SAGA SQUAD ASSEMBLES FOR THE FIRST TIME
Nineteen of South Africa’s leading amateur golfers, selected by the South African Golf Association (SAGA), assemble at the World of Golf, in Johannesburg, on Monday (30th June), for three days, for their first ever squad session.
“With specialisation in golf starting at such a young age now, we at the SAGA want to assist these players in reaching their full potential,” said Enver Hassen, Senior Vice President of the SAGA and Convenor of Selectors for the governing body of amateur golf.
Neil Homann, the Assistant Executive Director of the SAGA, former SA Amateur champion, is the coordinator of the squad. “Neil brings a lot of experience to the process which is proving invaluable,” commented Hassen.
“The squad system is a new development at the SAGA so we are going to have to take small steps to start with and identify, as we go, how to best develop this squad and the benefits they are to receive,” stated Hassen, adding, “the primary objective is to develop a pool of players that can compete with the best on the international amateur stage.”
“We decided to go with the Gary Player Golf Experience, at the World of Golf, due to its advanced evaluation methods and equipment,” said Hassen.
“During the squad session they will be scientifically assessed and evaluated. We have arranged programmes that range from psychology, rules of golf, equipment to shot making,” explained Hassen. He went on to say that the purpose was to assist the player in measuring his performance, through playing to fitness, so that when the squad next meets progress can be evaluated.
“We are hoping that the advice and feedback each player receives, through this process, they will take back to their coaches,” is another of the objectives according to Hassen. He said the squad session will not attempt to fulfil the role of ‘coach’ to players, as most of whom have their own.
“It is pleasing to see that we have had a positive response from all but one player in the squad,” commented Hassen. The player missing is 18 year old Leon-Brink Knoll who had made a prior commitment to participate in a junior tournament in the United States.
Jacques Blaauw, Derik Ferreira and Adrian Ford return from their trip overseas while Dylan Frittelli, South Africa’s top ranked amateur according to the latest SAGA Player Rankings, returns from his trip to the Toyota Junior World Cup of Golf which took place in Japan.
An added dimension to the squad according Enver Hassen is the adoption of a longer term view. “We have included players of colour who show potential to try and fast track them to the point where they can play their way into our national teams. So we have identified young black players whom we believe could achieve more through this kind process,” explained the former president of Western Province Golf Union.
The SAGA Squad is:
Dylan Frittelli (Irene Country Club, Gauteng North), Derik Ferreira (Centurion Country Club, Gauteng North), Adrian Ford (Durbanville Golf Club, Western Province), Dean O’Riley (Benoni Lake Golf Club, Ekurhuleni), Cameron Johnston (Milnerton Golf Club, Western Province), Ryan Clarke (Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, Central Gauteng), Johan du Buisson (Kuils River Golf Club, Boland), Jacques Blaauw (Paarl Golf Club, Boland), Coenie Bester (Middelburg Golf Club, Mpumalanga), Jake Redman (Fancourt, Southern Cape), Ruan Botha (Randpark Golf Club, Central Gauteng), Louis Calitz (Schoeman Park Golf Club, Free State & Northern Cape), PG van Zyl (Witbank Golf Club, Mpumalanga), Leon Knoll (Silver Lakes Country Club, Gauteng North), Alphius Kelapile (Leopard Park Country Club, North West), MJ Daffue (Waterkloof Golf Club, Gauteng North), Keenan Davidse (Stellenbosch Golf Club, Boland), Trevor Mahoney (Wellington Golf Club, Boland), Calvin Coelho (Royal Durban Golf Club, Kwazulu Natal) and Cameron Esau (Kuils River Golf Club, Boland).