In the true spirit of giving back, the Department of Sport and Recreation in Ekurhuleni hosted a golf development clinic as part of a legacy project linked to the South African Open Championship at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate on Saturday.
Thirty children from Daveyton and Thembisa in Ekurhuleni and a further 60 children from various development structures around the Gauteng province attended the clinic, where several coaches shared their knowledge, skills and love of the game with the group of aspirant golfers.
The coaches talked to the learners, who ranged in ages from six to 18, about the swing and basics of the game where after the youngsters received one-one-one instruction.
Director of Sport and Recreation in Ekurhuleni, Atwell Sijadu, said that the coaching clinic is aimed at cultivating the children’s love for the game and motivate them to continue in the sport to one day play in the SA Open themselves.
“The clinic is only the beginning, but in five years time, I want to read a newspaper article about a Ntombi or a Jabu from Thembisa that we helped to develop from scratch,” Sijadu said.
The €1-million South African Open Championship, which teed off on Thursday with 2011 champion Hennie Otto in title defence, finishes today.
Third round leader Henrik Stenson from Sweden leads the field at 16-under-par and is under pursuit from South Africa’s George Coetzee and fellow Swede Magnus A Carlsson at 13 under. The field also includes top South African golfers Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, Thomas Aiken and Germany’s Martin Kaymer.
Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate will host the South African Open Championship in 2011 and 2012. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Serengeti is the first 27-hole golf course in Gauteng and was recently named “Best New Golf Course” by Golf Digest.
The 18-hole course called Masai Mara, which means “wide open plains” in the language of the Masai, has a rugged grassland and dune-scape look. One of the unique features on the course is the par-five eighth hole with its island green. The nine-hole course called Whistling Thorn has a more classic feel.
The courses were constructed in accordance with USGA specifications, with cool season grass that provides green vistas all year round. Designed as a strategic and technical masterpiece that will test today’s best players, the sunken design of the course with its wide corridors is ideal for tournament purposes and provides optimal spectator value on almost every hole.