He’s 6-foot-8. He’s playing the Masters. Is Christo Lamprecht golf’s next big thing?

Christo Lamprecht of South Africa plays his second shot out of a bunker on the third hole on Day Two of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club on December 08, 2023 in Malelane, South Africa.

Christo Lamprecht of plays his second shot out of a bunker at the 2023 Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Getty Images

At 6′ 8″, the South African amateur is likely the tallest golfer in Masters history. More relevant: He’s the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world. Here’s hoping his debut is a [groans] slam dunk.


The scene: Zooming from the team room at Georgia Tech, where the 23-year-old is a college senior.

Dylan Dethier: Growing up in South Africa, who were your golfing heroes?

Christo Lamprecht: Ernie Els. I’ve gotten to know him personally a little, and I’ve looked up to him a lot. Gary Player is obviously our golf legend, our godfather, like Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer in America. And Louis [Oosthuizen] has always been a great mentor to me too. So those are probably my top three South African golfers.

DD: How about golf swing inspiration? Is there anybody you tried to copy?

CL: The funny thing is, I have such a unique golf swing that you know I’m not copying someone else’s. But there’s so many good swings out there. Rory’s golf swing is so powerful, and I really like the way he uses the ground. And then, obviously, it’s easy to take this as a blue-print, but Tiger. His move at the golf ball was so athletic, and I don’t think anyone’s ever done that as well since.

DD: What Tiger era are you looking at? Were you even born?

CL: It’s definitely early 2000s Tiger. Probably the best thing I’ve ever seen.

DD: There aren’t a lot of six-foot-eight golfers out there. Have you gotten useful advice from other tall players?

CL: There’s not many. I’ve talked to Stewart Cink — he’s probably six-four or six-five — about lengths and being tall and playing golf. But it’s really been a one-man learning curve.

DD: The Georgia Tech hoops coach hasn’t come calling?

CL: I just really suck at dribbling.

DD: Did you play other sports as a kid?

CL: It was a joke growing up that I was the family dog. If a ball landed somewhere, I was there. So I played five sports. Rugby, which is obviously a big sport in South Africa. Cricket. Tennis. And a bit of hockey, which is really like your field hockey. And golf.

Lamprecht towered over his playing partner Cam Smith at Hoylake, but Smith came out on top. Getty Images

DD: At some point you had to choose.

CL: I loved all of them, but I realized golf was more what I wanted to do, so I put all my eggs in one basket.

DD: Do you think that variety of sport has made you a better golfer?

CL: This might be controversial, but I’ve always believed you can see the difference. Golfers who have natural abilities, good balance, great at every aspect of the game — most of the time those guys played multiple sports. Ernie, I think, played national tennis. And Rory, I know he played pretty much everything too. There’s so much stuff you learn that you wouldn’t be taught otherwise. Take baseball — you learn how to rotate in a way that helps you hit a golf ball. I think it helped tremendously.

DD: From the outside, a lot of people would look at your life with envy. Playing D1 golf. One of the top-ranked amateurs in the world. Staring down a Masters invite. Is it as good as it seems?

CL: Behind the scenes there is a lot of hard work. The more professional you get in a sport, the more there is that people don’t see. And there’s no doubt there’s some mornings that you wake up and you don’t want to go to the gym or you don’t want to go practice, whatever. But yeah, I do feel like I’m living the dream. The work is part of the commitment, and I’ve loved every second of playing here at Tech. I wouldn’t be at this point if it weren’t for the university and the structure, and I don’t think there’s any better place for golfers to improve.

DD: You held the Day 1 lead at the 2023 Open Championship at Hoylake. How surreal was that?

CL: It was a crazy week. I mean, I felt every emotion I possibly could. That ecstatic moment on Thursday — I was leading the Open! And come Friday it was like, I might miss the cut! It was an experience of a lifetime, for sure. But it was nice to know that if I play golf the way I can, I can beat everyone in the world for a day. That gives me a lot of motivation to keep going at it.

DD: Okay, one roller-coaster major under your belt. Now you’ve got the Masters coming up. What do you expect?

CL: I was talking to one of our team donors recently and he told me, “Well, there’s three majors and one real major.” Augusta is going to be great. It’s going to be hard not to think about the moment and what the week entails, but my mentality last summer was nothing to lose. Play my game, have fun. It’s still a golf course, I’m still playing my ball. I’ll learn as much as I can.

DD: As a Georgia Tech golfer, have you played Augusta before?

CL: Yeah, we’re fortunate to get out there about once a year. But, obviously, it’s going to be a little different this time.

It was a crazy week. On Thursday — I was leading the Open! Come Friday it was like, I might miss the cut!”

DD: Is there a specific shot you’re looking forward to hitting?

CL: I’d probably say that tee shot on 12. There’s so much history to that hole, with guys winning or losing a tournament there. So I’d love to play it on Sunday with that right flag and have that feeling. I’ve already thought about it so many times: Where exactly am I going to aim? Do I take that Tiger line, aim [left] over by the bunker and make par? I’m looking forward to that shot.

DD: Everyone knows how good you are, but I wonder if people underestimate how good other college players are. Give me a sense of it. How often do your teammates beat you in practice?

CL: Oh, man. We just had our first qualifying after the [Christmas] break and I finished fifth. So, yeah, I got beat by basically half the team. A lot of people think there’s a ginormous gap between college golf and professional golf. But, I mean, Nick Dunlap won a PGA Tour event a couple weeks ago. I just think the top 20, 30 guys in college golf are good enough to play anywhere in the world on any tour.

DD: What’s one thing away from the golf course that brings you joy?

CL: It’s a mixture of family and friends and being in nature. I guess I’m describing home to me. I tend to burn out fast emotionally and physically, so I take full advantage of time away. I was just home for a month and I touched my clubs three times. So I find a balance. It’s the people that are important. It’s hard not to want to be happy and enjoy life with good people around you.  

Exit mobile version