Golf Development

SADGA Trail Blazing Pienaar

Trail Blazing Pienaar Hopes to Inspire the Next Generation

Team North’s Charlene Pienaar hopes her appearances at the SADGA Provincial Challenge will serve to inspire the next generation of female golfers in disabled golf, writes Craig Stirton.  Pienaar’s Team North selection for the 2020 SADGA Provincial Challenge was a historic moment as she became the first female to play in the interprovincial event. She followed it up by playing her way onto the team again in 2021.  Pienaar hopes such achievements show other young women that their disabilities don’t define who they are.  “You know you can show other younger women that they can still carry on with their lives despite what has happened,” she said. “They shouldn’t let that [their disability] be a stumbling block in their lives.” Pienaar’s words carry extra weight as someone who has encountered her fair share of stumbling blocks. Prior to her 21st birthday, she was involved in a car accident which left her with just five-percent vision.  Reading texts – an essential for somebody studying towards a BCom Marketing degree – became incredibly difficult and forced Pienaar to suspend her studies for three years. Of the immediate challenges she faced – Pienaar said it was the loss of day-to-day independence which affected her the most. “It was extremely difficult because you were independent and now all of a sudden you are dependent on people to take you all over and you battle to see – especially when you need to go and read something for instance on a box – you cannot read it anymore. You need a magnifying glass or something which can enlarge it. Especially on your laptop as well – I’m actually using software to enlarge text.”  Despite having her life altered so drastically, Pienaar maintains an admirable outlook on life.  “Sometimes stuff happens in your life but at the end of the day God actually gives you the strength to carry on, to persevere and to push through.” Having participated in both hockey and karate at school – her visual impairment appeared to have brought an end to her sporting endeavours. Some sixteen years after the accident, her parents happened upon a sport she could play even with her Visual Impairment – golf.  “My parents actually watched the tv news and they phoned me to say they’d seen Blind people playing golf. My mom asked me why I don’t try it and that’s how I started,” Pienaar recalls.  Unlike Physically-Disabled golfers, Blind players have the added challenge of relying immensely on guides to set them up as Pienaar explains.  “Any visually Impaired person needs a caddy to assist them to check where their ball goes because I cannot see where my ball goes – or in which direction I need to hit the ball because I cannot see far and I can’t see close so basically I only see stuff that’s right on the ground,” she says.  “They basically need to line me up and tell me ‘little bit more to the left, little bit more to your right’ and then they need to check where your ball is going. So yes, your caddy is actually your eyes. You’re totally dependent on them.” As her game has developed over the years so she has established herself as a player to watch in both the SA Blind Golf sphere and the Disabled Golf realm too. In 2016, she won the Development Trophy at the SA Blind Golf Open and has also had a couple of solid showings at the Canon SA Disabled Golf Open. As for her future aspirations, Pienaar hopes that incremental progress will help her earn national colours one day. “It is important to enjoy every single moment and to strive to improve every single day with regard to your golf and eventually I hope to one day represent South Africa,” she says.  With the strength of character she has shown in the face of some daunting challenges in her life, look for Charlene Pienaar to achieve that and more in the not too distant future. 

Trail Blazing Pienaar Hopes to Inspire the Next Generation Read More »

