When Zimbabwe-born David Stewart first picked up a golf club at age four, he could not have known the journey it would take him on.
In a few years, he went from following his father on the green, whacking balls around and having a bit of fun, to following his dreams of playing on the pro circuit.
“I got serious when I was 10,” he said.
“My dad found a talent in me that I could pursue and he worked hard with me all the time.”
And it was not only his dad that saw his talent — he soon secured a scholarship with the A Game Golf Academy in the Gold Coast and they all moved to Australia.
For the next three and a half years Stewart lived and breathed the sport, playing — and winning — at amateur level competitions.
“I was learning from professionals, it was a good experience,” he said.
“I was practising and playing every day in the Gold Coast.
And eventually, the physical exertion day-in day-out took its toll — thwarting his dreams to play in the big leagues.
“I was getting ready to go over to Asia and play on the tour over there and try to qualify but I had some shoulder injuries so that set me back,” he said.
He then packed up his things and traded the Gold Coast for the Goldfields, to be close to his Kalgoorlie-based parents while he recovered.
Keeping his eyes on the prize, he got a job at the Kalgoorlie Golf Course and once recovered, started a professional traineeship, travelling to Perth every fortnight to compete.
But once again, injury reared its ugly head.
“Unfortunately my body didn’t hold up,” he said.
“I’ve got four protruding discs in my back, so it was difficult to keep playing at that level.
“That’s when I had to decide to give it up as a profession, which was about six years ago.”
A devastating decision, Stewart credits his family and friends for getting him through it. “That took its toll on me — mentally as well,” he said.
The father of four is now taking a more relaxed approach to the sport, getting to the green about once a month and playing in local championships — which he has won a number of — and the WA PGA Championship.
“Just being here in Kalgoorlie, winning some of these events and being competitive is a highlight for me now,” he said.
“The town is great and the community is great.”
“I’d say it’s probably the best-looking golf course I’ve seen in Australia, just with the contrast between the red dirt, green grass and blue sky.”
The pace of his golfing is not the only thing that has changed, he has also enjoyed a career change, working at Online Business E-Systems for the past five years.
“It’s been fantastic, I love the job,” he said.
“I love meeting new people and helping businesses out to achieve more through technology.”
And his passion for the job was recognised at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry Goldfields Business Awards last month, where he was awarded Retail and Customer Service Employee of the Year.
“The world is changing and technology is changing every day,” he said.
“There’s big things to come and I’m very excited for the future.” — The West Australian.