Golf clinics change youngsters’ lives

Wafeeq was too young to remember when his parents’ shack burnt down. He was so young that he thought the people who subsequently took him in were his parents.

Recently, he found out they are not.

And that is when the real work of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) begins.

Wafeeq was one of a group of children from the Southern Cape Chapter of the SAGDB who attended a golf clinic at the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at the Simola Golf and Country Estate yesterday.

This was the final such golf clinic on this year’s Vodacom Origins of Golf series.

The six-tournament series wraps up the year with its last tournament at Simola this week, which tees off tomorrow.

The series is in its 14th season on the Sunshine Tour, and is one of the biggest supporters of the work of the SAGDB through the clinics at its various tournaments around the country.

The value of these clinics has been shown in the countless examples of young golfers from impoverished communities who benefit from the instruction they receive from the professionals.

Sunshine Tour professional Jacquin Hess was one such golfer who came through the ranks and was exposed to professional golf through such a clinic.

This year he won the Sunshine Big Easy Tour Order of Merit.

And for the SAGDB’s head coach of the Southern Cape, Joseph Booysen, these clinics are an important part of what he is trying to achieve with the young golfers.

“Most of these kids have very sad backgrounds.

“Look at Wafeeq. He was a 13 handicap and playing great golf. Then recently he just started to play poorly.

“I asked him what was wrong and he told me his story of realising these people are not his real parents.

“Yet, despite this, he has still managed to make various Southern Cape teams.

“He is exactly the example of what I love about the SAGDB.

“By bringing them out of their situations, to beautiful courses such as this at Simola, we show them the other side of life. And we show them what’s possible through golf.”

Meanwhile, this week’s national final at Simola offers major incentives for both professionals and amateurs.

The winning amateur from the 36-hole pro-am played yesterday and today will join Louis Oosthuizen and a host of other stars from the European Tour and Asian Tour in the official pro-am of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at The Heritage Golf Club at the end of this month.

And the professionals, who compete in their own 54-hole competition from tomorrow, have their own incentives as they build towards the main summer section of the Sunshine Tour.

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