Matty Du Plessis, aka (by his handle) MD_18undapar, is THE refreshing voice in golf. Sure, he’s 12 years old, but then again, HE’S 12 YEARS OLD! He’s precocious, entertaining, savvy and a whole lot more. He has interviewed top PGA Tour golfers, challenged Dustin Johnson to a retweets-for-driving-lesson competition, and come under the arm of Under Armor’s youth ambassador program. With all that going on, how does he manage life and growing up? Find out below, in his nine-question interview with BuffaloGolfer.Com.
Question 1-Who the heck are you? Where did you come from?
My name is Matty du Plessis, 12 years old, born in Cape Town South Africa and from Vermont.
Question 2-You’re in Vermont and you’re a golfer. I spent time in Middlebury and golfed there, and I know that Bombtech golf is based in the Green Mountain state. How do you make the most of your golfing time in the land of Bernie Sanders?
Yeah, Vermont is such an epic place. It isn’t the first place you think of when you think of golf but the courses out here really force you to be very creative. Very few flat lies.
With a shorter season, I try and get in as many holes when the Quechee Club is open, rain or shine. Hanging out with my coach Mr Andy Prosowski twice a week working on Tech Tuesday and Playing Lesson Thursday. The only days I am not at the club is because of thunderstorms. Other than that, at the gym, or at golf and ski in West Lebanon hitting on the simulator.
In the off season, I have begun practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Mr Nicolas Bramlage and Capoeira with Ms Heather Pogue. I am home schooled so Bookwork everyday, no breaks so if there is an opportunity to do something fun or go somewhere fun, it’s possible.
Question 3-You have a profound grasp of the flux that is social media in golf. You own Twitter and do great work with video. How did you get into technology and what were your a-ha moments along the way?
I started with getting my dad to get an Instagram acc (@md_18undapar) a couple years a go. It was like a combo of Twitter and Facebook. It was a way to share with my grandma in Cape Town what I was doing everyday. It seemed to work and more people became interested in my journey. I found Facebook(@md_18undapar) a bit weird but stayed connected with family. Now with their upgrade focus on video I think I will be posting more. I do post my videos on YouTube (@md_18undapar). Especially with a chance to share content you are creating. The idea of making something or taking an idea and sharing it in a visual form excites me. The content I create to be fair is from a selfish space, I am doing it for myself to remind me how far I have come. If it helps someone out, then great and if entertains someone or makes them smile, that is bonus.
Twitter(@md_18undapar) at first I was hella uncomfortable, it felt more combative, more serious and more grown up. Then my oldie said, try and share and respond genuinely, respond like a normal person and have fun. This changed the way I use the platform. Hanging out with a group on Tuesdays #GolfChat and meeting interesting people like you. At present I am trying out Beme (@md_18undapar) but it still seems to be glitchy and doesn’t always upload when the moment happens and having fun on Snapchat (@md_18undapar). If I am posting on the others maybe once or twice a day, in snapchat it might be 15-20 posts ???. So yeah I am interested in how these platforms work but more how they can be used to express yourself and connecting with people on a similar Flo.
I am sure that I have had a couple aha moments but something that I don’t understand is how it appears that some people who use SocMed feel like that is their identity. Almost like what you shoot on the course defines who you are. Let me explain, like someone with 100k followers will respond to someone with equal amounts or someone famous but if a 1k person reaches out, then crickets. It is my hope not to worry about that but more on how do you engage someone to actually do something.
Question 4-You have a pretty fair game, although you’ve indicated that you don’t play tournaments, given all the other elements of your involvement with golf. Did you work with a teaching pro to develop your swing?
Yes I work with Mr Andy Prosowski twice a week and I think this is our 3rd season. Tournaments look like fun and I am sure I will get to do that in the future. This season I have set myself a challenge. I am going to take the martial arts belt promotion system and apply it to golf.
Let me explain. If you shoot 3 out of 5 rounds in the 100s you would be considered a White Belt. 90s Blue. 80s Purple. 70s Brown. 60s Black. 50s Red. And Red is where I want to be. Have the skill set to birdie every hole in 1 round.
So there is always a feeling of accomplishment and promotion and the grind becomes more fun.
