Handsome Bogey is proud to announce that we have partnered with Michael Bakker as our first athlete ambassador.
Michael is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa and to say that golf is in his blood would be an understatement. His father, Peter Bakker is in his 30th year as a professional golfer and is currently the Program Director and Head Coach at the Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy so he, quite literally, has been around the game his whole life. Michael attended Maragon High School in South Africa for 3 years where he collected a host of honors as a multi-sport athlete including Golfer of the Year as a junior. He relocated to the United States and graduated from West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida. He played golf at WOHS his senior year and was named First-Team All-Central Florida and All-Metro Conference First Team. He was also named to the Presidential Honor Roll during his senior year. After playing golf at Clayton State University for a year Michael joined the Men’s golf team at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He had planned to go pro straight out of college, but his professional start hit its first hurdle in 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak, which limited the number of tournaments he was able to compete in. However, the next hurdle Michael would face could have ended his golf career altogether. In October of 2020 he was back home in South Africa celebrating his 25th birthday, when he suffered a traumatic injury while wakesurfing. Michael’s right foot got stuck in the water while the rope he had been holding to ride the waves got caught around his left arm. The slack in the line became taut as the boat gained ground, and he was lucky not to lose his entire arm. Michael ended up losing his left thumb and dislocating and breaking several of his fingers. He underwent extensive surgery and surgeons took a toe off his left foot and replaced his missing thumb on his left hand so that he would have the best use of his hand including the possibility to play competitive golf in the future.
The next year-and-a-half Michael spent a lot of time mentally preparing for the possibility of never playing golf again. He had to relearn how to do everything; how to pick up a ball, how to put a tee in the ground, how to hit various clubs. Instead of just giving up and accepting that he could not play again, he began playing as much as he could, grinding away and readapting to the game. In March of 2022 Michael was competing again and celebrating the small victories of being able to stick with his peers as he once did prior to the accident.
Currently, Michael is heading back home to South Africa beginning the next chapter in his golf career as he attempts to get through Q School to join the popular Sunshine Tour. He just recently made it through the first stage and is looking forward to stage two coming up.
Handsome Bogey could not be prouder to have Michael as a first athlete ambassador and are excited to see him succeed in 2023. Stay tuned to our social media for updates on our partnership and keep an eye on Michael as he helps us Make Bogey Look Good over in South Africa this Spring.