TSHWANE, 3 May 2015 – Arthrogryposis. Suffering from this incurable congenital joint disease is like living with a death sentence, but for 17-year-old Charl Theron, being born with frozen muscles was just another of life’s challenges to overcome.
On the eve of the 2015 Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open, the two-handicap Paul Roos Gymnasium matriculant is looking forward to flaunting his golfing prowess at Zwartkop Country Club.
Moreover, Theron hopes to inspire the younger generation.
“I believe in the old saying that when life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” Theron said.
“We all wonder at some point ‘why me’, but I believe life is far too valuable to waste. There IS life beyond disability and the only handicap that should matter is your golf handicap. As for the rest, you do the best with the cards live deals you.”
Theron plays for the first team at Paul Roos and the Les Autres Division player regularly competes against able-bodied golfers on the Western Province Junior Foundation circuit.
In fact, he made quite an impact on the junior circuit over the last nine months.
The Stellenbosch golfer followed runner-up finishes at King David Golf Club and the Milnerton Links with victory in the Swing Fit Winter Tournament at Pearl Valley Golf Estate in June last year.
He was selected to the Boland Schools team and looks likely to make the grade after an impressive performance at the recent trials.
Last month, Theron competed against a strong field, including top Western Province juniors Luca Filippi and Michael Sherrif and Southern Cape star Franklin Manchest in the KeNako Academy Schools Golf Festival and left George having claimed a top 15 finish.
Theron’s star is definitely on the rise and he will start his fourth appearance in the South African Disabled Golf Association’s (SADGA) flagship event with a healthy dose of confidence.
‘I think I have really learned a lot in the last year and I’ve also matured as a player,” he said. “I don’t feel the nerves as much as in the past and I feel capable of competing against the best.”
Playing off a six handicap, he took fifth overall and second in the Les Autres Division last year and a more experienced Theron is back and poised to impress.
He will line up alongside fellow students of SAGDA’s First Swing Programme (FSP), including Shane le Roux, Charles Williams and Daren Hanekom from Boland, Free State campaigners Jaco Lumley and Enrique van Wyk and fellow Province golfers Ryalen de Wee and Ignation Doeries.
“We are all very privileged to be given the opportunity to compete in the Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open with the top disabled golfers in the country,” he said.
“The results are important and the experience is very beneficial, but we also learn a lot outside the ropes in terms of etiquette and rules and I believe the whole experience helps us to become more well-rounded golfers.”
The 54-hole tournament tees off on Monday in various disability divisions including Leg Amputee, Arm Amputee, Les Autres, Visually Impaired, Wheelchair and Hearing Impaired.
The player with the lowest aggregate gross score is crowned the overall championship.
PHOTO – Charl Theron from Western Province; credit Carl Fourie.
Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open
Cell: 082 888 9888
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Disabled Golf Association.
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