At 23, Danny Masrin is already the second best golfer in the country, just behind George Gandranata in the world golf rankings. In short, Danny is the second best professional golf player in the country. His long-term dream is to shoot for the most prestigious position of all— to play golf for Indonesia in the 2020 Olympics. “I want to represent my country,” he says.
Danny’s rise is a remarkable achievement for someone who only started playing professionally less than two years ago. “I want to focus on golf completely for the next seven to eight years,” says Danny in an exclusive interview, done at the Imperial Klub Golf, just after winning the highly competitive Indonesian Golf Tour on September 1.
Danny has chosen to follow his passion for golf, rather than a path of business. It was a conscious choice, as he is the eldest son of tycoon Jimmy Masrin, and could have chosen the family business, following in the footsteps of his father. Jimmy owns and runs PT Caturkarsa Megatunggal, a diversified company that includes chemicals, mining, logistics and fuel distribution.
In his own way, however, Danny is following the family tradition, as his father is also a passionate, if not professional, golfer and golf entrepreneur. His father Jimmy started the Indonesian Masters golf tournament in 2013, and also owns OB Golf & Lifestyle, started in 2003, the first dedicated English-language golf magazine that publishes 30,000 copies a month.
In fact, Danny's first golf memory comes when he was five, and spent hours on the weekend with his father as he played golf. Danny began playing golf in high school but only decided to go pro 1.5 years ago while studying business management at Bradley University in Illinois, after his roommate also decided the same. The college golf was a great platform for Danny as he could start to build experience while playing in the U.S. (Danny’s mother is American). Danny wrapped up his Bradley college golf period with a career-best 74.60-stroke average, his season average ranking as the fifth lowest in history of the school, founded in 1897. The college’s newspaper, The Scout, called him: “One of the most accomplished golfers of recent time.”
Danny won his first professional tournament in June at the fourth round of Indonesian Golf Tour at Palm Hills Golf Club in Bogor, winning it after staying at the top of the leader board for two consecutive days. So far, he has played in five tournaments this year, with a total winnings of Rp 101 million. “Having won twice on the local tour in Indonesia has been a big break for me, because getting that first win can sometimes be difficult, so to be able to get it done twice gives me the confidence that I can win on the bigger tours as well,” Danny says.
Danny will also participate in the Indonesia Master golf tournament held in early October at the Royal Jakarta Golf Club. The tournament welcomes three of the biggest names on the Asian golf circuit: Australia’s Marcus Fraser, India’s Anirban Lahiri and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee. The former long drive champion, Jamie Sadlowski, will also make his debut in Indonesia. The 28-year-old Canadian regularly drives over 400 yards and is a crowd pleaser with his epic shots. All the players will compete for a share of the $750,000 purse over four days of golf.
Although Danny is the first one to take up golf professionally in his family, he names his father as his mentor. "My dad is my biggest inspiration and role model, and he was the one to introduce me the sport,” Danny says. “Golf is a sport which is evergreen and not age bound.” Aside from his father, he also admires British golfer Lee Westwood. Danny brings a business-like discipline to the sport. "I treat golf like a regular job. A job requires six to eight hours of work, so I try and give golf six to eights hours a day of my hard work and passion,” he says, who normally practices six days a week, taking only Sunday off. “I am practicing golf a lot.”
As his father has done, Danny has an interest in the business side of the sport, perhaps transforming his athletic career into entrepreneurship. "If I ever decide to quit the sport, I might look at investing in a golf course. My dad has spoken about this—it would be fun. I could help organize big tournaments of different tours. It will be something with golf. And probably something within Asia,” says Danny. He also started to pick up endorsements, being named brand ambassador along with George for Zurich insurance in Indonesia (Zurich Topas Life is a joint venture with the Mayapada group, owned by Dr. Tahir, the majority owner of the Forbes Indonesia license.)
According to Danny, Indonesia lacks world-class golfers because the country only just recently woken up to its potential, despite having many excellent golf courses. “I think Indonesia is working on building world class golfers,” he says. Danny is setting himself as an excellent role model for others through his own accomplishments.
The article was originally published in our sister's pubication Forbes Life Indonesia's fourth quarter issue.
(Text by Aastha Saboo and Yessar Rosendar for ForbesLife Indonesia. Photo credit: Ahmad Zamroni for ForbesLife Indonesia)