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6th December 2023

The SAGDB continues shaping South Africa’s future through golf

The South African Golf Development Board’s (SAGDB) Riverside Farm golfers showcased their incredible potential during this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship as they took part in the annual golf clinic on the magnificent grounds of the National Junior Development Centre at Leopard Creek.

The young golfers also took the opportunity to learn from Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour professionals Jacques Blaauw, Yurav Premlall, Nikhil Rama, Jovan Rebula, Keagan Thomas and Alex Levy, and the professionals were equally impressed with the talent on display

“These young kids have so much talent and it’s amazing to see it and be a part of something like this. We can see South Africa has so many good players. It’s nice to pass down experience to these young kids,” said Levy.

For Edwin Compton, the SAGDB’s Development Manager for Mpumalanga, the clinic was a perfect opportunity to showcase the decades long sustainability of the SAGDB programme and its ongoing impact on the lives of these young golfers.

“We started with 12 children on the Riverside Farm next door. Now, over a decade later, between the Riverside programme and the Komatipoort programme we have over one hundred children.”

The SAGDB is the official golf development body for South Africa, and this year it celebrates 24 years of using the game of golf to change the lives of underprivileged South Africans. The SAGDB is operational in all 14 golf unions across South Africa and enjoys the support and endorsement of the South African Department of Sports and Recreation, The R&A, GolfRSA, the Sunshine Tour, the Professional Golfers Association of South Africa, Remgro, and other official South African golf bodies and several long-term sponsors.

It is also a proud beneficiary of The Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation.

“The success of the programme is that our children and our coaches are fully committed. The children start in the programme when they are young and they are committed to staying with it and are dedicated to improving themselves and their talent. We are also incredibly privileged to have full access to the National Junior Development Centre which is arguably the best practice facility in the world,” said Compton.

The focus of the SAGDB is not just on creating great golfers. It is a holistic programme that places equal emphasis on academics and uses the discipline and values of golf to empower the youth and help them to develop into positive role models in their communities.

But there are obvious golf successes to come out of it.

“The SA Junior IPT is coming up in the next few weeks and in the eight-player team for the boys we have two players ranked in that team at number two and four on merit. Lucia Mhlabane is also the number two ranked junior woman’s golfer in the province,” said Compton.

The young golfers are equally passionate about the opportunities the game has given them.

“If it’s a dream, then I don’t want to wake up,” said Sakhile Makhatshwa. “I am enjoying life and who I am becoming. It has impacted me in my community and my school and I am very thankful to the programme for dedicating itself to us.”

“My dream is to become a pro and to change my circumstances for me and my family,” added Paulette Sibiya.

“Golf teaches us how to be patient, and that helps me in my life as well. The programme has made a big difference in my life.”