Amateur golf in South Africa has entered a brave new world with the announcement of the first national squad – aimed at producing the next wave of golfing stars
Golf RSA, the governing body for amateur golf in South Africa, has announced the group of players who will form its national squad. The talented group of 34 players represents the best and most promising open amateur and junior golfers in the country and has received funding in the form of a R10-million donation from businessman Johann Rupert.
The money will be used to help develop and fund these rising stars, preparing them to perform at the highest level in amateur golf and beyond.
‘We believe that by enhancing the players’ amateur experiences and opportunities, we can produce stronger national teams and provide individuals with the best preparation for life as golf professionals,’ explained Golf RSA CEO Grant Hepburn.
‘That’s where the national squad comes in. Thanks to the generosity of Mr Rupert, we are able to provide funding, support, advice, training camps and, ultimately, playing opportunities for the best of South Africa’s young golfing talent.
‘Women’s Golf South Africa are nominating their own national squad early next year. The squad will receive funding from Golf RSA and their elite squad players will be invited to attend our national squad camps.’
With an obvious eye on the future, the average age of the national squad is 17 years old, with the oldest player in the squad, Aubrey Beckley, just 21 and the youngest, Jordon Duminy, 13.
South Africa’s top-ranked amateur Tristen Strydom spearheads the group of Open Amateurs, while the country’s No 1-ranked junior Ross Sinclair leads the way in the U19 section.
South African Golf Development Board member Banele Mavusa from Mpumalanga and Wilco Niebaber from Free State, who shared the Most Valuable Player honours in the B-Section at the recent South African U19 Inter-Provincial, are also among the 2016 inductees.
South Africa has a long history of producing world-class golfers and the national squad will provide a valuable platform for South Africa’s talented young golfers to further develop their skills. Many will go on to represent the country on the world stage, as amateurs and professionals.
Players on the fringe of selection to the national squad will also benefit from squad funding via their provincial unions, and will be closely monitored. These players will have a chance to play their way into the squad through good performances.