28th March 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Young golfers inspired at Zambia Ladies Open
A golf development clinic ahead of the first Zambia Ladies Open Championship in Ndola set the tone for a tournament that is destined to nurture both champions and grassroots players in Southern Africa.
The clinic was presented by the Women’s PGA of South Africa (WPGA), in corroboration with the Zambia Ladies Golf Union (ZLGU).
Around 30 players attended the clinic, and the attendees included young members of the ZLGU’s Junior Development Programme, as well as members of all ages from Ndola Golf Club, the host venue of the country’s first-ever professional women’s golf tournament.
WPGA pro Michelle de Vries conducted the clinic and was delighted with the turn out.
“We threw the clinic open to everyone, but I was especially thrilled to see so many young golfers turn up,” the experienced De Vries said. “It was encouraging that at least half the group were young girls. Zambia does not have a single female professional, and one of the incentives of the Zambia Ladies Open is to raise awareness and draw more girls to the game.
“It was great that the members also joined in, though, because we need them to carry on the work we’ve done and to encourage the next generation to take up the game.”
The head coach for the Border region of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) first treated the attendees with tips on the swing, using unique stickers to illustrate the correct way to grip the club. The group then moved on to the driving range and putting and chipping areas.
SAGDB Border manager Mille Zim assisted De Vries and was equally impressed with the talent on show.
“Wow, they have some really talented players in their Junior Development Programme and they are so hungry to learn and improve,” said Zim. “We have a strong and tested development programme in South Africa and it is great that can impart some of our knowledge to help further golf development in Zambia.”
Zim and three members of the SAGDB Border programme will be competing in the main event.
“The three players we selected to come to Zambia are Yolanda and Siviwe Duma and Zetu Myeka,” Zim said. “They are also members of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation and they have embraced the opportunity to come to Zambia. This is a fantastic opportunity for our members to gain experience and to test themselves in a professional environment.”
The three SAGDB players also spent time with the juniors at the clinic.
“It was great fun to meet the Zambian juniors,” said Yolanda Zuma. “We come from similar backgrounds, so we enjoyed talking to the girls and encouraging them to stick with the programme. It’s also great that a number of the amateurs are joining us in the championship.
“It’s such a fantastic learning curve for all of us.”
PHOTO – Members of the Zambia Ladies Golf Union Junior Golf Development programme attended a clinic hosted by WPGA and SAGDB coach, Michelle de Vries, ahead of the Zambia Ladies Open Championship; credit WGSA.