Standard Bank Golf Development Programme

Excitement brews as golf development programme tees off in Orange Farm ORANGE FARM, April 20 – More and more girls between the ages of six and seventeen years old will be introduced to the game of golf for the first time in their lives as the second season of the Standard Bank Pro-Am Series and the Standard Bank Golf Development Programme returns this week. Created by Lifestyle Golf who are the founders and promoters of the Standard Bank Pro-Am Series, the Golf Development Programme aims to take the game of golf directly to the girls and create an interest and excitement for the game, and generate support for them within their communities while exposing them to the best coaches in the country for further development. “We are excited to start with the programme again,” said Jenny Havenga, founder of the Golf Development Programme. “We had a lot of success last year with the programme and we were very satisfied with the responses we received from the communities. This programme aims to introduce as many young girls as possible to the game of golf and we think that we are on the right track.” The programme began last year at Serengeti Golf Estates where 30 young girls were inducted into the programme and taken through a six-week course, where the objective was to give the girls an introduction into the game of golf. These girls completed levels one to three of the programme which was being delivered by the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA). Another group of 30 – in Orange Farm and at around the same time – were being taken through the same programme and completed all the levels.  These two groups will now embark on levels 3 to 6 as they continue their development under the tutelage of some of the most respected coaches in the country. In addition, two more regions – Eastern Cape and Western Cape – have been added to the schedule to widen the reach and find more girls to introduce to golf. “Last season was a resounding success for us and we wanted to make this year’s instalment of the programme even bigger,” Havenga added, “and we felt we should take it to other parts of the country. We aim to introduce as many girls as possible to the game of golf and this is just a start. We are grateful to have a sponsor like Standard Bank for this programme because it helps us drive women’s golf from the grassroots level. “We want to continue championing golf development for women and having a partner like the WPGA is very valuable because, through their expertise, we’ll be able to identify and nurture young talent and hopefully be able to set these girls right on their way to becoming better human beings. “As you know, we have partnered with leading professional, Nobuhle Dlamini, who is a source of inspiration for many young girls from this programme and that shows the level of commitment we have in this project; and the level of inspiration we want to bring to these girls.” Level three to level six of the training programme begins at Nomimi Primary School in Orange Farm on Wednesday to kickstart the new season. Schalk Kotze, Standard Bank Head of Affluent: Consumer and High Net Worth Clients South Africa, said, “At Standard Bank we pride ourselves for driving Africa’s growth and this programme is just one such example. We appreciate what development means and that is why our support for this programme and the Series itself is unwavering. Golf is such a beautiful sport and we all need to play a part in making sure it is a sport that is accessible to everyone, especially the girl child.” The Standard Bank Pro-Am Series aims to drive the development of female players at the grassroots level and empower talented professional female golfers by creating opportunities for more playing time which will enable them to hone their skills further.  For more information, contact Lifestyle Golf – Jenny Havenga or Gina Read.

Standard Bank Golf Development Programme Read More »

Behind the Camera with Mark Sampson

A Q & A with Photographer Mark Sampson Why did you choose golf courses as your main focus?   Golf has always played a major part in my life from playing since the age of 8 and representing South African Universities later in life to teaching the game in London. I just have a strong affinity to the game and the industry and love being involved. The shooting of courses came naturally as my photography career grew. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos? Well to be honest I wish I had started taking photos 20 years earlier. Right now however it would have been to not be so shy in the early days and just dive in talking to people in the industry and networking better. I guess it comes with experience as well as believing in your work. Why do you take photos? What inspires you? I love showcasing nature’s beauty. Nature and wildlife have always been a massive passion of mine and allowing people to see that, who otherwise may not have the opportunity, is my biggest motivator. Golf courses are just an extension of that and hopefully doing justice to some of the great golf course architects and the vision that had in mind when creating the course motivates me. I recently had the pleasure of shooting a new course in Mauritius and designer Peter Matkovich drove me around. It was such a thrill to listen to him talking me through the vision he has versus what you see and decipher when looking at each hole. His new course at Heritage, which Louis Oostehuizen has also assisted with, is simply amazing. What do you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that? I simply want to showcase the beauty of a course and layout. Its not only up to me but nature playing along with the correct weather and the course being in good condition. It is a team effort producing quality photos I just ned to be at the right place at the right time and that all comes down to knowing the moods of the course, area and seasons. How can golf courses benefit from the content that you create? I always say how can they cannot. Not only because of the quality but simply how else do they speak to their market? It still amazes me the perception many courses have  with regards to the value of marketing their course properly. This being through the correct channels using imagery and video content. The return on their money with the use of this content on all of their assets from score cards, email signatures, websites and social media is returned ten fold. What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow. Its pretty simple. I download the images from the camera or drone, select the images and edit in Lightroom and then Photoshop. Thats it. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why? I love Mauritius so I am biased towards some of my recent work there. The courses combined with the unique locations and proximity to the ocean really make the images stand out. In South Africa the big names always rise to the top so course like St Francis Links, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and Pearl Valley stand out. Check out the article in We Women Golf Magazine Issue 02 To learn more about Mark Sampson Photography, check out his website here.

