DJ Szestopalow works his short game at the Vernon Golf & Country Club. The Kalamalka Laker grad recently earned his CPGA pro certification.

DJ Szestopalow works his short game at the Vernon Golf & Country Club. The Kalamalka Laker grad recently earned his CPGA pro certification.

Zesty swings for pro certification

They call him Zesty because it’s much easier and quicker to pronounce than Szestopalow.

They call him Zesty because it’s much easier and quicker to pronounce than Szestopalow.

And while his surname may be a tongue twister, David Jarrett (DJ) brings a smooth and easy golf swing to the table.

The 23-year-old Kalamalka Lakers grad is done college and is a certified CPGA professional. The scratch golfer carded two rounds of 75 at Rivershore in Kamloops at a playability test in August.

“I’d like to become a teaching pro,” said Szestopalow. “Selling stuff (in the pro shop) is not my thing. Hopefully, I can end up at Two Eagles Teaching Academy (West Kelowna) or somewhere like that. My goal in life is to be a teaching pro at Capilano Golf Club in West Vancouver.”

Zesty spent five years in high school golf with teammates like Bryce Dahlen, Riley Spraggs and Nick Gallant before spending five years with the Humber College Hawks in Toronto. His college and pro golf management coach was former PGA touring pro Bob Beauchemin.

“I got to play in a couple of tournaments in New York (Stafford and Rochester) and our team won four of the five Ontario championships; we had a very good team. It was an excellent experience. I met so many good people and I learned a little on how to control my emotions more and be a little more consistent rather than be aggressive.”

He was especially high on teeing it up with teammates at the National Golf Club of Canada in Woodbridge, Ont.

“It’s special. It’s ranked No. 1 in Canada and it was cool because we were the only ones there. I had four or five birdies and shot 82. It was a tough golf course.”

His older brother Mike, who has a PhD in math, was on the University of Waterloo Warriors for two years during David’s time at Humber.

Szestopalow and Vernon Golf & Country Club pro Justin Baillargeon have won the last three Founders Cup best-ball tournaments at The Rise. Zesty, a maintenance worker at Vernon, used to play a lot of golf with Vernon’s Cody Edwards, who competed on a scholarship with the South Wesleyan Warriors in South Carolina.

Baillargeon figures Szestopalow will make a fine teaching pro.

“He definitely has a knack and an eye for the game,” said Baillargeon. “You need to have an eye for the swing and have a really good swing because you see so many different swings.

“He’s a huge sports fan and he always has a smile on his face. He’s always upbeat.”

Zesty started his links career as a junior at Vernon, spending three years there before moving to Predator Ridge from 13 to 18. He claimed three Zone Junior Tour wins at Rivershore, Osoyoos and Spallumcheen.

“My mother (Janie) taught me my golf swing. When I was five or six, she would take me to Predator Ridge and we would play the member holes that were built (holes 3, 4, 13 and 14 on the Ridge course) and that’s where I learned all the basics of the golf swing. Once I became a bit older, then my father (Vic) began developing my golf swing further.”

Szestopalow is long off the tee – he averages 295 yards – and his short game, like most pros, is “either on or off.”

He cheers for Rory McIlroy (“I’m one of those guys.”) and has been a Tiger Woods fan since Woods won the 1997 Masters.