Murray Smit – Owner and Head Teaching Professional
Murray Smit Golf based at De Zalze Golf Club
|Murray Smit Golf|
|What led you to becoming a PGA Professional?
|I have grown up loving sports of all nature, but the golf bug bit when I was about 13 years old and from then on I have been extremely passionate about the game. I had my heart set on playing golf for a living for a long time, but found my true passion in coaching while doing my post graduate hours at The Golf School of Excellence.
I regard the PGA Professional very highly and always saw it as an honour to one day become a member myself, I value my membership with the PGA of South Africa very highly.
|How long have you been in your current position?
|I have been in my current position since November 2019 when we started Murray Smit Golf and the golf academy at De Zalze Golf Club
|What does your job entail?
|My job entails coaching golfers of all abilities on a daily basis at De Zalze Golf Club, it also involves the day to day running of Murray Smit Golf. As a single business owner this would include all of the bookkeeping, marketing, HR and general administration for the company.
|Do you have any environmental or sustainability goals that you have met and would like to share?
|While we are still a new business, I am extremely passionate about growing the game as a whole and helping developing the players we work with into better human beings. We are fortunate to work in a sport which promotes fair play, honesty, discipline and respect for one another, all of which contribute greatly to ones character. Some if the projects which we currently have on the go:
Weber Gedenk Development – We have partnered with the De Zalze Rand a Round foundation to provide coaching at a local school in Jamestown (Stellenbosch). We do weekly sessions both at the school and at De Zalze, where we are trying to introduce scholars, that otherwise may not have had the opportunity, to try golf. We hope that many of the scholars will take up the game full time, become better individuals in their community through the values learned while playing golf and maybe even the sport as a pathway to improve their lives going forward.
Junior Golf – We have put structures in place from a grass roots level right through to elite junior level. The hope is to expose as many juniors as possible to the game and therefore encourage greater participation in golf from the youth within our community. We also hope that each individual will develop into a more well-rounded person through the many positive (and sometimes disappointing) experiences that they will go through on the golf course. We have also had a number of students that have started to come through the coaching system over the last few years, who are now using their golf as an opportunity to not only play College golf in the USA. They will gain a wonderful life experience and a fantastic tertiary education through these opportunities, something which may not have been possible without the sporting scholarships that they have received.
Ladies Golf – We have a “get into golf” program that has been established and refined over the last few years, this aims to encourage more ladies to take up the game in a very fun, social and relaxed way. They are introduced to all the basic skills and rules required to play the game, while meeting new friends along the way. We are proud that a number of these ladies have now joined golf clubs and play on a weekly basis, the “get into golf” program provided a pathway for them into the ladies section of the club, with a more natural and less daunting progression from beginner to regular golfer.
|Please give us a brief outline of the path you took to lead you to your current position|| I started as a student at the Golf School of Excellence (Johannesburg) from 2010 – 2012 and this gave me a phenomenal grounding in many aspects of the golf industry, it also allowed me to work on my game and attempt playing the game at a professional level.
I then did my postgraduate hours under the tutelage of Michael Balderstone at the The Golf School of Excellence in 2014 and this is where I found my true passion for coaching. I joined their team full time as one of the teaching professionals for 2015 and 2016.
I joined the SwingFit Performance Academy at the end of 2016 and took on the role of Head Teaching Professional at De Zalze Golf Club, I was also heavily involved in the coaching, lecturing and day to day running of the PGA Diploma academic program that SwingFit provided alongside James Wade.
I joined the EOGA Golf Academy at the end of 2018 as the Head Coach at Erinvale Golf Club and held this position for exactly one year.
I started Murray Smit Golf, the golf academy at De Zalze Golf Club in November 2019 and I am the owner and Head Teaching Professional for the business.
|Why do you feel that you would be a good candidate to win this award?
|Coach of the year – It would be an incredible honour to win the “Coach of the year” award for the Western Cape, as I am extremely passionate about helping golfers of all abilities to improve. I am an avid learner and am continuously looking for ways to grow my knowledge and skillset, whether that be through online courses, seminars, books or podcasts. I embrace technology and am always looking for new and innovative ways to encourage each of my players to become the best that they can possibly be. I feel that my enthusiasm for the game, my dedication to self-improvement and my compassion for my students would make me a good candidate for this award.
Grow Golf Coach of the year – I am very passionate about growing the game of golf and encouraging greater participation from all demographics within the sport. I really enjoy seeing golfers of all ages take up the game and get the same enjoyment and satisfaction that I have from playing it. I am particularly involved in creating opportunities for junior golfers to start and improve at the game, whether their ambition is to play for a living or merely enjoy the fresh air and outdoors. Golf is a wonderful character builder and teaches many wonderful life lessons, I am very grateful to have a small but positive impact in each of their lives. My enthusiasm for golf as a whole and for encouraging more people to play and enjoy the game is why I feel that I would be a good candidate for this award.
Entrepreneur of the year – I have only owned and run my own business, Murray Smit Golf, for just under a year but I have really enjoyed the opportunity to create an academy and business which is not only at the forefront of golf coaching but service delivery within South Africa. We are consistently looking for ways to improve what we do, whether that be through better coaching practices, adopting the latest technology or finding simple solutions that make the lesson experience more enjoyable. I am constantly looking at what the best academies and service industries from around the world are doing and have used this as a benchmark for what we want to develop into. While we aren’t necessarily there yet, we strive each day to become an academy which can rival the best in the world.