SA golf mourns Mellette Hendrikse

The South African golfing community is reeling with shock at the unexpected passing of one of its most passionate administrators, Mellette Hendrikse.

“Mellette was extremely well known and respected, both as a player and golf administrator, and we were incredibly saddened to learn that he passed away after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday afternoon,” said South African Golf Association acting president Geoff Taylor.

“We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to his wife Angie and his children. We have lost a real force for good and his sudden passing will be felt at many levels in the golfing community in the months to come.

“Mellette was not only an excellent ambassador of the game as a player, but he championed golf development and passionately worked to promote the interests of the young and promising talents in this country.

“He was the kind of person who was always willing to give his time and Mellette will be warmly remembered for his skilful support, knowledge and unwavering commitment to growing the game of golf in South Africa.”

A former member of the South African National Defence Force, Hendrikse competed on the Sunshine Tour from 1998 to 2000 before he took back his amateur status and turned his passion for the game to golf administration.

“Mellette was a tour de force on the South African senior amateur golf circuit and he represented Gauteng North Golf Union and his home club with great pride, but he was also one of the most dedicated golf administrators to serve this country,” said Gauteng North Golf Union president Johan Struwig.

“His passion for the game was legendary, both in his position as the operations manager for Gauteng North Golf Union and as an executive board member serving on numerous committees at our union and on national level at the South African Golf Association.

“Mellette was always optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of the game. He was very helpful and he paid special attention to the young people that sought out his advice and guidance and he always put the growth and development of the game ahead of his own goals and ideals.

“Our prayers are with Angie, the children and the family in this incredibly sad time in their lives. All of us at Gauteng North Golf Union count ourselves blessed to have known and worked with this incredible man. His unexpected passing has left us with a void that we will never be able to fill.”

Golf RSA CEO Grant Hepburn said South African golf has lost a true hero.

“It was with deep sadness that I learned of Mellette’s passing,” Hepburn said “I know it would embarrass him to hear me call him a hero, but his untimely departure will definitely leave a vacuum in the golfing community.

“Mellette was not only a colleague and friend, but a mentor to many of us who shared his passion for the game. His enduring commitment and dedication was admirable and engaging and I admired the way in which he strived to grow the game, especially among the youth.

“He touched many lives in his long career as an amateur, professional and golf administrator and Mellette will be remembered with incredible fondness.”

At the age of 56, the two-time Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Stroke Play Championship winner and former number one ranked senior was selected alongside Steve Williams, Francois le Roux and Morgan Phillips to represent South Africa in a Test against India this December.

“The team was due to depart on Monday, 28 November,” said team manager Jock Wellington.

“It was his life-long dream to earn national colours and to represent South Africa on the international stage and Mellette was incredibly excited at the prospect of playing India’s number one, former international cricketer Kapil Dev, whom he greatly admired.

“We are very shocked and saddened to lose not only a team-mate, but a friend and on a personal level, it is going to be tough for me to step into Mellette’s shoes as the reserve. We are dedicating the Test to Mellette’s memory and we are committed to do him proud in our international debut in Calcutta.”

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