Proud dad nurtures 8-year-old champ's golfing talent
Van Schalkwyk is the father of eight-year-old golfing champion Traigh Pathon.
Traigh is currently at the US Kids World Champion Golf Tournament where he will compete with about 120 kids from 40 countries. US Kids is a non-profit featuring junior golfers, with affiliates all around the world.
In South Africa, SA Kids are their affiliate. For the world championships they bring together all the best golfers from affiliate countries.
“I am not nervous because I have done this a few times. I love golf, it’s fun and I get to meet lots of friends from around the world,” said Traigh.
His father is also his caddie and describes it as “no better way to bond with your son”. While Traigh was given his first plastic golf club at only 18 months old, his father would also regularly take him along to the driving range in a pram and push him around the golf course while he was playing.
"By the time he was two he got his first set of kiddies’ clubs and would take it with two hands and smack the ball.
“Then I started seeing this guy is actually getting into a position that is a proper golf swing, and with each phase of the golf swing he looked like a golfer,” said Van Schalkwyk.
When he turned four, Traigh’s parents bought him a set of second-hand golf clubs.
They also found out about the SA Kids Golf Tournament that takes place every month and entered him regularly, where he maintained a winning streak until now.
“Once you spot the talent or if your kids enjoy something, invest the time. As parents we are so caught up in the world of work, we don’t spend much valuable time with our kids.”
Traigh is the youngest member of the Royal Cape Golf Club in Wynberg.
Van Schalkwyk said since they have been in the US, his son has been scouted and has done three interviews with state golf schools and universities in Florida, Oklahoma and Texas.