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2011-01-11
Pros hold Alex golf clinic
Golf pros from South Africa and abroad showed a group of youngsters the ropes at a development clinic running alongside the Joburg Open.
THE eyes of Alexandra’s young wannabe golfers sparkled as they hit balls alongside the sport’s best at the Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic on 11 January.

 

Executive mayor Amos MasondoExecutive mayor Amos Masondo is an ardent golfer (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)At the clinic, held at the Alexandra Driving Range, 80 children got tips on improving their game from Irish professional golfer Darren Clarke, among other golfers on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour, ahead of their participation in the Joburg Open.
 

The children jostled for a place in line to learn from the pros, who helped them correct their stance and perfect their swing.

Botlale Baily was named best swing of the day by Clarke. The 13-year-old, who has a handicap of nine, started playing golf when he was just six – after he saw Tiger Woods play on TV.

“It’s really cool to be able to take tips from someone like Darren Clarke,” said Botlale.

Clarke, who has his own foundation in Ireland and attended the clinic last year, was happy to lend a helping hand. “It’s always great fun to attend these clinics. As professionals we are fortunate to have a wealth of experience and it’s always nice to share that and give back what we can to the kids.”

A spokesperson for the event described the clinic as 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 them”.

Avid golfer and executive mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo, also suited up to join the clinic. Masondo’s enthusiasm for the game began as a child when he caddied at the Glendower Golf Club.

“When I was a boy, a friend of mine whose mother worked as a domestic worker in the suburbs, invited me to become part of a team of youngsters who became caddies at the club,” he reminisced.

 

how to tee offA youngster is taken through the nitty-gritty of teeing off (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)“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 … using it to leverage resources and ensure that the game of golf is further developed and broadened, especially in communities such as Alexandra.”


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Amateurs
Two of the four amateur golfers taking part in the Joburg Open, Jonathan Raphunga and Yubin Jung, also taught at the clinic.

Raphunga, 24, who is a student at the Gary Player Golf Academy and plans to go pro next year, spoke about the importance of the clinic and others like it. “Clinics like these are invaluable in taking the game to the people and eradicating the stereotype that golf is a rich man’s game. They keep kids out of mischief, off the street and healthy.”

Tshepo Mabidikama from Alexandra, who started playing at the driving range in 2010 under the tutelage of local golfing hero Obed Matlou, was excited to meet the professionals.

“Me I was so clever with golf but after today I’m going to be even better,” said the 12-year-old.

In addition to the coaching clinic, the City will take the children to watch the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, allowing them to experience the event and watch their heroes play.

The Joburg Open, now in its fifth year, sets the pace for the 2011 season. It is a co-sanctioned Order of Merit event on the PGA European Tour and Sunshine Tour. Taking place as usual at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, from 13 to 16 January this year, local fans will be able to watch top-ranked golfers and upcoming players in action.

Entry is R30 a day or R80 for the entire tournament. Tickets are available at the gate. Those wanting to enjoy the golf from the cool of a hospitality marquee while watching the action on plasma screen, can book tickets online for the hospitality village.

The 2011 Joburg Open will be broadcast live on SuperSport on all four days. Tournament news, scores, photos and videos will also be available online on the Joburg Open website.

 

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