*This interview proved to be so intense that I thought it necessary to split it into two parts. The introduction has remained the same in both parts due to its integral nature to the piece.
Nelson Mandela remarked that it always “seems impossible until it’s done.” These words echoed in the conscious of Michael Usendorff as he set out to hit 180 holes in 10 hours. A marathon play using only five clubs and which he not only achieved, but surpassed. I spoke to Usendorff about how it feels to make the impossible, possible.
Why is there still a divide between the youth and golf?
I suppose golf goes against our ingrained habits of instant gratification. The fact that it is a much more laid back sport, takes longer to complete, isn’t a contact sport and opposes our culture of impatience. What many youngsters don’t get is that this is one of the only sports where literally anybody can play. T’s not about how many holes you have. I had never been for lessons and I was approached to play golf in the US when I was much younger. People put a label on golf and decide without ever really trying it that golf is not for them. That’s why I decided to use golf in a somewhat unconventional way, to break the moulds that people place golf in.
How do you feel about women still being excluded from golf?
I think it is ridiculous that that type of exclusion still occurs. Including women in all spheres of golf can only lead to greater quality performance from all sides. More should be done to make golf appealing and accessible to “marginalised” groups. Whether it be family days where you have a braai after just nine holes of golf, or making it more student friendly in general. That’s why a portion of the funds raised also went to sponsoring the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Golf Club students. We also have incredible partnerships where NMMU students get far discounted rates to play the course or just want to spend a few hours on the driving range for free. There has been a great response to this where groups of friends spend time on the course for fun. With the Humewood Golf Course being one of the best Links courses in South Africa, and designed by Garry Player himself. There’s so much potential for golf here. We need to get all Port Elizabethans to enjoy the pleasure of the game.