You would think Dyenzen Davidson would have her hands full as the 35-year-old has two children — Aleyssa, 18 and Jerico, 16 — and a full-time job in Dubai. But the passion of golf takes hold at any time.
Dyen, as she is known, has taken a slightly unusual path to golf but she is out to change stereotypes in the sport.
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The Filipina has come to the game later in life, but when Gulf News caught up with her at Emirates Golf Club (EGC) in Dubai, it was clear to see her passion for golf is no less burning than that of a kid after picking up a club for the first time.
Dyen got hooked, pardon the pun, as recently as January when she started working at the revolutionary interactive driving range Topgolf at EGC, and hit that first golf ball.
In a traditional golfing world where rich businessmen are what you may think you normally meet on the course, Dyen is single-handedly disproving assumptions and minds. Under the guidance of colleagues and EGC academy coaches such as Muhammad Ray Casondra, Dyen is in the perfect hands to get her game up to speed as she learns the ropes. With access to the range at Topgolf and EGC, everything she needs is right on her doorstep.
“I just loved the sound and feeling of hitting the ball when I first picked up a club,” Dyen tells Gulf News. “I started work at Topgolf at the start of the year and I had to learn how to hold a club, get the right stance and actually hit the ball to help the first-time customers.
“Nothing was in my mind to get into golf — it was just for the work. But when I hit that ball for the first time I just knew it was for me. It felt amazing, like nothing else I had ever felt.
“I learnt to hit the ball properly — I am still bad,” she jokes, before explaining how she managed to juggle work, home life and the famously tough game to master.
Dyen is fortunate as her bosses and colleagues at EGC and Topgolf have been very accommodating to help her embrace this newfound passion without affecting her workload. “I practise and play on my off days, and the bosses and workmates help my move my rota around so I can get time on the range wherever possible. My more experienced golfing colleagues, and the coaches here, are always happy to help with tips. I am so lucky.”
For Dyen, there is only one way to get into the game properly — coaching lessons must be top of the list for any beginner.
“You cannot just go out and hit a ball and expect to be great. For anyone I recommend lessons with a professional. I am fortunate to have the Peter Cowen Academy coaches here at EGC, plus my guys at Topgolf, and it is the perfect way to start, 100 per cent.
“No one person is the same, and you have to go with the pro approach if you want to get off on the right foot. They will know exactly the right way to go, from stance and strategy, down to the correct equipment as that varies from person to person.”
Dyen is proving that point on her own, and is showing you can get into the game at any age, and the golf club is a much less intimidating place than you might imagine for any newcomer.
“Golf is for everyone,” she explains. “From kids to older people, you can start any time. I was quite nervous on the driving range for my first lesson. I thought the other, more advanced players would judge me. But that ‘exclusivity’ stigma is nonsense. Everyone is there to help and encourage you on the way. They are nothing but helpful. Golf is simply one big community.”
As for the future, time will tell if we have Dubai’s next big thing on our hands (she has good company with top professionals such as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Adri Arnaus and former world No. 1 Henrik Stenson calling the UAE home). For Dyen, just as she approaches the game, it is one step at a time as she takes her game to the next level.
“Whether I am on the range or the course, I visualise every shot as if I am in a real competition — distance, target, direction and hazards,” she explains. “I am actually entering in a competition with EGC, Dubai Creek and Jumeirah Golf Estates soon and I am practising for that. Goodness knows how I will do but the love will always be there now.”
So meet Dyen. Proving that it is never too late to take up golf.