The tremendous developmental benefits of the South African Disabled Golf Association’s (SADGA) First Swing Programme, sponsored by Canon South Africa, were showcased at a special event at Zwartkop Country Club on 16 August 2016. On the day, disabled children from four schools including West Rand School, Hope School, Pretoria School and Prinshof, were given the opportunity to experiment with SNAG equipment used as part of the programme.
At the event, The Sports Trust donated R 250,000 to SADGA. The funds were raised from the 2015 Sports Trust Golf Challenge, an annual fundraiser played the day after the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.
Canon SA has been closely involved with SADGA since 2001, with its support now focusing specifically on the First Swing initiative. Recently, Canon SA helped sponsor the inaugural First Swing Gauteng Inter Schools golf tournament.
“It was heartening to once again witness first-hand the amazing impact that the First Swing programme has on young children with disabilities. Not only do they benefit physically, but psychologically as well. They become part of a group; they learn respect, responsibility, honesty, integrity and perseverance while their self confidence and self esteem grows. This has been the impetus for our ongoing support of the programme for almost 15 years,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate & Marketing Communications Executive at Canon SA.
The First Swing Programme offers a platform which exposes children with disabilities to the game of golf. The primary focus of the programme is on rehabilitation and psychological development of disabled children. The programme is operational in 35 schools across the country, with some 750 children benefitting every week.
West Rand School’s Prenesh Naidoo represents one of the greatest success stories of the First Swing programme. Naidoo went from being a withdrawn pupil lacking any self-confidence two years ago to now one of the brightest golfers in the programme who represents his school in golf. Cape Town’s Charles Williams is another success of the programme and has in his seven years with SADGA risen to become the best deaf junior golfer in South Africa. Simu Mdudu, who lost his leg in a train accident, joined SADGA only two years ago and this year qualified to play in his first Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open.