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Far from par: The power of collaboration

Some of Zeesaw Social Golf Club's Members. Picture: Supplied.

Some of Zeesaw Social Golf Club's Members. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jun 22, 2022

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When I joined Mitchells Plain Golf Club (MPGC) in 2019, it unleashed a long-standing, but restrained dream I had, to somehow immerse and entrench myself within this sport (golf) and industry that I have a profound love for.

I knew exactly the role I wanted to adopt within it – to be an agent of change and an enabler of opportunities for historically disadvantaged youth. I just didn’t, and largely still don’t, know the if, buts, whens and hows of this daunting journey.

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Fast-forward three years, and while there is a lot still to be done, I look back and marvel at the massive strides forward our humble community-based organisation has achieved.

Some notable accomplishments are:

. From hitting balls on a makeshift driving range (read abandoned, neglected municipal-owned sports field), we have a collaboration with Rondebosch Golf Club (RGC), where our most progressive players are inducted into the RGC Junior Academy.

From left, Startek vice-president of operations Charl Noble, BEE director Candice Naidoo, and Jehad Kasu. Picture: Supplied.

Through this programme they receive qualified PGA coaching, access to their practice facilities as well as playing the course at the ridiculously low fee of R50 a round.

Additionally, ones who successfully meet the progressive milestones of the programme qualifies for an apprentice membership at RGC, with an official handicap!

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One of our kids has already qualified for and received this amazing reward for her hard work – at the impressive age of 13. I mean, how many kids from Mitchells Plain had a golf membership at this age? This is proof that the countless hours we put into this development programme is working. And if we were better resourced, we could achieve even more.

We also have commitment from a sponsor to help rehabilitate the driving range into a fit-for-purpose one.

Speaking of resources, MPGC hosted it’s first fund-raising celebrity golf day last month. While the weather looked ominous in Somerset West, at the Erinvale Golf & Country Estate, tucked between the Helderberg and Hottentot Hollands mountain ranges, the weather turned out to be peachy!

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Attended by Herschelle Gibbs (despite a blistered hand as a result of a burn), Vernon Philander and JP Duminy, as well as 96 other budding golfers, the event was a resounding success!

Through the incredible support of our media partners IOL, Goodhope FM & SABC Sport, we were able to reach and tickle the interest of many new prospective golfers from the Cape Flats and surrounding communities, and have seen a clear spike in youth and adult membership enquiries. This is testament to how the unwavering support of media outlets who remain connected to and in touch with their audiences plays a pivotal role in growing this sport.

Lance Witten, editor-in-chief of IOL said: "The inaugural celebrity golf day was an absolute success. The course at Erinvale was phenomenal and the weather held up beautifully – it's true that it never rains on the golf course.

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“This lays a phenomenal foundation for the growth of Mitchells Plain Golf Club. It was wonderful to witness, in real time, the impact representation and transformation can have. Who could've imagined 10 years ago that the banqueting hall in one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the country would be packed to capacity with golfers of colour, all present to help make a difference in the sport? I am incredibly proud to have been a part of the inaugural event and I'm so thrilled by what has already been achieved."

Kenneth Makatees, regional manager of the SABC, said: “We as the SABC love to be part of empowering community initiatives. This is who we are. I love the initiatives of the MPGC and hope we will be part of it in future again.”

I’d be remiss not to acknowledge and thank Startek, Peninsula Beverages, Macc Sand, IT Master, Rondebosch Golf Club and ZeSeaSaw Social Golf Club for their overwhelming support. Through theirs and the various 4-balls booked, we raised in just over R135 000.

We are forever thankful to everyone who’s supported us to successfully deliver our first event and establish MPGC as an organisation synonymous with quality and excellence. We look forward to the next one, that we intend to make better than the last.

IOL

Follow Jehad’s Far From Par series every Tuesday.

Far From Par is about the grassroots development of golf. For decades golf was a sport reserved for white men for both leisure and professional expression. Sadly, after nearly 30 years of democracy, apart from it now being open to all, not much has changed to foster meaningful transformation.This series explores my experience on the importance of, challenges faced by, and status quo of, grass-roots golf development and transformation in South Africa.

Follow me on Instagram @far_frompar and visit www.mpgc.org.za for golf development information. Contact me on 072 365 4037 or [email protected] | @mitchellsplain_golfclub on Instagram.

Related Topics:

Golf

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