Building the nation Stroke by Stroke: FTG partners with the South African Golf Development Board to inspire their youth

For almost 20 years the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) has successfully been driving their purpose of ‘making golf accessible to all South Africans by providing and facilitating practise and playing opportunities for learners from all underprivileged communities’. Recently SAGDB approached Free To Grow to assist them in deepening their touch on the youth through a personal development programme. This followed from a successful partnership in 2011 when SAGDB’s leaders and coaches attended Free To Grow’s 4C Leadership programme.

To reflect the context of SAGDB and fit the age group, Free To Grow developed a 2-day programme, Golf 4 Life, that embrace the principles of active learning and employs fun as a medium to teach. The pilot kicked off in September at the High Africa Adventure Campsite along the banks of the Breede River. The perfect setting to engage and inspire 35 energetic teenage boys.

Day one began with an exploration of the topic ‘Winning in Life’, challenging the learners’ perceptions of success, exploring the value of goal setting and the steps needed to realise them. The fundamentals of self-esteem were introduced with a braai competition and rap songs, steering the teenagers to grow healthy views of their personal looks, intelligence, personalities and skills.

Golf 4 Life Programme, Free To Grow, youth empowerment

The braai competition was a highlight – using individual strengths to ensure a delicious supper for all!

Golf 4 Life Programme, Free To Grow, Individual Development

To grow our skills we must plan and practice, practice, practice.














The importance of attitude and specifically ownership, optimism, resilience and gratitude were on the agenda for day two. What better way than enticing the youngsters with obstacle courses, which provided the perfect scenarios for experiential learning to take place.

When asked what message the learners would take away with them, 18-year-old Aidon Willemse shared that going forward, he wants to “make use of u”! Beautifully illustrating the sense of personal ownership Golf 4 Life aims to embed. The feedback was remarkable, with 86% of the boys indicating that they felt “very motivated” by the programme to work on their attitude to help them win in life.

Following the success of the pilot group, another three workshops have been scheduled to roll-out across the country in 2019. With continued funding, SAGDB intends to launch a second phase of the programme focused on developing interpersonal skills. With every stroke of investment in the youngsters of today, SAGDB gets closer to realising their vision of ‘Growing the game. Building the nation’.

Golf 4 Life Programme, SAGDB, Free To Grow, Individual Development

In pursuing our goals we are faced with options, obstacles and opportunities. Just like on the obstacle course.

Golf 4 Life, Free To Grow, SAGDB, Individual Development

The 19th Hole – Learners celebrate their contributions and achievements with a prize-giving ceremony.