Meet Marco Penge – DP World Tour Player

Meet Marco Penge - DP World Tour Player

Originally from Horsham, Marco shares his experiences, insights and advice on playing golf at the very highest level!

Having topped the Challenge Tour rankings in 2023, Marco has firmly established himself as an exciting talent on the world stage of golf. Averaging over 330 yards off the tee, Marco has chalked up 3 top 20’s in his maiden season on the DP World Tour with much more to come. Here Marco shares his golfing journey to date, along with tips and advice we can all adopt into our games.

Q: What’s the main difference you’ve seen between the Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour?

A: The standard on both tours is incredible and really very similar with great talents…but there is certainly a greater strength in depth on the DP for sure – there’s also a lot more players in the gym which is very noticeable too!!

Q: As we speak your current average driving distance is 331.85 yards against a tour average of 305.73 yards…that’s pretty impressive and is an obvious strength in your game.

A: Absolutely – my length off the tee is a huge advantage and to be fair I’m pretty accurate with it too – I’m not sure that it’s always reflected in the driving accuracy as I’m normally hitting into narrow pinch points and over corners that are out of range for many other players. I’ve been working hard in the gym for a long time now which of course helps with speed and strength.

Q: If length is your superpower, what is the relative weakness in your game?

A: I’d probably say my approach play is not good enough. It’s really down to some technical work I need to do. If I lack of clarity in terms of what I am doing it or what I should feel, it ultimately undermines my belief and becomes a grind. There’s no quick fix to it but I am working hard with my coach on improving this and in turn my proximity to the hole.

Q: You’ve said before that it can take 3 or 4  holes to settle into a round – what do you mean by this? This is something I think most golfers can relate to.

A: Being my first year on DP there have definitely been more emotions as it’s all new and a learning curve. You can easily slip into the mindset of avoidance (of mistakes) – just trying to make a few pars to ease into the round but it’s not a great mentality to have out here. The standard is so high on tour, you really need to fly out the blocks with the aim of shooting as low as you can from the off. I’m an instinctive player too and so feeling good on the range really helps the start of the round as I know I can trust my feels.

Q: On your way to winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final last year, you hit your 2nd shot out of bounds on the 1st hole in the final round – what went through your mind at the moment?

A: It’s a par-5 and I took the shot on which for starters was the right choice – I would rather have taken it on and hit the shot I did, rather than avoid it. I deal with these moments pretty well and try to stay level in my emotions. Looking back I probably just said to myself ‘that was crap!’ and moved on. I’ve had so many experiences in the past where I’ve stayed patient, playing great and not making putts, but hung in there only to be rewarded at the end of the round. I’ve really learned from these moments, and they have helped me keep faith and believe.

If you look at my whole year last year it was a similar story, I think I finished 4th in the Czech Open (Challenge Tour) and then followed that with 7 missed cuts in a row and was well down the rankings. With a team around me, I could sense there was some anxiety about the how the year would end but I knew all along it would be fine and that I would have better weeks at some point – fortunately I finished the year strongly, won a couple of times and topped the rankings! It was unbelievable but it’s my mentality to be positive. You’ve got to be patient and stay level in your emotions – ultimately, I believe in myself and back myself.

Q: So, you manage to temper your frustrations on the whole then?

A: Most of the time! In those tough moments I remind myself that I am literally living my dreams and I am really grateful to be doing that

Q: Can you win on the DP World Tour?

A: For sure! Certain courses will play into my hands with my length off the tee and I can definitely win around them. For example, I played India this year and only hit one driver a round so I was playing from the same places as the rest of the field. A good week for me on a course like that might be a top 25. But then where the South African Open was, I feel like it’s a course where I should never finish out the top 15 – I finished 12th. With the course over 7,800 yards long, my length gives me that advantage over the field.  It’s just a case of playing well those weeks and getting in contention.

I know that there will always be 3 or 4 weeks a year where I will be contention – that’s just the type of player I am. My ability, when it’s good, is awesome and I know it will show up at some point in the season. Couple this with getting my approach play where I want it to be consistently and I know I can be there or thereabouts like last week (Tied 17th China Open with a final bogey free round of 66).

Q: What stats do you collect?

A: Proximity to hole is a big one for me  – how many times inside 15ft and how destructive my bad one is. My last round in China was about the easiest 6 under I‘ve ever had because I hit it to 15 feet almost every hole.

Q: Favourite Course?

A: Leopards Creek in SA

Q: Favourite event you’ve played so far on tour?

A: Dubai Desert Classic

Q: Best mates on tour?

A: Andy Sullivan, Matt Baldwin and Paul Waring – I practice and play most of my practice rounds with these guys. They have really taken me under their wing and are a great support to me especially in my first year on tour.

Q: Golf Idol?

A: Got to be Tiger growing up but these days I love Koepka for his mentality and demeanour.

Q: Who have you played with this year that has really impressed you?

A: Louis De Jager of South Africa stood out to me – great talent.

Q: Favourite club in the bag?

A: Driver – all day!

Q: And finally, what advice can you share with our golfers?

A: Enjoy your golf, stay patient and have fun – simple as that! Ultimately golf is just a small piece of your life. We all need to remember to enjoy our golf, whatever level you play at. My wife actually messaged me before my last round in China and said ‘Go have fun – remember you’re living your dreams!’ It’s such an important message, this world might last a year or 10 years for me – who knows. But to remember the journey I’ve had to get here and to really enjoy it is absolutely key.

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