Fancourt launches Professional Golfing Learnership Program
Fancourt launched South Africa’s first accredited Professional Golfing Learnership Program for caddies on Friday 12 April 2013. Designed to provide caddies with an internationally recognised qualification that will open doors to a wide range of careers in the golf industry, the program is a partnership between Fancourt and the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), in association with the South African Black Golfers Association (SABGA). Twenty six caddies – 19 of whom are based at Fancourt, and the remainder all Fancourt-accredited, will complete the two year pilot program by February 2015.
Fancourt was selected among the country’s leading golf destinations to present the pilot program because of its commitment to improving the skills of golf caddies on the Garden Route, where it is home to three of the country’s finest golf courses – The Links, Outeniqua and Montagu.
The Learnership Program aims to train 60 caddies over the two year period, and will be presented at selected venues in three provinces – the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal. According to CEO of CATHSSETA, Mike Tsotetsi, the National Diploma in Club Professional Golfing was developed to elevate the status of caddies and also to enable those that graduate to not only become highly rated teaching professionals, but also much better caddies, affording them huge scope to practice anywhere in the world. He says: ‘Many professional golfers have caddied at some point, and this qualification is set to bring a new generation of trained and professional black players into the game.’
Aside from hosting the official launch, Fancourt has made a generous investment in this program. It is providing all golfing facilities during the practicals for the pilot program, as well as the expertise of the Fancourt Golf Academy professionals, and the use of the state of the art Taylormade Fitment Centre. The Golf Academy’s trained Osteopath Olivia McKinlay will also perform a selective functional movement assessment (SFMA) to tailor-make each candidate’s swing.
Fancourt’s Human Resources Business Partner, Ajay Goosai, who manages the caddie team, is mentoring the candidates. ‘We are privileged to be chosen by CATHSSETA as a partner in this first-of-its-kind initiative, and are proud to provide students with access to arguably some of the best golf facilities in the world, during their practical training. We know that once this program has rolled out, our country will be well on the way to having the best caddies in the world’, he said.
He added that Fancourt has always been a part of the greater golfing community, and, as an industry leader, has taken on the responsibility of improving the lives and livelihoods of their own and South Africa’s caddie fraternity, which is currently one of the largest in the world.
One of Fancourt’s most popular caddies, talented 31-year old Unathi Matshau from Thembalethu township on the outskirts of George, was selected for the pilot program. His ‘claim to fame’ is that he caddies for legendary golfer Gary Player when he is in town. Once Matshau has completed his diploma, he will only need to meet two PGA requirements – a golf handicap of five and completing 3 000 notional hours, to be recommended for a post as a Pro Teacher – which will be the realization of one of his lifelong dreams.