SUCCESS STORIES

At Balderstone Sports Institute (BSI) we train, nurture, develop and educate youth athletes to perform in the sporting arena, to excel in the classroom, and to become leaders in business and life. Below are some of the success stories from past students who have embarked on their BSI journey.

Andrew Lamont
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2015
Current Position: Internal Sales Manager at Srixon

Andrew Lamont graduated from our PGA Diploma class of 2015, and was selected to read the valedictory speech at the graduation ceremony on behalf of the class.  He went straight into golf club life, spending four successful years gaining great all-round experience as Assistant Professional at Bryanston Country Club.  Having built up an excellent reputation within the golf industry, Andrew was recruited to the position of Internal Sales Manager at Srixon Golf SA in 2019.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

"BSI enabled me to follow my passion by giving me a solid platform that prepared me to take on the golf industry. They were not only theory based, but provided me with practical experience. So I knew what I was getting myself into.

If you are considering getting into the golf industry, BSI is a great platform, because you can not only do your PGA Diploma, but you can build long lasting relationships. It will prepare you for what is ahead of you. In all aspects of the golf industry, from running a shop, to coaching on the range. Anything you require in the golf industry BSI will prepare you."

 

Simon Riekert
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2012
Current Position: The Pro Shop (Morecorp), Retail Buyer

I’m currently in charge of sourcing, buying and ranging of all accessories for The Pro Shop retail group (all 9 stores). Responsibilities include planning buying strategy, managing and planning budgets for monthly spend, constantly improving buying strategy to run portfolio lean and profitable, monthly line reviews and detailed item analysis, weekly portfolio pricing to keep competitive locally and internationally, product and service negotiations, planning and running promotions monthly and annual sales as well as communication and control of portfolio to nine stores locally.

From my 10 years’ experience in the golf industry BSI is by far the leading institute, all staff actually care about every single student’s future and will go out of their way to help you succeed. BSI is well known in the industry and everyone knows that if you have attended BSI you are a better candidate.

To me the best part was having the leading person in his field giving lectures and them not treating us like a student only, you become a friend. These relationships are the most important thing I got as I still call on them from time to time.

My advice to current students would be to use every minute at BSI to the best of your abilities. Every piece of knowledge provided by BSI is key to your personal success.

Gerrit van Niekerk
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2012
Current Position: Procurement Specialist at MoreCorp

My role involves ensuring the sales team/store reach monthly targets, monitoring of stock levels, that staff merchandise the store in according with company standards, and general customer relations.

BSI was pivotal in providing me with all the right tools to enter the golfing industry. It gave me a broad and in-depth overview of almost everything one would need to pursue a career in golf. One of the best things about my time at BSI was the life-long friendships that I made. We are all connected now and able to plug into one-another across the world.

BSI provides you with a solid base from which you can enter, not only the golf industry, but various other avenues to forge a career with substance. I am true thankful for the opportunities created for me. To current students, work hard and enjoy it! Before you know it it’s over so make the best of it!

The key to my success so far is my work ethic, my hunger to learn and the support I receive not only from the company I work for, but from friends.

David Lamprecht
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2011
Current Position: Golf Academy Manager at The Els Club Desaru Coast, Malaysia

David graduated with the PGA Diploma from BSI in 2011 and has gone on to forge a very successful international career. After graduation he competed on the IGT Challenge Tour for a couple of years. He then started his coaching career working as a golf coach for Club Med Resorts in Bintan Island, Indonesia alongside two other BSI graduates.  He has now moved on to become Golf Academy Manager at the Els Performance Golf Academy at The Els Club Desaru Coast in Malaysia. Check out David’s social media feeds to view the great work he is doing there.

Here’s what David had to say about his BSI journey;
“BSI's training and studies gave me the knowledge and foundation to be able to play professional golf for a while and also allowed me to apply all techniques learnt as part of my current coaching programmes to date. My advice to students that are thinking of joining BSI's programme is to just do it! The academy is great, with coaches who today are still my friends. They have a wealth of knowledge and you will learn a lot.”

 

Murray Smit
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2012
Current Position: Head Teaching Professional, De Zalze Golf Estate

Murray initially pursued a playing career whilst still training at BSI. At the same time, he joined our internship programme to complete his work hours, which introduced him to the practical side of coaching. Murray had always been a hard worker and keen learner; and coaching soon overtook playing as the career of choice for him. We employed him as a full-time coach at BSI after his internship was completed and he became a big hit with our junior students.

Keen to gain more experience, he took a coaching position with SwingFit at De Zalze Golf Estate in Stellenbosch, before becoming Head Coach at EOGA Erinvale GC. When the teaching rights came up for grabs again at De Zalze, he was offer the position of Head Teaching Professional and the opportunity to open Murray Smit Golf.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

I was very privileged to attend BSI Golf for 4 years. It gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing golf for a living under the guidance of some fantastic coaches, while getting a great academic grounding. It also afforded me the chance to gain experience in various avenues within the golf industry before settling on coaching, which has ultimately become my passion and career. I would highly recommend the academy to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career within the golf industry.

