May 2023 – There is an old adage that goes something like this: “To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to”.
When he was just three years old, Johndre Ludick would be seen running around the Graaf-Reinet Golf Club fairways while his father played a round of golf with friends and members. When dad and companions swung by the halfway house to grab a snack or cold drink, the young Ludick would pick a club from his father’s bag to “practice” his own swing.
“It all started at a really young age,” explains 16-year-old Ludick. “My dad introduced me to the game of golf. I used to go with him to the golf course when he was playing, and I started really enjoying it. I would just run around on the golf course and play with my dad’s clubs that was until I got my first set of clubs and my dad started teaching me how to play golf.”
The GolfRSA National Squad member now flies all over the country to compete on the GolfRSA national circuit, but back home, there is still small challenge of getting from home to the golf course and back. The golf club is a three-hour drive from Ludick’s home. When he was proving himself a real talent, the community and family jumped in, and they still do.
“There are people who play at Graaf-Reinet that I call when my dad can’t take me to the golf course,” Ludick says with a great smile. “My uncle, Patrick, too. He likes taking me to the golf course. He calls me frequently to ask if I want to play.”
Ludick joined the South African Golf Development Board when he was 12 years old to further his development.
“The SAGDB made a big impact on my game by helping me financially. They help me to go and play national tournaments which is a big step,” said the grade 11 Hoër Volkskool learner.
“From a young age, I started playing Eastern Province Golf Union tournaments and national events through the SAGDB, which helped me a lot with experience and seeing how other people think on the golf course. I owe a lot to the people who supported me up to this point, especially my school. Now that I’m playing all these national events, they have been great to allow me to miss school and make up the work.”
Through his own commitment, progress and achievements, Ludick is also contributing to that same spirit of community pride. He was inducted into the GolfRSA National Squad last year after travelling with a group of squad members to compete in the Reply Italian International U-16 Championship.
Currently ranked seventh in the GolfRSA U/17 rankings, the Eastern Province teenager has set himself lofty goals for the current season.
“I would like to win a GolfRSA event or a few; that’s one of my goals,” he announces. “Then I would really like to go to Italy again. Another one is to really focus more on my schoolwork as well this year.” A sign of a person whose path is clearly defined: Ludick is gunning for nothing but success.
We caught up with the 15-year-old ahead of this year’s Nedbank Junior Golf Challenge where he was teeing it up among the country’s very best.
Johndre, first of all, congratulations on your selection to the GolfRSA National Squad last year. What did this achievement mean to you and how has it impacted your career?
JL: Thank you, This really means a lot to me that my hard work has paid off. I am really proud of this achievement it motivates me to work even harder than before.
You attended a squad camp with fellow members at Serengeti. What elements of the camp did you enjoy the most?
JL: For me, it was a learning experience not only learning about golf but discovering new things about ourselves, and meeting new people and making friends.
You achieved some really solid results in 2022, which you carried into this season. That signals greater consistency in your game. What would you say was key to the improvement?
JL: I would say it was my putting and mental state that helped me a lot. I had so much more fun on the golf course and just enjoyed the game, I also made a lot of puts.
These days, golfers need to have a solid team around them. Who do you work with?
JL: The SAGDB and my father help me mostly. My father helps me with my swing and supports me a lot by also taking me to tournaments which is a 3-hour drive from us.
In terms of the state of your game right now, what are the strengths and is there anything specific you want to work on to improve?
JL: My strength is my putting; I would say it saves me a lot in my rounds because my iron play is not strong at the moment. I need to put a lot of work in that.
You have played a number of great courses through GolfRSA in the last two years. Which have been your favourites and why?
JL: Yes, there is a few, but my favourite one has to be the Gary Player Country Club during the Nedbank Junior Challenge at Sun City. It’s always a challenging one and I really enjoy it.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
JL: To follow my dreams and not to think about what others are going to say; my sister gave me this advice.
What is your go-to club and why?
JL: I would say my driver. If I am striking it well and hitting a lot of fairways, I can put a good score on the board.
How do you deal with pressure during a tournament round?
JL: I try to stay in the moment and not let my emotions get the best of me.
GolfRSA: What other activities do you enjoy doing outside of golf?
JL: To spend time with friends and family and to play soccer.
My all-time favourite movie is The Greatest Showman
My favourite food is Lasagne
My favourite music right now is RNB
The motto I live by is: Always be yourself.
Two of my favourite actors are Mr Bean and Kevin Hart
Things I love are surprises
My top tournament to watch is The Masters
The weirdest thing I have ever eaten was raw meat at a restaurant in Italy
The three top things on my bucket list are to skydive, go to New Zealand and meet Tiger Woods
If I got stuck on an island, the three things I would wish for is food, water and a phone to call for help