Behind the Camera with Mark Sampson Read More »

Magtye Makes Her Mark

Magatye Makes her Mark

As Yolandi Magatye held the Canon Open Series trophy aloft, her victory was a confirmation. Confirmation that there was joy to be found in life after her amputation. Confirmation that the South African Disabled Golf Association had found its newest star.  In 2018, while playing golf at Kingswood Golf Estate in George, Magatye decided to remove her golf shoes and socks and walk the fairways barefoot for a while. She recalls feeling as though she’d been bitten by something and a day or so later found that her foot had begun to swell. The doctors at the local hospital assured her that whatever had caused the swelling, Panado and Allergex would reduce it and relieve her pain. A week later she returned to the hospital and again was met with a similar response, that whatever had caused the swelling, Panado and Allergex would reduce it and relieve her pain. A week later she returned to the hospital and again was met with a similar response. Over the ensuing two months, the state of Yolandi’s foot worsened and the infection spread to her leg.  Upon her third visit to the hospital, Magatye received the dreadful news that she needed to have her left-leg amputated immediately or face certain death. While her life had been spared, the married mother-of-three’s future was anything but certain. Would she keep her job as a course marshal at Fancourt Country Club? Would she be fitted for a prosthetic and walk again? Would she play golf again? The short answer is a resounding “Yes” to all of the above. Fancourt gave assurances that her job was safe while a generous benefactor – a prominent South African professional golfer – funded Magatye’s prosthesis. Words of encouragement from a trio of PGA coaches meanwhile dispelled Magatye’s lingering self-doubt over her ability to play golf again. “After the operation I thought my career was ruined but I had encouragement from Carlo Kok, Val Holland and Nicole Loesch who told me that I could still play and that it wasn’t the end of the world,” says Magatye. “I was thinking about that and decided that I could do it.” <figure> <img width=”1024″ height=”683″ src=”” alt=”” loading=”lazy” srcset=” 1024w,×200.jpg 300w,×512.jpg 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” /> <figcaption>Image Credit – Warren Nicholas</figcaption> </figure> <figure> <img width=”1024″ height=”683″ src=”×683.jpg” alt=”” loading=”lazy” srcset=”×683.jpg 1024w,×200.jpg 300w,×512.jpg 768w,×1024.jpg 1536w,×1365.jpg 2048w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” /> <figcaption>Image Credit – Warren Nicholas</figcaption> </figure> <figure> <img width=”1024″ height=”669″ src=”×669.jpg” alt=”” loading=”lazy” srcset=”×669.jpg 1024w,×196.jpg 300w,×502.jpg 768w, 1500w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” /> <figcaption>Image Credit – Warren Nicholas</figcaption> </figure> <p>After joining the South African Disabled Golf Association in June of 2021, Magatye set&nbsp;her sights on September’s&nbsp;Cape Town Disabled Open hosted by The City of Cape Town to make her competitive disabled golf bow. With time against them, and doubts over her physical ability to play 18 holes on consecutive days, Magatye and Kok got to work to ensure she was able to participate.&nbsp;As it turned out, she did a whole lot more than merely participate.&nbsp;The victory was – as it turned out – anything but beginner’s luck. In the Canon Open&nbsp;Series, Champion of Champions Yolandi once again defied her inexperience as a&nbsp;disabled golfer. Magatye and blind golfer Leon Strydom put on a mesmerising display of&nbsp;golf over the two rounds at Zwartkop&nbsp;Country Club. Magatye held a slender one-point advantage after 18 holes after amassing 39 round one points. Strydom though was determined not to gift her the title in the final round and looked for much of the day like he may pip her at the post.  To Magatye’s credit she finished in exceptionally strong fashion, carding two three-pointers and a four-pointer over the final four holes as she eclipsed Strydom by just two points. Magatye held a slender one-point advantage after 18 holes after amassing 39 round one points. Strydom though was determined not to gift her the title in the final round and looked for much of the day like he may pip her at the post.  To Magatye’s credit she finished in exceptionally strong fashion, carding two three-pointers and a four-pointer over the final four holes as she eclipsed Strydom by just two points. “It means a lot to me to be the Canon Open Series Physically-Disabled Stableford champion. It was very challenging for me as it was only my second-ever disabled tournament but I am proud of the fact that I managed to win,” she said The South African Disabled Golf Association has been longing for a female champion at one of its events for a number of years. It’s unsurprising then that SADGA Director Pieter Verwey remarked that Magatye’s win is a source of pride for the association. “We are so proud to have Yolandi Magatye as a Canon Open Series champion,” said Verwey. “To have a female winner – and particularly one who has performed exceptionally in a short space of time- is such a beautiful story for us.” <img width=”300″ height=”200″ src=”×200.jpg” alt=”” loading=”lazy” srcset=”×200.jpg 300w, 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />

Magatye Makes her Mark Read More »