Jared du Toit knows a lot of people thought he might be playing at a higher level by this point in his career. After all, as an amateur he burst on to the scene when he played in the final group on Sunday at the 2016 RBC Canadian Open.
But the 24-year-old is also a realist. He understands that more often than not, the best careers in golf take time to develop and require lots of lessons along the way.
And so du Toit is learning professional golf on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada, playing week to week across the country. This week, he’s in the field at the Osprey Valley Open in Caledon, Ont., just north of Toronto.
“I was definitely aware that it wasn’t easy and might take some time,” said du Toit, who ended up finishing tied for ninth at that Canadian Open. “I think having some success at the Canadian Open might have given me expectations that I would jump through the ranks a little sooner than what it’s turned out to be, but I’ve known that there are a lot players who take time to develop – even guys I really look up to like Hadwin or DeLaet, Corey Conners, Mac Hughes. All those guys took a little time to get there. It doesn’t seem like there’s ever been a Canadian who has just jumped right out there and made the tour.”
For every Matt Wolff who wins in his fourth start on the PGA Tour, there are hundreds of others who work their way up the ranks and arrive at the top level with a healthy dose of seasoning. Du Toit is taking that path and is learning about the ups and downs of professional golf along the way.
He began this season slowly with a tie for 51st, a missed cut and a tie for 63rd in the three stops in B.C.
“I didn’t get off to the best starts by any means,” admitted the Kimberley, B.C. product. “The B.C. events, I got beat up pretty good and the two qualifiers I went to, the US Open and the Canadian Open, I ended up missing both those by one. That was kind of a tough start to the year.”
He managed a solid finish in Lethbridge, Alta., at the Paradise Canyon Open, posting a tie for 11th but followed that with a missed cut in Windsor, Ont., where the game was good with the exception of a couple of bad swings that led to the weekend off.
Still, he remains positive about his game and is hoping something will show this week at the Osprey Valley Open. He knows that on this circuit, you can’t make many mistakes and expect to score well. The competition is just too good and the scores too low.
“I guess in college and amateur golf, even par was never really that bad of a score, but it seems even par on the Canadian Tour is like four over. At the end of the day, good golf takes care of business. I just haven’t really put four rounds together and had everything going at the same time.”
One thing du Toit does have going is backing and sponsorship. Thanks to deals with MNP and Titleist FootJoy, as well as being part of the Young Pro squad with Golf Canada, he doesn’t have to worry too much about how he’s going to pay for the next entry fee or qualifying school.
That is a massive relief on a circuit where pinching pennies is a necessity.
“A couple of my buddies don’t have that same luxury and talking to them, the stress they have week to week, it makes pro golf tough,” said du Toit. “Every week you’re looking at some pretty big expenses. On the Canadian Tour and the Latinoamerica Tour, there’s really not that much reward if you’re not in the top 10 or top 15. You’re really kind of betting on yourself every week and to have those people betting on you as well, it’s huge and helps me out.”
While du Toit still tries to stay with friends or billets across Canada to save a buck, there are some things he’s willing to spend money on. One of those is a rental car, which gives him the freedom to come and go when he pleases. This, he said, allows him to prepare properly and not worry about finding rides with others.
Looking down the road, du Toit stated that this fall, he might try to qualify for the European Tour, especially after seeing friend Aaron Cockerill do the same. While playing in Canadian cities is nice, he said, seeing his buddy crossing Europe and playing golf looks like quite the adventure.
For now, however, it’s all business as he tries to tighten his game and move up the Order of Merit. He has confidence in his abilities and patience to realize it will take some time to reach his goals. He has no doubts he’ll get another chance to play in a final group on Sunday on the PGA Tour.