Blessed with a fiercely determined character, Lance Du Toit hasn’t let life’s obstacles stop him from finding an abundance of happiness and success.
After contracting Polio at 2-years-old, a number of corrective operations followed over the ensuing years. Growing up every child just wants to fit in but Du Toit was bullied for the fact that he had to wear specially-made shoes.
“I never enjoyed school due to kids teasing me. But I decided to stop wearing the shoes when I was about 10 years-old. I also told my mom that I didn’t want any doctor to operate on me anymore,” Du Toit recalls.
Raised in a farming community, Du Toit had to walk long distances to and from school each day which was taxing both physically and mentally.
“My high school years were difficult because I had to carry my school books in a backpack every day and walk long distances to get to school. I hated that and couldn’t wait to end school.”
Unfortunately Du Toit failed his matric year but as it turned out, it was a beautiful blessing in disguise!
“After I failed my final year I had to work on the farm as a labourer. In the meanwhile, I said to myself I had to finish matric so I attended Astra Special School in 1990. That was the most wonderful year of school in my entire life because I could relate to the students and the great teachers.”
Despite his physical limitations, sport has always been a part of Du Toit’s life. Most notably he helped found Elgin Cricket Club for whom he featured as a left-handed batsman from 1983. He was so determined to play cricket that a teammate would serve as his runner between the wickets.
It wasn’t until 2008 though that the married father-of-two got his first real taste of golf, in the company of his brother and brother-in-law at Riverside Golf Club in Worcester. Two years later, the seeds of what has since become a fruitful disabled golf career were planted.
“In 2010, I had a meeting with a man by the name of Michael Bredenkamp. He was a member of SADGA and explained what the association did. I immediately signed up as a member and have enjoyed every moment of it!
Du Toit hasn’t just enjoyed his time with SADGA, he has excelled. In his SA Disabled Open debut in 2012 at Langebaan Golf Club, the Les Autres* golfer enjoyed a week which exceeded his expectations in every respect.
“What an awesome experience. The professionalism, the publicity and the overall organisation was mind-blowing.”
Just as memorable was the result he achieved!
“The cherry on top was when I won the Les Autres* stableford division. I only found out after I came from the shower and my playing partners congratulated me on the win. I was nervous the whole time because I didn’t know all the rules!”
Du Toit reserved special praise for his playing partner that day, longtime SADGA member Jenny Frost.
“I have so much respect for Jenny because she made me feel at ease all the way around. She is such a great lady and a wonderful friend!”
Since the victory a decade ago, Du Toit’s game has continued to trend upwards and he is now a fixture in the Physically-Disabled Medal division at SADGA Opens.
In the 2021 Kwazulu-Natal Disabled Open, the Boland Golf Union representative had the distinction of playing in the final group after carding an opening round of 79 around The Woods at Mount Edgecombe Country Club.
As he prepares for the Cape Town Disabled Open at King David Mowbray Golf Club, what’s been the key to his tremendous success and longevity? A mindset which seems part of the 55-year-old apple farmer’s DNA.
“The Grabouw Golf Club members are very competitive and many of them have animal-themed nicknames. I had to choose a name and found that Lion fits me best because when I play, I am fearless. I believe in myself and will fight until the end.”
*Les Autres: A person who is neither an amputee nor has a sensory disability. Les Autres is French for Others.
Player Fact File:
Special Shout-outs: Wife Renee, daughters Robyn and Tammy for all their love and support.
Dream Four-ball: Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen and Tony Finau/ Rory McIlroy
Dream Courses: Leopard Creek, The Gary Player Country Club, Augusta National and Pebble Beach.