The power of good golf can have for the community was on show again as local children took part in a clinic held ahead of the SDC Championship.
With the support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), the kids visited St Francis Links ahead of the first co-sanctioned DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour event at the seaside venue.
Several professionals competing in this week’s field were on hand to provide their support alongside the expertise of dedicated coaches.
“I do it because I was one of these kids,” said Granwell Gelderbloem, a SAGDB coach.
“I was also a young golfer and my mother wasn’t working so I know the process and the struggles. I was also blessed to have people support me and give me pocket money for tournaments.
“I live in Sanctor in Gqeberha, and the field where I started playing golf is just behind my house.
“There is gangsterism in the areas where these kids grow up, or they just hang around the streets asking for money and eventually get involved in selling drugs for the gangs.
“This game is keeping them off the streets. The photos and videos we are able to show the parents in these communities of the clinics we do at Sunshine Tour events makes them send their kids to us to learn the game.”
Like many of the SAGDB coaches across South Africa, Gelderbloem is immersed in his passion to see the children use golf to impact everything from their social circumstances to their academic performance.
“Sometimes you have to be a parent to them because not all of the kids have parents who are involved,” he added.
“Often when the kids come to a tournament they haven’t had a meal, so we make them food ourselves or we have sponsors who help us.
“My mother and her friends actually help to make food for some of the kids. We have sponsors or parents who help us to pick up the kids from their homes and transport them.
“Often we start at 5am to get the kids together and get them to tournaments or to courses to practice.”
The DP World Tour stages several similar activities with its members on a regular basis across the season, most recently at the Magical Kenya Open Presented by Absa where three junior clinics were held.
In another example of giving back to the local community during last week’s event, Max Kieffer and his caddie Takashi Ohagen bought supplies from a supermarket following an emotional encounter with a young homeless family.