Established in 2018, the Lentegeur-based Mitchell’s Plain Golf Club (MPGC) not only teaches youngsters the basics of the game but also strives to provide an opportunity for them to escape harmful and dangerous activities, says MPCG director, Jehad Kasu.
Kasu and fellow club members accompanied some of their players to Rondebosch Golf Club at the weekend. Sunday’s overcast conditions, intermittent rain and luscious greenery underfoot, provided the youngsters perfect conditions for a round of golf. The pristine surroundings, a far cry from the conditions at their base, at Lentegeur sportsfield, right next to Collegians RFC’s homeground.
Kasu said that instead of inviting youth to sports they have historically been conditioned to pursue, the club aims to offer an alternative and are actively supporting the national department of sport and recreation goal to transform the sport and recreation sector.”
“And golf is in dire need of transformation,” he said. “We formally registered as an NPO in 2019, committed to being a credible movement in Mitchell’s Plain, inviting youth that are lured by gangsterism and drugs and other social ills, to explore a new sport that they would otherwise not have gotten to know.
“We started out with about 10 kids initially and we’ve got 40 plus kids right now. So it’s nice to see the growth of the club. We teach them everything from the basics of golf, including the etiquette, lifeskills that they could use throughout their lives, which is integrity, honesty, commitment and dedication.
“So we teach them how to hold the club, the grip, your stance, how to position your body and obviously how to swing. They also have the opportunity to go to a real golf club once a week. That’s Rondebosch Golf Club, that we are aligned with as part of their junior development programme,” he said.
“While the facilities here at Lentegeur are a far cry from what real golf courses are like, they have this picture in their mind of what it can be if they excel at the sport and get to play at these golf courses on a more regular basis,” he said.
“Growing up in Mitchells Plain some twenty-plus years ago, I hacked around on a field similar to the one our members practice on today – sadly not much has changed in this area since. I started golfing only in my twenties because my job at the time enabled it.
He said the club is supported by Lentegeur SAPS’ Social Crimes Unit, led by MPCG chairman, sergeant Richard Smith, who is stationed there.
An avid golfer himself, Smith and a few of his colleagues are always on standby, ready to lend a helping hand with coaching and caddying duties.”We do it for the community, to improve the living standard of our children and to increase their enthusiasm for sport,” said Smith.
“My own interest in the sport led me to the decision to become involved, as a way of giving back to the community,” he said.
“The primary reason for starting the MPGC is that sport was one of the things that saved me from falling prey to the claws of gangsterism and drugs. Secondly, growing up, my parents could not afford to provide me with golf equipment or access to golf lessons or courses. Today as a police officer and a qualified Level 1 golf coach, I want to give back to my community by using sport as a tool to save our youth,” he said.
“The programme basically began when I became involved with a small development programme run by the SA Golf Development Board. They asked me to volunteer with a development project in the area. Over and above trying to expose them to the sport, it is also a crime prevention initiative, especially in gang-infested areas he said.
His colleague, Constable Ashley Booysen, from Westridge, whose daughter Tyra, 11, was among the youngsters going through their paces at Rondebosch, on Sunday, agrees.
“I’m not an active golfer myself, but I can respect the game, “ he said. Every day I learn something new, as her father and as her daddy, because that is my job. I have to push the trolly, I have to keep score, so I learn every day, with every tournament she plays in, what’s a birdie and all the other terminology. So for me it is also a learning curve. I enjoy it and I get to spend time with her and that’s important to me, as her father,” he said.
For more information about MPGC, jehad@mitchell’spalingolfcub or call Jehad Kasu on 072 365 4037.