Jeremy d'Argent
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2014
Current Position: Head Golf Professional at Mont Choisy Le Parc, Mauritius

Jeremy was selected for our internship programme to complete his practical hours. He gained international employment in the Golf Operations department at Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club, an upmarket golf community in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA.  After two years in USA, Jeremy returned home to Mauritius to take up his current position as Head Golf Professional at Mont Choisy Le Parc.

Here’s what he had to say about his BSI journey;

I enrolled in the PGA Programme with BSI in 2012. I spent 4 years at the academy and I must say it was probably the best years of my life. Being able to wake in the morning, say to myself I’m off to learn and specialize in my passion was something very special to me. The academy was at the heart of all my learning and life experiences as a young high school graduate. A true melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and most importantly sporting talents…

BSI’s PGA programme was the perfect balance between academics, practical learning and golf training. We were taught and cared for by respected professionals in the industry which played in significant part in our personal developments. The programme offered a broad number of subjects which touched all aspects of the golf industry.

Carl Nebbeling
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2016
Current Position: Owner at Quick Golf

Carl graduated in our PGA Diploma class of 2016. He completed his practical work hours at Magalies Park in Hartebeespoort, before landing the Head Golf Professional position at Eye of Africa Golf Estate. At the time he was the youngest in the country to hold such a position. Late last year he started his entrepreneurial journey, opening Quick Golf, an indoor golf facility in the South of Johannesburg, offering coaching and club fitting.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

Thank you BSI for laying a great foundation and giving me the opportunity to achieve what I have done to date. I highly recommend BSI to anyone looking to enter the golf industry.

 

Chris Hardy
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2014
Current Position: Assistant Golf Professional at Blessings GC in Arkansas

Chris Hardy graduated in our PGA Diploma class of 2014. Like many of our alumni, he got the chance to work in USA at Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida after graduation.

This has led to Chris settling permanently in USA now. He worked at Fresh Meadows Country Club in New York for a while, before taking up his current position as Assistant Golf Professional at Blessings GC in Arkansas, where the NCAA National Championship was held last year.

Chris Wright
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2011
Current Position: BSI Golf Coach

Christopher Wright joined us in 2007 and spent two years training on our Elite Academy programme. He then enrolled for our PGA Diploma, graduating in our class of 2011.

He spent over two years as Assistant Coach at Country Club Johannesburg, before moving back to his home town of Newcastle to open up the Chris Wright Golf Academy. In 2017 he re-joined BSI as a Coach and has flourished ever since, currently looking after the development of 25 of our full-time students. He also lectures the coaching subjects on our PGA Diploma programme, and is the Boarder Master at our Boarding House.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

“The best things were the lasting friendships I made and the interesting people I have met. Still to this day, I meet these people all round South Africa, thus the golf industry feels like a family. I also really enjoyed having the opportunity to travel and play tournaments during my time at BSI and having a great team behind me supporting me with my game.

BSI supplied me with the building blocks to make my career blossom. Teaching me everything in theory and in real life experiences that I needed to develop myself and make decisions going forward in life. They helped give me direction. They have also provided great support after my studies were done with job opportunities provided on the BSI Alumni page and they also provided friendly advice whenever I needed help.

Joining BSI was one of the best decision I have made, my golf improved tenfold, I managed to develop a career out of my passion and I have met people that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

 

Don Wolmarans
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2018
Current Position: Custom builder/fitter at Cobra Puma Golf

Don Wolmarans graduated through our PGA Diploma programme in the class of 2018. During his final year, he started doing marketing activations for our friends at Cobra Puma Golf and this led to him being employed full-time by them as a custom builder/fitter upon graduation.

Here’s what he had to say about his journey at BSI and beyond;

“It is crazy how time flies when you are having true fun. I had the chance to live out my passion and now I am working not only within the golf industry, but the sports industry, which will always have a lot of attention. BSI has taught me a lot about the mechanics behind the golf swing and how to reflect on the process of becoming a good player, but it is safe to say that I learnt my patience from my coach at BSI, Martin Briede. This not only taught me a valuable lesson in golf, but it can also be applied to life. I am thankful for my experience at BSI and it is quite unique to say that I really love getting up every morning to do what I love.”

Coenie Stoop
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2011
Current Position: BSI Golf Coach

Coenie Stoop joined our academy in 2009, and graduated with the PGA Diploma in our class of 2011. Coenie won our Order of Merit in all three years that he was a student, the first to achieve that feat. He also gained his Sunshine Tour card in his second year of study, and decided to turn Pro whilst still finishing his qualification. In total he spent six years on the tour.

