11 JANUARY 2011: Eighty kids ranging between the ages of 10 to 21 years, who hail from 10 schools in the Alexandra area, were given tips on how to improve their game by Irish professional golfer Darren Clarke and a group of Sunshine Tour and European Tour professionals today ahead of their participation in the Joburg Open.|
The Joburg Open takes place at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club from 13 to 16 January 2011.
The youngsters can be seen practicing their golf at the Alexandra driving range all year round and are under the tutelage of Alex golfing legend, Obed Matlou, a golf legend who has nurtured youngsters to take up golf from this facility for the past five years.
The Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Amos Masondo, who started his passion for golf as a caddie at Glendower Golf Club was also on hand to encourage the children to follow their dreams of becoming golfing professionals and following in the footsteps of some of their hero’s.
“When I was a boy, a friend of mine whose mother was a domestic worker in the suburbs invited me to become part of a team of youngsters who became caddies at Glendower Golf Club,” Clr. Masondo said.
“It was exciting being introduced to the game. That’s why I feel so strongly about making the Joburg Open more than just a tournament, but using it to leverage resources and ensure that the game of golf is further developed and broadened, especially in communities such as Alexandra Township,” concluded Clr. Masondo.
Clarke, who through his Foundation does a phenomenal amount of work for junior golfers in Ireland, expressed his amazement at the children’s potential: “I’m amazed at how much natural talent there is and the love of the game. It is great to see a development programme like this, developing the sport of golf in South Africa. These kids will be the next generation of youngsters on the tour representing South Africa around the world.”
“On behalf of the professionals here today, I know I speak for all when I say that every time we get an opportunity like this to help kids in developing the game, we just love getting involved. We need to find more people willing to promote the game in South Africa and around the world,” said Clarke.
Last year saw three South African amateurs, 20 year old Sipho Sithole, 21 year old Muswalo Nethunzwi and 23 year old Emmanuel Masoliedza, invited to play in the Joburg Open and they are products of a similar school of training in Soweto, under the tutelage of former professional, Zac Mavundla.
The City also continues its investment in the sport by inviting four young amateurs to participate alongside the seasoned professionals in the Joburg Open this year. They are 20 year old Sipho Sithole, who receives his second invitation to the Joburg Open, 23 year old Jonathan Raphunga, 19 year old, Yubin Jung and 19 year old Danie van Tonder.
In addition to the coaching clinic, the City will also be transporting the kids from the Alexandra Driving Range to the tournament where they will be hosted by the City on Saturday and Sunday, allowing them to experience the event along with other spectators and watch their heroes peg it.
The City’s objective is to inspire the children of Alexandra to follow in the footsteps of these and other talented young golfers, to become some of South Africa’s household names in golf. The Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic is a tangible result of the City’s efforts to take the game of golf to the people, affording youngsters an opportunity to not only meet with the celebrated stars of the game but also to learn a thing or two from some of the world’s best.
The professionals that participated in the golf clinic are:
Andrew McLardy - RSA
Nic Henning - RSA
Merrick Bremner - RSA
Vaughan Groenewald - RSA
David Hewan - RSA
Darren Clarke – NORTHERN IRELAND
Scott Drummond - SCOTLAND
Sam Little - ENGLAND
Chris Gane - ENGLAND
Joakim Haeggman - SWEDEN
On behalf of the City of Joburg
Cell 083 440 2031
For further information:
Tel: + 27 11 407-7512
Fax: + 27 11 339-1872
Tell: + 27 82 559-3823
Joburg Open is an important
tournament in the golf
calendar for both local and
It is co-sanctioned by the
Sunshine Tour and PGA
European Tour as an official
Order of Merit event.
The prize money is 1.3
million euros and this will be
shared amongst all the
players who will make the cut.
Thursday & Friday
Morning field: 10:30-12:30
Afternoon field:14:00– 16:00
Saturday & Sunday
12:00 – 16:30