November 2011

Keelan and Dylan kick on

Keelan Africa is one of two SAGDB Boland players joining the EEFF from next year

For anyone involved in coaching sports, there is a special kind of excitement that comes from unearthing a prodigious young talent. It is hugely rewarding to find a player with potential and see that blossom into something substantial.

That is why the SAGDB's development manager for Boland, Andre Rossouw, and his junior co-ordinator Shawn Adriaanse get a special sparkle in their eyes when they talk about Keelan Africa and Dylan Jacobs. These two boys have come on in leaps and bounds in the SAGDB's programme and are now looking forward to moving up to new levels when they join the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) from 2012.

Both boys were chosen to join the (EEFF) from next year on the strength of their performances over the last couple of years. Being part of the elite foundation will now give them extra support in their golf and their schooling to provide them with the best opportunity to develop their enormous potential.

Keelan, who is just 15-years old, is second on the SAGDB's national order of merit, first on the Boland under-16 order of merit and was recently selected to represent his province at the u/18 inter-provincial tournament (IPT) at the end of this year. 14-year old Dylan has won the Boland order of merit in his age group for the last two years, has represented his province eight times and captained the team twice.

"Keelan will be an excellent golfer," Rossouw says. "He has the full package. Since he joined the SAGDB programme he has been incredibly self-driven, always being prepared to practice on his own and improve his game."

Adriaanse is just as full of praise for Dylan.

"Dylan works hard every day and is always in control of himself and his game," he says. "He is a good thinker on the course, trusts his abilities and knows his limitations. He can play different shots from difficult positions, and that is a rare ability."

When they received the news that they would be associate members of the EEFF from next year, both boys expressed their delight.

"Keelan was very excited," Rossouw says. "Now he's looking forward to meeting Ernie in person and having a chance to take his game to the top level and competing with the best."

Dylan had high expectations too.

"When he received the news he was as calm as ever, just giving his little smile, but his inner excitement could be seen in his body language," Adriaanse says. "He is really looking forward to representing the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, and having the chance to meet famous golfers and play on wonderful courses."

It is great reward for the SAGDB's hard work to see players that they have brought to the game progress to a higher level. It's likely that neither Dylan nor Keelan would ever had played golf if the SAGDB had not given them the opportunity and provided coaching from the very first time they picked up a club to where they are today.

Now, with the support of the EEFF, they have the chance to really make an impression on the South African golfing landscape, and even internationally.

"Keelan sets himself goals and is determined to reach them," Rossouw says. "At the beginning of this year he asked me whether he could make the u/18 IPT team and I told him that players younger than him had done so before. I said it would have nothing to do with his age, but whether he could consistently play low rounds."

"Halfway through the year he came to me and told me that he was going to make the team - and that's exactly what he did! Now that he has a professional team around him, there's no reason why he can't go on to become a successful professional."

Adriaanse believes that Dylan has the same kind of potential.

"He will definitely make it into South African teams and could even go on to a professional level," he says. "But for now, he's staying grounded. He knows that his studies are just as important as his golf, and that shows his maturity too."