After leaving the tour, Coenie worked for a spell as Assistant Golf Director at Killarney Country Club. In January 2016, he returned to the academy as a full-time Coach and has become an integral part of the coaching staff since then. Looking to emulate his hat-trick as a player, Coenie has coached the winners of both our Premier and Junior Order of Merits for the last two years.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

“I’m proud to have won the Order of Merit three times in a row while playing on the Sunshine Tour with the help of my coach and the whole BSI Team. BSI has always had top-class PGA coaches who have shown significant passion for the game throughout my years. The whole structure of day to day tasks to improve and learn in a particular area and the Order of Merit system helps you identify key areas and makes it a more competitive environment. The nurturing and care we all felt from the BSI Staff has truly made us a family.

BSI has helped me to display a positive attitude. Showing up at work with a positive attitude is most important to me. It is okay to not know everything, but it is essential to have an open mindset and show continuous effort in learning and also learning by making mistakes. Lastly to establish a strong work ethic shows that you take your job and organization seriously, it’s about quality and commitment and I can only thank BSI for guiding me on this journey.

BSI will help you in finding your true potential, whether it is making a living playing on tour or finding your passion in other regards. It’s an awesome, engaging experience. Balderstone Sports Institute will surely set out your foundation in life.”

Yusuf Raidhan
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2019
Current Position: Head Teaching Professional at Metropolitan GC/EOGA Golf Academy in Cape Town

Yusuf Raidhan graduated through our PGA Diploma programme in the recent class of 2019. Even before he graduated, he had already been appointed as Head Teaching Professional at Metropolitan GC/EOGA Golf Academy in Cape Town, where he is doing a great job and learning fast.

Here’s what he had to say about his journey at BSI and beyond;

“The best thing about BSI, is the constant guidance whenever it’s needed without any hesitation, having the luxury of a great team surrounding you and finally the constant feeling of being a part of a family.

How did it prepare me for my career? Well, it just made me realize the value of the exposure you receive from being a part of an environment like BSI. Through its reputation and connection within the golf industry you are able to come across people and get to know individuals that are extremely knowledgeable and pave the way for you to build a career within the industry. I learnt that the opportunities within the golf industry are endless and a playing career isn’t the be all and end all. I have fallen in love with teaching this beautiful game.

If you’re a young golfer thinking of joining BSI, In simple terms, do it! You won’t regret it at all and when you do join BSI, capitalize on every day that you’re there. Never take it for granted”

Loic Csizmadia
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2014
Current Position: Assistant Operations Manager at The Islander Golf Academy, Mauritius

Loic Csizmadia from Mauritius graduated through our PGA Diploma programme in the class of 2014. Since then, he’s amassed a solid resume of work experience around the world in various aspects of the golf industry.

His career started when he was accepted on our internship programme for a year, working predominantly as an Assistant Coach and assisting with our events. After a brief spell of coaching back home, he landed a position as Golf Operations Assistant at Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club, in Florida, USA.

In 2017, he moved back to Mauritius to take up a position as Assistant Operations Manager at the newly-opened Avalon Golf Estate. While in this role, he also co-founded The Islander Golf Academy (TIGA) at the same venue, which remains his current focus.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

“I loved the overall experience. I made a lot of friends and made contacts in the golf industry in South Africa. The hours of intense training with my coach as well as physical and psychology sessions to prepare for a playing career. The weekly competitions and monthly ranking. Access to provincial and national events.

The PGA Diploma course taught me everything and gave me a career in the golf industry. We gained great practical experience such as organising a charity event, Special Olympics coaching and coaching kids. I also had a great coaching internship to log in my PGA hours with cool colleagues.

The academy gave me the tools to be the best as I can be at my job. It gave me good work ethic and the knowledge to be respected by clients and co-workers. Join BSI for an experience you’ll never forget!”

Chalton Steyn
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2017
Current Position: Head Teaching Professional at Killarney CC/EOGA Golf Academy in Johannesburg

Chalton Steyn graduated through our PGA Diploma programme in the class of 2017. He was selected for our Internship programme the following year, where he made a significant contribution to the students.

At the end of his internship, he was appointed as Head Coach at the EOGA Golf Academy at Killarney Country Club, where he has been for the last 17 months. He has made a solid name for himself already with his coaching and custom fitting services.

Here’s what he had to say about his journey at BSI and beyond;

“I got a really good education about the golf industry as well as the business around golf which prepared me a lot for my current job in coaching. The lectures and coaching are good quality. The facilities at Royal J & K are superb. The technology available with Flightscope and K Vest etc. Excellent staff. I also learned a lot as an Intern Coach at BSI and it helped me grow as a golf instructor as well as human being away from golf.

If you are serious about a career in golf and want the best PGA programme in the country then BSI is fantastic.”

