Golf makes offenders ready and wise for rehabilitation

Well done to the five Golfwise graduates (in white shirts): Jason Bird (KZN Chairman of the PGA), Sphamandla Khuzwayo, Graham Treager (professional golf teacher), Sizwe Mbonambi, Paul Shoba and Deon Labuschagne (Correctional Services official), LJ Zikalala (acting Area Commissioner), Brian Mcube and PM Khumalo (head of the Glencoe Correctional Centre).

Glencoe Correctional Services is making rehabilitation a reality and changing the lives of offenders through golf.
The prison is the only one in the country to use the Golfwise programme, which gives offenders a recognised certificate that will help them to find a job, upon their release, through the life skills they have learnt.
Now in its ninth year, the Golfwise programme is headed by Gerrie Marais of Glencoe Correctional Services, who read about a similar project at Leeukop Prison, Gauteng, pioneered by golf pro Dale Hayes.

The concept inspired Gerrie, who recognised what the programme could do to change the lives of the prisoners in his care.
After getting hold of Dale he was called up for a meeting in Johannesburg, and the programme has become the stuff of legend at Glencoe prison.
DSC_0795 (Medium)
Graham Tregear, a professional golfing teacher with the PGA in KZN, comes up regularly from Hillcrest to put the prisoners through the paces. However, he stresses that ‘it is not just about golf’.
“There is a curriculum that we stick to. I teach them the rules of golf, the etiquette, how to play, greenkeeping and gardening, and also how to draw up a CV and how to present themselves – it is really a life-changing programme,” Graham told the Courier.
The five offenders chosen for the programme were identified through their positive attitudes and their willingness to learn.
“For me it is also very satisfying to see a change in people. It is a tremendous feeling.
“I built up a relationship with the five guys – it is one of mutual respect. I really hope they can find their way in the world upon their release.”

Full backing
Golfwise has the full backing of the PGA and Jason Bird, Chairperson of the KZN PGA, and Loraine Miller, regional administrator with the PGA, were both at the graduation ceremony.
A putting competition, won by Siyabonga Msane, was held before the handing out of the certificates, and there was also a tour of the golf course, which impressed Jason Bird and his team.
LJ Zikalala, acting Area Commissioner with Correctional Services, told those at the ceremony that Golfwise is indicative of what can be done to assist with rehabilitation when the private and public sectors join hands. He was full of praise for Graham, his staff and the offenders for successfully completing the course.
A keen golfer himself, Mr Zikalala urged the offenders to use their new-found skills to assist their families and themselves once they are released.
“What an opportunity – make sure you do not waste it,” he said.
Mr Bird indicated that next year, the tenth Golfwise programme could be held in conjunction with a sponsored golf day at the Glencoe course.

Terry Worley

Latest News


Next Story x
JKA seniors get ready for regionals