GolfRSA created a support structure a number of years ago for South Africa’s elite amateur golfers and I have the privilege of being part of that structure. I travelled with the GolfRSA squad to the UK in 2018 and 2019 where the squad enjoyed great success; winning the East of Ireland Amateur twice with the highlight being Jovan Rebula winning the British Amateur at Royal Aberdeen.
The years 2020 and 2021 were severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the tours to the UK were put on hold. However, GolfRSA continued supporting South Africa’s talented amateur golfers through other means, establishing camps where the squad is exposed to coaches from various sectors being one of them.
The squad had a camp this past week at the world class Leopard Creek Golf Course where I was blown away by the quality of guest speakers, coaches and professionals assembled to interact with the squad. South Africa’s famous cricket all-rounder Jacques Kallis spoke about how he prepared for performances, speakers from The World of Player Management and equipment suppliers gave invaluable information regarding questions to ask, what a player should avoid and how to build a brand.
Health and Fitness expert Gavin Groves was on hand to provide his usual invaluable advice as was renowned sports psychologist Theo Bezuidenhout. These two enthusiastic and passionate gentlemen have been part of the support staff for a number of years, always providing advice to assist the players progress. I only found out at the camp that Theo had been working with South Africa’s 2021 Gold Medalist, Tatjana Schoenmaker, for the past year and it was wonderful to hear how excited he was with her Olympic title.
Louis Hattingh from SuperSport spoke to the players about TV coverage and what broadcasters are looking for when broadcasting an event and how one can build a brand. Fellow coaches; Wayne Bradley, Graham Whale, Nardus Broodryk whom had been invited as coaches for individual players in the National Squad, assisted me in the golf skills part of the camp where we were very impressed with the skill levels of the players in attendance.
I was reviewing the experience when travelling back to George and was so excited for the players about what they had learned over the four days. There was a lot of golf but I believe the career skills presented will add enormously to their confidence – a far cry from when I was a young professional golfer trying to find my way in a highly competitive environment.
South Africa has 10 golfers in the World top 100 and I believe that level of success will continue with the world class support structure GolfRSA has in place for our very talented and skilled young amateur golfers. Making this squad should be a goal for young golfers who play tournament golf; it gives one a fantastic platform to launch a playing career.
KeNako Academy Head Golf Coach