The 56 youngsters from Thembisa, Daveyton and Vosloorus were left excited and inspired after receiving expert instruction from five Sunshine Tour and five European Tour players during a golf development clinic at the Glendower Golf Club on Tuesday.
Recent Sunshine Tour Qualifying School champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout especially relished the chance to give back in his former home union.
“When I was still at Ekurhuleni Golf Union, there were a lot of people along the way that helped me get to this level,” Bezuidenhout said.
“All the other guys coaching at the clinic feel the same and that’s why we enjoyed the eagerness and passion of these kids. Their excitement and enthusiasm was infectious and I think it reminded all of us that we all started out exactly where they are right now.”
Sthembiso Nzimande, a 10-year-old beginner from Duduza Golfers in Vosloorus, was thrilled to have Bezuidenhout help her hone her driving skills.
“I used to watch these guys from our neighbourhood play golf and I got interested,” she said.
“Other kids play soccer and other sports, but I got hooked on golf. We practice hard every day. I really enjoyed the chance to work with the pro because it means I can learn to perfect my skill.”
The young golfers ranged in ages from five to 17 and were split into groups of six for intense one-on-one coaching with Bezuidenhout, Brandon Stone, Tyrone Ferreira, Zander Lombard and Tyrone Mordt, as well as former Ryder Cup and World Cup player Edoardo Molinari from Italy and English quartet Mark Forster, Seve Benson, Renato Paratore and Matthew Southgate.
“We also invited the mentors and coaches to observe,” Bezuidenhout said.
“It is important that they participate so they can feed this information back to their other players. There were kids that were hitting some great shots and I was amazed by their skills.
“I caught myself thinking that any of these kids could be a future champion of South Africa. It would be incredible to see some of them on the Sunshine Tour or Sunshine Ladies Tour in a few years.
“This only took a couple of hours, but it is really important for young golfers to get this exposure. It is what motivates them to stay committed to the sport and to work hard. I also had heroes as a junior and meeting them was something that inspired me immensely. Actually, it still motivates me.”
Following the clinic and lunch at the Public Village, the young golf enthusiasts took to the fairways to follow the pro-am action on the golf course.