Jeandre Badenhorst
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2017
Current Position: Duty Manager at the World of Golf

Jeandre Badenhorst graduated in our PGA Diploma class of 2017. Jeandre’s journey is one of commitment over many years to improve from novice to turning Pro. In his first cycle in 2015, he averaged 94.14. Hard work and dedication throughout his time with us saw Jeandre bring his scores down tremendously, with an eventual competitive personal best of 73.

During his studies, he also picked up thousands of hours of work experience, including as Pro Shop Assistant over weekends at Kempton Park GC for two years, and two months of coaching experience in USA during his 3rd year.

After graduation he join our internship programme to complete his PGA work hours. He then committed to a year of elite training in our Academy Programme, whilst competing on the IGT Pro Challenge Tour.

He opened his own online golf retail store in 2019, which he managed until he took up his current role as Duty Manager at The World of Golf in March 2020.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

“BSI have helped me learn more about the industry and how each part of the industry functions and what is required of you to be successful. I have learned many life lessons at BSI that I still carry with me and use daily. It all comes down to how hard you work and practice. To work as a team to achieve good results. To not limit your thinking and always look for new ways to improve and learn.

The staff are excellent and friendly. The quality of education is great and so is the coaching and training in the gym. The staff are ready to help at any time. The programmes at BSI opens doors for you in the industry across the globe. I got the opportunity to work in America and Thailand as well. I would recommend any person to join the academy.”

Phil Minkley
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2016
Current Position: Head Professional at Tee Off Golf School and Driving Range in Mauritius

International student, Phil Minkley, graduated through our PGA Diploma programme in the class of 2016. On the performance side, Phil represented Mauritius numerous times during his time with us, and as a professional has played in the European Tour’s Mauritius Open.

Phil is currently the Head Professional at Tee Off Golf School and Driving Range in Mauritius. Later this year, he will be heading to the Middle East to fulfil his new position as a Head Professional. He has previously worked as Teaching Professional and Golf Operations Assistant at Avalon Golf Estate.

Here’s what he had to say about his journey at BSI and beyond;

“The staff are always there for the students. The medal events and four day tournaments were great, but the best for me was the matchplay each week and annual Team Challenge matches were a great atmosphere. Young golfers can have so much fun and still progress within those three years.

Everything I went through at BSI was a preparation for what was to come. Not just on the golf course, but our interaction with the staff and coaches helped me to do better when I started my career.”

Arno van Heerden
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2017
Current Position: Owner at Eagle-it Golf

Arno van Heerden graduated from our PGA Diploma class of 2017. After graduation, he worked for a year under Greg Smith at Cool Clubs Performance Lab at the World of Golf as a Club Builder.

In 2019, he started Eagle-it Golf, a repair and club fitting shop based at Emfuleni Golf Estate in Vanderbijlpark, where he was also the PGA Professional giving golf instruction. Due to lockdown, he moved to Durban and will be restarting the business down there.

Here's what he had to say about his BSI journey;

“At BSI they gave me the basis I needed to open my own shop and also introduced me to the people I needed to get started in my field. I have really enjoyed the whole experience. I made friends for life.

I did not know what I wanted to do in the golf industry until I joined the academy. I started to have an interest in club building and fitments during the Golf Technology lectures given by Greg Smith, who also started Cool Clubs where I ended up working right after I got my diploma.

If you are thinking of doing the PGA Diploma you must be prepared to work hard and commit to the classes. The fitness programme they have really showed me how important golf fitness is and what exercises I had to do to improve my physical fitness and golf physique.

The environment at BSI is very motivational and the PGA Professional coaches are very well educated and helpful. I would definitely recommend BSI to a young aspiring golfer that wants to make golf his profession.”

Kyle Opperman
PGA Diploma, Graduated 2018
Current Position: Assistant Professional at Benoni Lake GC

Kyle Opperman graduated in our PGA Diploma class of 2018. Immediately after graduation, he took up an international position at Al Zorah Golf Club in Dubai. Having now returned to South Africa, he’s currently working as the Assistant Professional at Benoni Lake GC.

Here’s what he had to say about his journey at BSI and beyond;

“The coaches are highly skilled and experts in knowledge when it comes to advising students. The Team Challenge is probably the one of the most exciting experiences. It really brings all the students together and it's a very good bonding time for students. Also every medal tournament and four day tournament is a good experience it really shows and teaches you how to cope under pressure and set goals for yourself.

BSI definitely prepared me for my career with all the subjects you do at BSI they teach you how to handle the retail side of a shop as well as the coaching side of the golf industry. I learned how to work better with people especially in the shop side of the industry.

I would say that to go to BSI is a good decision because they really give you opportunities and experience in any side of the golfing world. There are lots of players from BSI that have made it on tour level and also lots of BSI students that are doing very well in the golf industry.”

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