Development gaining support in Gauteng

The SA Golf Development Board is working hard to make a positive difference in Gauteng. The board is currently operating in three regions in the province - Gauteng East, Gauteng Central and Gauteng North.

With support from a number of clubs in the province and the Central Gauteng Golf Union, the SAGDB is currently offering coaching to over 500 children from communities such as Soweto, Alexandra and Soshanguve. The golf board’s initiative aims to build a culture of golf within these areas while also using the sport to teach important life skills such as honesty, self-discipline and respect for others.

Although coaches are experiencing a range of difficulties, such as children coming to practice sessions late because of household chores, a lack of interest from family members and having to transport players to facilities outside of their communities, the SAGDB believes that it is having an impact in creating opportunities for youngsters that they would not otherwise have enjoyed.

The SAGDB is working particularly hard to enter players into SA Junior Golf Foundation events so that they have the chance to compete against juniors from a number of areas. The Foundation is supporting the development programme in this regard, and in Gauteng North is providing 12 places to the SAGDB at every tournament at no cost.

In Gauteng East, Springs Golf Club is leading the way in providing assistance to the SAGDB. The club makes its facilities available free of charge to the development programme and also provides refreshments at discounted prices.

Glendower Golf Club is also putting its weight behind the SAGDB by offering places in its monthly junior tournaments to players from the development board. The club is also one of the drivers behind the Central Gauteng Golf Union’s rand-a-round intitiative which aims to collect R1 from every round played to be set aside for the development of the sport.

With this continued support and the growing interest from other role players, the SAGDB hopes to continue growing the game in the most important golfing hub in the country. The board's Gauteng development manager, Thenjiwe Sithole, believes that the development programme will be in good hands as long as it enjoys assistance from the clubs, unions, and golfing structures.

"If clubs in Gauteng can contribute towards rand-a-round, the golfing needs of junior players can be met," Sithole says. "This may be the legacy of golf in Gauteng, as present golfers have already set an example of supporting junior golf in a small but very effective way."