer to Dan Hillier and Kerry Mountcastle – we had an awesome time competing against teams from all over the world. Coming down the stretch with a chance to win it was an absolute thrill.
What is your favourite golf course?
I love the Olympic Club in San Francisco; it’s a ‘big boys’ course. The Australian in Sydney has an unbelievable layout. The Harvester in Iowa is pure, I play there when I spend time in Ames, Iowa and they have the purest greens I’ve ever seen.
Who is the most famous person or best golfer you have played with?
I have had the chance to play the first couple rounds at the 2020 NZ Open with Damian McKenzie and that was awesome. As for the best player – I had a pretty cool battle with Jon Rahm in the final round of Arizona State’s event in my first event in college. He ended up beating me on the day but our team won the big prize.
What is the most memorable time or experience you have had on the golf course?
Playing at my home Open, the NZ Open, over the last couple of years has been unbelievable. It’s really special paying your home open and I can’t wait to win that event. Last year, at the 2019 Australian Open, it was really cool having a chance going into the weekend and playing with some big names which was a lot of fun.
If you could pick any three people, alive or dead, to play with in a four-ball, who would they be – any particular reason for your choices?
I would choose Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and The Rock. Tiger – He’s simply the best and has always been my inspiration. MJ – He’s the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) and as for The Rock – He’s been successful in a number of different areas, so that’s pretty inspiring.
Who would you get the most satisfaction out of beating on the golf course and why?
Without question, it would have to be my roommate, Nick Voke. We practice together and we push each other in everything. I love beating him and hate losing to him. Dan Hillier comes in at a close second.
What did you most enjoy about your time living, studying and playing golf on scholarship in the USA?
Firstly, it was great to further my education and study Finance. Graduating with my family there was also very special. I think learning to be independent and how to look after myself is something that people don’t really talk about when they go to college in a different country. I was fortunate to have played so many good courses and against a lot of great payers. The whole experience helped me become a better person and a better player.
What would your “Champions Dinner” menu look like?
My three favourite takeout places are Burgerfuel, Chick-fil-A, and Chipotle, so I’ve got to go with those.
What is your favourite golf movie?
Okay, I rate Happy Gilmore; you just can’t beat it!
What is your favourite thing to do away from the golf course?
I love the NBA; I love watching it and following the league. We used to shoot a lot of hoops at college to relax. When I’m on the road, I bring my Xbox with me and whenever we get some chill time, I’ll be on that.