So at the start of the season start at the front tee and the only way to go back a tee is shoot 3 out of 5 in the 60s (Black Belt) and then the process starts again. Gain the skills to shoot low and then get promoted back a tee. Cos shooting low scores is fun.
I will see how we end up by the end of October and take the daily vlogs I am posting and who knows make a documentary. BTW, yesterday 67. Boom! First black belt score from the front tee this season so only 2 more before tee promotion.
This journey is going to be a long one and getting the support and help from Bridgestone Golf has really helped. Getting fitted, having the right equipment and playing the right ball definitely makes it feel like playing par 5s down wind. I really am grateful for this opportunity, not only that but the BSG fam believing in me, the person I am going to become and this journey that we are on.
Question 5-Continuing with your game, what are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
Strengths, work ethic, love the grind. Everyday doing something to be better than yesterday. Getting better at being positive and controlling what I can and keep it moving. With all the trolls out there, knowing what your why is super important. Weaknesses, what ever I allow to be weak. Everything needs improvement, and focusing on that has me feeling super confident.
Question 6-You’ve done some pro tour interview work for Golf Digest and you are now a youth ambassador (is that the correct term?) for Under Armor golf. This is some pretty big stuff for anyone, so how do you keep yourself grounded and your life balanced?
Yes 2k15 was pretty epic and 2k16 has been pretty memorable already. Being part of the UANext team is awesome. I am fortunate to be pretty athletic but never really focused on training like an athlete. With meeting the other 6 members of the UANext squad I saw how they trained and have taken something from each of them. So that was huge.
Doing work with GD was awesome. The media tent was pure gold. Got to meet many of the gents who I read and follow. Highlights, Dan Jenkins, Kyle Porter, Geoff Shackleford and Damon Hack. I thought Charlie Rymer would be fun to meet but I guess he wasnt having a great week. Maybe next time Big Timer.
Spending time up close seeing how the pros practice was also an eye opener. The Shortgame area (aka the office) also increased in priority for me. I hope it won’t be the last opportunity but if it is I had the best time.
How I stay balanced? When I got back from Baltimore as a UANext Ambassador, nice hotel, photoshoots, pampered to the tee, signing the wall, sitting where Steph Curry sat, Tom Brady sat, meeting the big boss Mr KP. The next morning I had to help feed the pigs. The pigs don’t care where you have been.
The day I got back from the PGA Championship after meeting Mr Kohler, spoke with Tiger Woods, Rory Mcilroy etc. 1st day I got home, we had to move the cows.
The day after shooting with Jordan Spieth, a living legend, my hero. I was chasing piglets that escaped. My family and our lifestyle by nature is one of simplicity. By nature it is grounded. Greatful for where we are and what we do. The feeling after completing a task like putting up fence or stacking hay, it doesn’t sound super important but there is a feeling in your stomach that you did something good.
Question 7-What’s life like away from golf, with family, friends, school, etc.?
I read a bunch, I spend a bunch of time with my grandparents. My parents have given me a wide lane to try a bunch of things so amped to see what’s good. I am homeschooled and more of my friends are retired than similar in age. I have just started droning and hoping to start racing in a couple years. The friends I do have that are my age aren’t into golf so when we hang out its movies, legos, video games and where we going to meet girls.
Question 8-Stare into the crystal ball and tell us where you see yourself in 1, 2, 5 years?
Golf related. Everyday I peg it up I believe today is the day we shooting that 54. If not at the end of the day, what 1 thing do I need to improve. And then go do that. In a year from now, getting my 1.7 Handi down to a plus 2. Taking my documentary to a couple film festivals. 2 years from now, be in a position to go to tournaments. 5 years from now, qualifying for the South African Open. I had a crazy dream that I played a bunch of National Opens from all over the world, like every country that had one, I had a chance to play, that could be pretty epic.
Question 9-What question haven’t we (and everyone else) failed to ask, that you really want to answer? Ask the question and answer it, please, and thanks for you time today!
What does Barah mean?
A Barah is someone who wants to help have everyone around him be better. More than a bro, more than a bra, more than a brah, that’s where you find a Barah. Someone who has your back and happy for your success. Because your success inspires me to be better. #BeABarah
I think all the questions were awesome. Thanks so much for this opportunity. I really hope this does well.