Mossel Bay, South Africa – A few hundred years back golf was only for the high society with a desire for exclusivity. As golf evolved, it also became a popular boardroom for businesspeople.
Forward a few hundred years and golf is a multimillion Rand industry in South Africa with stars like Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els, Gary Player and Charl Schwartzel – to mention only a few South African legends who have become world renowned. However, golf is no longer only for the “grownups” as we have seen the rise of the sport’s popularity in school programmes and academies. One such academy is the Louis57 Junior Golf Academy that focuses on providing opportunities to children in disadvantaged communities to partake in golf. These children undergo golf training and development at the Pinnacle Point Golf Club in Mossel Bay and the Kingswood Golf Course in George.
Since the launch of the Louis57 Junior Golf Academy in 2009, they have drawn the attention of South African resort giant, ATKV Resorts. “Before investing in and sponsoring organisations it is essential to evaluate our values, and then look for organisations which hold themselves to the same values. Children are important to the ATKV and therefore investing in a programme that will build the children of today into leaders of tomorrow was a no-brainer, we had to get involved,” said Reinard du Plessis, GM Marketing: ATKV-Sake. They joined the Academy on a sponsorship level for three years with their 2017 sponsorship, valued at R70 000,00. This includes the payment of professional golf lessons and the sponsorship of exercise clothing. One of the other large sponsors is the R&A which is an international golf governing body. “The Louis57 Academy is so much more than just a junior golf academy. We cannot expect every single boy in the academy to become a world famous golfer like Louis himself, but we do want to make every boy a well-rounded individual – ready for all challenges he may face in life. We want to make them honest, kind, determined young gentlemen,” Nicole Loesch, coach with the Academy in Kingswood Golf Course stated when asked why the Academy and programmes are so important.
The Academy, which was founded by the world-renowned Louis Oosthuizen, aims to instil crucial life skills in the children. These children are exposed to programmes such as ATM (handling of aggression, time management and money) and conflict management. “Golf development has been done through the Mossel Bay Golf Club since 2006. More and more junior golfers started getting involved in the coaching programme which was aimed directly at children from less fortunate areas. The Mossel Bay Golf Club paid for the golf lessons. The number of children who participated in the programme grew due to the popularity of the coaching programme. Because of the quality coaching the children received, they started to qualify to participate in the South Cape provincial tournaments. There was also a direct need for funding to allow more children the opportunity to participate in the programme. After discussions, I decided to create the Louis57 Golf Academy alongside Petrie Cronje and Bertu Nel,” said Louis Oosthuizen when asked why he started the academy.