Golf Development

Ugandan Juniors Join The World

In the heart of Fort Portal, Uganda, a beacon of environmental stewardship shines bright amidst the emerald greens of the Afriyea Golf Academy. As the world unites in the fight against plastics on this year’s World Earth Day, junior golfers at Afriyea Golf Academy are leading the charge, wielding their clubs not just for precision shots but also for a planet free from plastic pollution. Under the resolute guidance of CEO Isaiah Mwesige, Afriyea Golf Academy has transformed into a bastion of eco-consciousness, echoing a clarion call for action against the global scourge of plastics.

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Might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of environmental conservation.

However, there’s more to golf courses than meets the eye.

Surprisingly, golf courses play a significant role in promoting and preserving nature.

Contrary to the misconceptions, golf courses can be environmental havens when managed and designed thoughtfully.



My, but the year has flown! It has been a challenging year for many golf courses with especially the severe weather we have experienced – many of my friends say that they have played far fewer rounds of golf this year than in the past. The increased loadshedding also brought about even more challenges – especially to greenkeepers in trying to irrigate and care for the courses. But golfers are always optimistic and we always believe that things (and our golf!) will improve. Luckily we now have the holiday season to look forward to and I am sure many rounds of social holiday golf will be played over the festive season. In this last article for the year I will offer some Rules advice to take with you and use while enjoying your holiday golf. The game of Golf is probably the one sport in the world with the most Rules that a player must be aware of and apply while playing it! It is therefore no wonder that there are many debates in a clubhouse after play on whether the right action was followed by a player, whether a penalty applies or not and even questions asked on whether a player deliberately flouted a Rule or not. Furthermore, that is why there are Rules Officials involved in professional or elite amateur tournaments – not only to help a player in following the Rules correctly, but also to ensure that the interests of every other player in the tournament is protected. By ensuring a player acts according to the Rules, she does not get away with something that is not applied to the rest of the field if one of them is confronted with the same situation. What happens when no Rules Official is around to help or guide a player? Well, not only is Golf a sport with many Rules, it is expected of players to know the Rules and act accordingly – even if no one is seeing what you are actually doing in the rough on your own! This emphasis on the integrity expected of players and the basic principle that you are actually your own rules official, was strengthened since the rule changes in 2019. Just a basic example: you do not need to call over a fellow-player anymore when marking and picking up your ball anywhere on the course to see if it is your ball (identify it) or to see whether it may be cut or cracked. There is thus no one around to see whether you follow the correct procedures and more importantly, whether you replace the ball on the exact same spot (and not slightly away to get a better lie!). THE ULTIMATE TEST OF CHARACTER A golfer’s character is ultimately tested when something goes wrong, nobody but the golfer sees it, and he still then informs his playing partners that he is calling a penalty on himself. There are many examples of such great sportsmanship (and integrity) being displayed – just google “golfer calling penalty on himself”. This has happened to many players, including Ernie Els, and some, like Brian Davis in 2010 called a penalty because he felt that he touched the reeds in a penalty area on his backswing (no one else saw anything) and lost a PGA tour event in the playoff. It was the late great Bobby Jones who came up with the beauty of a remark after he lost the 1925 US Open due to him calling a penalty on himself. He was in the rough and played a shot from it. He walked back to the fairway and informed the other players that he thought his club made the ball move slightly before he played his shot and called a penalty on himself even though the officials said they saw nothing. On getting praised for his sportsmanship, he flatly proclaimed: “You might as well praise me for not robbing a bank”! Why am I dwelling on adhering to the Rules?I believe that you either play real golf where you and your buddies follow the Rules of Golf, or you have a nice social game with your friends over the holidays and you also treat the rules socially (gimme putts, “friendly” drops, etc). There is nothing inbetween and both formats can be played and enjoyed by players, but there are a few things to remember.


Zethu Myeki: Remember That Name…

Zethu Myeki is quietly carving out the beginnings of what will potentially be a very successful career as a professional golfer, if her dedicated and disciplined adherence to her upward trajectory is anything to go by – and she credits the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation (EE&FF) for playing a large and significant part in that journey. Zethu is one of only a few past members of Ernie Els and Dr Hasso Plattner’s golf foundation who had two bites of the membership cherry – once as a junior golfer while at school and then again later when she played open amateur golf before turning professional. Having started the game as a 13-year-old in East London (it was love at first sight, apparently) she became a member of the Foundation in 2010, leaving in 2011 when she finished Matric and was no longer eligible to play junior golf. At the time, the Foundation focused on junior golfers who were in high school, however, this changed in 2015, when it was decided to support golfers who were playing open amateur golf and to prepare them for a successful professional career. The three pillars of the Foundation – golf, education and life skills – remained unchanged, however. Members have to have completed Matric at a “traditional” high school (home or online schooling doesn’t qualify) and then, while in the Foundation, they must enroll in and complete their choice of tertiary education. When Zethu rejoined the Foundation in 2015 she enrolled in the Club Management Diploma course offered by the Club Managers Association of South Africa – a course she completed and became a qualified club manager; a skill she has not yet had to put into practice as she chases her dreams of success on the world professional women’s Tours. Her golf also quickly improved – she was 42nd on the Womens Golf SA ranking at the start of 2015 when she rejoined the Foundation, finishing the year at No 3: “The Foundation played a huge role in the improvement in my golf because they covered the cost of travel to tournaments – there is no way I could have afforded to do that. There is no substitute for playing and competing in the best tournaments,” Zethu explains, “And I had no money for further study, so being a member of the Foundation, I was able to continue my studies as well, which gives me something to fall back on should I need it in the future.” When Zethu rejoined the Foundation in 2015 By the time her time in the EE&FF came to an end in late 2019, Zethu was ranked in the top-two of women’s amateur golf in South Africa and decided it was time to give being a professional a full go: “I thought it would be quite easy to get sponsors, but that definitely was not the case!To get to my first tournament, I had to ask for help from friends and family. It was tough! I had to make the cut in a tournament just to get to play in the next one…” Looking back at her time at the Foundation, Zethu says that one of her biggest learnings was improving her discipline and learning to work hard. She desperately did not want to let herself or her supporters down in everything that she was taking on – both her golf and her studies. She was also exposed to coaching in the mental side of the game for the first time, something she says makes up 90% of the game for her now. Two years into her professional career, Zethu landed a sponsorship deal with Investec which, for many years, has been a massive supporter of the women’s professional game. This has allowed her to play professional events in South Africa relatively free from stress – and it is beginning to show in her career results. She has won a Vodacom Origins Sunshine Ladies Tour event, made a large cheque in the Dimension Data Pro-Am in 2023 (finishing 11th in a star-studded field) and recently lost in a playoff at Houghton in a Standard Bank Series event. Zethu now has her sights firmly set on the Ladies European Tour Q-school in December in Spain for a chance to qualify to play in Europe and to really spread her wings. While she hasn’t completely worked out how travelling around Europe and the world will all happen, she is taking it one step at a time and is focusing on the two-stage qualifying hurdle in front of her for now. She also has three more events on the Standard Bank Series to prepare for and to do well in. As she approaches her 30th birthday later in 2023, there is no doubt that Zethu is giving herself every chance of success, keeping her feet firmly on the ground and working hard for her opportunities to succeed. Keep an eye out for her name on leaderboards around the world!

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