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November 2011

Compton kicks SAGDB programme up a gear in Mpumalanga

Edwin Compton knows what it means to put your dreams on hold, but never to give up on them. That's why the SAGDB's newly appointed regional development manager for the Mpumalanga province is the perfect man for the job.

The 28-year-old from Witbank had big golfing aspirations, but had to put them all on ice when the dream of pursuing a career in golf became too much of a financial burden. That is why he decided to channel his tremendous passion for golf development into bringing more previously disadvantaged young golfers to the game of golf in this vast region. "I am very passionate about golf and in the last few years my focus has changed from my own career to helping aspirant golfer getting to the next step in their development," said Compton.

"From the day I first teed it up, I wanted to become a professional golfer, but I faced many stumbling blocks along the way. Instead of giving up on that dream, I changed course and decided to become a teacher instead."

When Compton started his PGA apprenticeship at Golf Club Bankenveld, he came in contact with a lot of youngsters eager to take up the game.

"This really inspired me and I had no doubt when the SAGDB asked me to head up the development programme here in Mpumalanga," said Compton.

"I fully support the SAGDB's vision of promoting people through golf. The programme gives young people a chance they never would have had under normal circumstance, but it's not just about learning to play golf."

"Golf teaches core values like honesty, integrity, responsibility and excellence; values which these kids can use to improve their lives, whether or not they pursue a career in golf."

Although Compton has only been in his new position for four months, he has wasted no time in expanding the existing programme.

"We started with coaching in Secunda, where we appointed Bongani Mtsweni, a wonderful coach with a tremendous passion for golf," he explained. "Bongani currently coaches 55 children in the area at five different schools. We also appointed another gem in Victor Mgomezulu, who has 47 children in his chapter from four different schools in Witbank." Compton is also negotiating with a large transport company in Witbank to provide transport for the learners to Bankenveld Driving range.

"The more children we can get to the range, the better. The Mpumalanga region is obviously vast and this presents its own unique problems, but we have an amazing working relationship with the Mpumalanga Golf Union. They have been incredibly supportive in the past and their commitment to the SAGDB programme is commendable." Mpumalanga Golf Union president Barrie Kok says the enthusiasm and vigour with which Compton has embraced his new position makes it easy for the union to support the SAGDB's growth in the area.

"The SAGDB has has grown a network of coaches and officials who develop the game across the country, both in the cities and most remote areas, since 1999," said Kok. "Their chapters in Boland, Border, the Eastern Province, Ekurhuleni, Free State, Gauteng Central, Gauteng North, KwaZulu-Natal, the Southern Cape and Western Province are well established and we welcomed their decision to intensify their operations here in the Northern Provinces with Edwin's appointment."

"The work he has done in the short time since his appointment underlines the SAGDB's commitment to golf development in our region. We fully support this and will assist whenever our number is pushed. We also instituted regular meetings with Edwin and we co-opted him to the Mpumalanga Golf Union executive to ensure our commitment." Kok added that the programme has already reaped rewards with several learners from the Mpumalanga region selected to represent the SAGDB at national level.

"But, at the end of the day, they are not about just developing the next Charl Schwartzel or Louis Oosthuizen," he said.

"The SAGDB believe in making a tangible difference in providing hope to a vast majority of children who can now see some sort of future in the golf industry beyond merely the playing of the game and that is a notion that fully support."