#KeNakoAcademy golf student Mario Da Silva is naturally agile and enjoyed playing most sports, especially soccer, tennis and golf, from a young age. Mario was introduced to the game of golf when he was a teenager.  He would join his father and brother for some quality male bonding time on various golf courses whilst on holiday. This history helped to make his recent achievement even more special – he recently scored 74, his personal best to date, whilst enjoying a social round with his brother at Simola Golf Course and Country Estate in Knysna.

The first tournament he competed in was the Nedbank Amateur Golf Challenge at Sun City two years ago, where he finished T13th in the event. He felt overwhelmed on the first tee and nerves started to set in on the second hole, but after playing the first few holes he started to relax and enjoyed himself.

Mario joined the KeNako School Leaver Programme at the beginning of 2019. His goals for the year have been to improve his game, become a scratch handicap and to build body strength and improve his overall health and fitness. Mario is trying not to put too much pressure on himself. He would enjoy making a living as a golf professional, but has no real commitments at this point in time. He decided to enjoy a gap year to see whether he would like to pursue golf as a professional career and whether he has what it takes, both mentally and physically, to make it in the game. Come the end of the year, he will have a clearer picture of who he is as an individual and what direction to pursue in life.

Mario follows a calm, relaxed and laid back approach when competing in tournaments, trying to stay in the moment and not too think about his score too much. Mario believes his competitive advantage lies in his mental ability – his thought process and competitive strategy makes a difference and counts in his favour.

He would love the opportunity to play Legend Golf & Safari Resort in Limpopo, the longest golf course in South Africa, especially the world famous 19th par 3. His favourite South African course to play is the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City. He enjoys his short game and lining up his putter, which is his favourite club. Mario is inspired by professional golfer Tiger Woods, because of his consistency and spectacular past achievements. He also enjoys watching Ricky Fowler and Henrik Stenson play in tournaments.

Mario’s thoughts on KeNako, “I think it’s well thought out, planned and structured. It covers all the most important aspects of golf; the mental, physical and technical elements of the game. The professionals are inspiring, they share with you the journey they have walked and it is encouraging because it lights a fire within your soul and it makes you believe that anything is possible.”

He enjoys the social atmosphere and within a week of joining the academy everyone in hostel felt like long lost friends. He enjoys coming back after holidays to catch up with students and appreciates the motivating and competitive spirit the students share. He especially enjoys close friend and fellow student, Calvin Maia, challenging him to a round of table tennis, in which he is still the undefeated champion (if all else fails Mario, looks like you might be able to take up table tennis as a career).

You have proven yourself to be a very skilled individual who has the capacity to do great things with your life. Continue to make yourself proud! Wishing you success with the goals, challenges and all of life’s adventure coming your way!