April 2013

SAGDB programme flourishing in Mpumalanga

SAGDB Regional Development Manager for Mpumalanga, Edwin Compton (centre), with Khulisa learners from Witbank

It has been just a little over 18 months since Edwin Compton took charge of the SAGDB's programme in Mpumalanga, and the 28-year-old regional development manager from Witbank is delighted with the progress that has been made in this region.

Compton explained that nearly 120 learners have joined the programme, including 11 players that have been selected to the province's Elite Squad and one who has already represented Mpumalanga at provincial level.

"We appointed three coaches in the region - Bongani Mtsweni in the Secunda area, Victor Mashile in the Witbank area and Jastice Mashego in the Lowveld. The coaches teach at Greenside and Bankenveld Golf Clubs in the Witbank area, at the Graceland golf course in Secunda and at Prilgrim's Rest Golf Club, White River Golf Club and the Kruger Park Lodge in the Lowveld area."

The learners they coach have been drawn from local schools, including the J. Kanhanda Primary School, Z. Malaza Secondary School, Kromdraai Primary School, Blackhill Primary School and P. Ndimande Secondary School.

"We are also very proud of the fact that Lonene Khoza from the Thulamahashe Location was selected to the SAGDB's National Elite Squad," said Compton. "Lonene joined us last year and he has made incredible strides under Stephan van der Watt, the SAGDB's provincial coach for the Northern Provinces."

"He is just 15 years old, but last year he qualified on merit to represent Mpumalanga at the South African Junior Inter-Provincial in Paarl. He is a huge inspiration for the other learners in the programme and a wonderful ambassador for the SAGDB in the Lowveld region."

Compton had big golfing aspirations himself, but had to shelve his dreams of playing professional golf when it became too much of a financial burden. He channelled his passion for the game into development instead.

"I am absolutely driven to bring as many previously disadvantaged young golfers to the game of golf in this vast region," he said. "We have been incredibly well supported by the Mpumalanga Golf Union, especially by former president Barrie Kok and his successor Marius Kok."

"We have a fantastic working relationship with the executive and they really support the growth of the programme. It has been very gratifying to watch the young golfers blossom and that inspires us to take the programme to greater heights."

Mpumalanga Golf Union president Marius Kok said that Compton's enthusiasm and determination are the driving forces behind the growth of the programme in the region.

"The SAGDB has a vision of promoting people through golf and it gives young people in our region the opportunity to play a sport they never would have had under normal circumstance," Kok said. "They don't just teach children how to play golf, but they teach core values like honesty, integrity, responsibility and excellence."

"For us it's not about whether the children pursue a career in golf; it's about them learning values that will guide them for the rest of their lives."

"Edwin has accomplished a lot in the Mpumalanga province since his appointment and his enthusiasm is contagious. That is why we fully support the SAGDB and Edwin and will assist whenever our number is pushed."