Women golfers extend helping hands

Caddies and golfers, from left, Jeffrey Daniels, of Seawinds; Joan Bulgin, of Noordhoek; Oliver Dyers, of Retreat; Annamarie Usher, of Westlake; Leslie Davies, of Steenberg; Lynsay Minnaar, of Constantia; Peter Samuel Marthinus, of Steenberg; and Jacqui Plimsoll, of Constantia.

It is not just about the game and camaraderie for the women golfers at the Westlake Golf Club. Many of the over 200 female club members do outreach work that sees them support the club’s caddies.

According to the captain of the club’s female golfer committee, Lynsay Minnaar, the women started supporting the caddies – whose earnings drop sharply during the winter months – about five years ago.

Ms Minnaar says the committee raises money through golf competitions and raffles, and the funds are used to make food for the caddies three days a week.

They also provide the caddies’ children with school stationery and Christmas gifts at the end of the year.

Peter Samuel Marthinus, of Steenberg, has been a caddie for many years. He worked on the Sunshine Tour, a men’s professional golf tour based in Southern and East Africa for 19 years, before starting at Westlake Golf Club. He now advises players new to Westlake’s greens on what line to take and which club to lead. Mr Marthinus says it is mainly the women who are caring.

“They are good to us so we are good to them, cleaning their clubs and filling their sand bags,” he says, explaining that the sand is used to fill divots after a shot is taken.

Mr Marthinus says the caddies get paid a minimum of R350 for 15 holes, but it can be hard to make a living from that during winter when fewer people play golf. The caddies have come to rely on the women’s help during these leaner months, he says.

In May, the CRC (Christian Revival Church) Golf Academy was launched by Westlake golfer Sue Coates, of Claremont. They provide one-hour golf coaching sessions for about 18 youth aged 10 to 15 from the Westlake community.

“The aim is to provide these youngsters with life and social skills whilst exposing them to the game of golf. After each session, the children are given a meal. For most of these children their visit to Westlake Golf Club is the highlight of their week,” says Ms Coates.

Tiaan Jansen van Vuuren, of Meadowridge, teaches the youth and says the Westlake golfers have sponsored three sets of clubs and he has provided two sets.

Ms Minnaar says they are now collecting unwanted clothing and recently went together with the CRC False Bay Church, based in the Westlake Business Park, to distribute the many bags of warm clothing to residents in Westlake Village.

Westlake Golf Club manager David Smith says they support these initiatives. “Our emphasis has always been to help uplift and assist our local community, and this is achieved in a number of different areas. Our caddies, staff and their families are our primary focus, as they help make Westlake the special place it is. There are a number of annual projects where we assist them.”

He adds that the golfing academy for the youth has always focussed on local schools and is a way to expose children to a sport that can be prohibitively expensive.

“But with our initiatives, we are trying to change that, providing transport, coaching, equipment and even meals for the children.”

Michael Tango of Westlake Village using a cleaning machine donated by the committee of women golfers.