Helena Buitendag ‘I play to inspire’
“Golf takes on all forms and colours and I believe if given the right platform and opportunities, South African women golfers will be the rapture on both LPGA as well as the Ladies European tours within the next ten years. My training of young players is about preparing for the rapture.”
UniMedia Pro is excited for South African Pro Golfer Helena Buitendag to take part in the upcoming Little Pace Challenge. Buitendag has always been determined to play at the highest level on and off the course and has sowed seeds that have bloomed at the highest level, having managed the junior team that represented South African at the 2014 African Youth Games. Her goal to make the game more accessible to youngsters drives her to play not for herself, but for all the young players she spends all her free time coaching and sharing life skills.
Helena Buitendag then goes on to say: “I grew up in a small town called Ficksburg in the Free State where I was introduced to golf at age 15. With no driving range or professional coaches around, I spent hours hitting balls with little or no help or coaching, picking up my own practise balls after each session. Fortunately the lady club members embraced this wanna be golfer with open arms, allowing me to even play with them in Saturday competitions.”
She continues: “Golf soon became the passion and drive of my life and I realized that this was what I wanted to do for a living. The hard work started paying off and I started playing in Foundation tournaments where competing against the boys was a big challenge but also a motivation to improve my skills. While still under 18, I represented Free State at provincial level and have many happy and fond memories of those years.”
“After matriculating I decided to study Sport Science combined with the PGA diploma at the University of Pretoria and did a fourth year Honours in Sport Management while completing my PGA apprenticeship and practical hours. While studying I also had the privilege to represent Gauteng North at provincial level. I believe that those years prepared me well for a future in golf while also making me aware of the enormous disadvantage I and other young players had if not coached correctly. My career as a player could probably have been a lot better had I received proper coaching from a young age.”
“That is the reason for me being passionate about teaching young children, emphasis on doing the basics right and growing into the game with the correct basics from the start. I also know that each parent believes their son could be the next Ernie or their daughter the next Sally, said with respect. That puts enormous pressure on the youngsters and I believe one should rather teach them to enjoy the game while teaching them the correct principals and basics. Once a kid dislikes the game, he is lost forever. Once he is passionate and enjoys it, he or she might just become the champion the parents are dreaming off.”
“After my studies I moved to Stellenbosch where I joined the team at Swingfit Performance Academy at De Zalze Golf and Winelands Estate. It is here where I am living my passion out, teaching youngsters in the Swingfit Junior Golf Academy and expanding my knowledge.”
So I look forward to the Little Pace Challenge and spending time in the company of Sally Little is my life time dream being realized. So see you guys there….whoop whoop!!!