Team Burmester – and they are very much a team – put their heads together to keep their BMW South African Open title hopes alive at Glendower Golf Club on Friday. Twenty-six-year-old Dean hit the shots on his way to a 70 and a 36-hole total of four-under-par 140.
His dad Mark, who played Test cricket for Zimbabwe in his time, carried his bag, and his mother Michelle was giving plenty of encouragement from behind the ropes.
“We’re very much a golfing family. My folks played golf, so did Mark’s, and the four of us are all mad about the game,” says Michelle, who represented the Zimbabwe women’s team during an extended 15-year spell from age 16 to 31.
During this time she won the individual title at the All Africa Championships in Nigeria in 1996. She still holds the women’s course record at Royal Harare with a 70, while – coincidentally – Burmester has the men’s course record – a sizzling 63.
“Mark’s also a good golfer, but at one stage, even though he was a one handicap at the time, he had the worst handicap of the four of us. Our younger son Andrew, who lives in Dubai was like a plus one or two, like the rest of us. So yes, golf is definitely a big deal in our family.”
But it has been the big-hitting Dean who has been making noises on the Sunshine Tour.
In 2015, the Investec-backed golfer won four times – the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, the Lombard Insurance Classic, the Sun Windmill Classic, and the Vodacom Origins at Koro Creek.
In those last three wins – all 54-hole events – he was a cumulative 60-under par.
That is some golf, and it’s not surprising he earned over R2,5-million last year, and tops the 2015/16 Chase to the Investec Cup.
Now he is among those golfers through 36 holes still in contention for the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.
Mothers know a thing or two about their sons and Michelle feels there are several reasons for Dean’s success.
“You know, we’re all from Zimbabwe and we used to live in a tiny little village called Claremont near Juliasdale in the Inyanga district,” she said.
“There were no malls, no movies, just a shop and a garage. But there was a nine-hole course and that’s where Dean started to play golf. There wasn’t much else to do and he soon fell in love with the game. Although we sent him off to boarding school at Grey College in Bloemfontein where he played hockey, rugby and cricket, he had already decided by age 14 that it was golf that he wanted to concentrate on.
“He played for the Free State age group teams from under-16 through to under-23. Dean’s incredibly disciplined, loves a challenge and sets his goals high.
“It’s these qualities which have helped him do so well. Also, his coach – Corne Viljoen – works with him quite a bit. Corne has made sure his swing is not too mechanical or manufactured. As a golfer myself, I know that’s a plus.”
Michelle, too, let it be said, has played a not too insignificant role in her son’s development as a golfer. Having benefited from the Zimbabwe junior programme herself as a young girl, she has always been passionate about junior golf and became involved on the administrative side as an adult. She helped Dean and Andrew and many others along the way.
So the Burmesters are all in this together. Make no mistake, if Dean were to lift up the trophy on Sunday evening, this modest, humble and friendly young professional would be the first to admit that, yes, it was a team effort.