Caleb George (11) is SA’s youngest golfer to play at the highest level
When Caleb George took up golf as his preferred sport when only five years old, nobody thought he would soon play internationally.
He has set a record by becoming the country’s youngest golfer to compete at the highest level.
Caleb will be one of the ambassadors during the Gauteng Sports Awards to be held at Silver Star Casino in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, tonight.
The gala will honour sports personalities for their achievements over the past 12 months.
Caleb is the youngest ambassador. He was appointed in 2011, when only seven years old.
In an incredible scenario that sounds like a script from Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Caleb, now 11, had his first taste of international exposure in 2010 while taking part in the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championship in Quincy, Illinois, in the US. He came fourth.
This chance presented itself after the Northcliff, Johannesburg-born youngster won the SA Kids Golf Under-5 tournament.
Caleb took part in the US Kids World Championship in Pinehurst, South Carolina, in 2011, where he finished 11th in the contest that had 75 players competing.
A Grade 5 pupil at Orion College in Honeydew, Johannesburg, Caleb raised his budding international golf profile in 2012 by finishing 12th at the US Kids World Championship featuring boys under 10.
It has been an incredible story on the international golf stage for the youngster, whose career has been carefully knocked into shape by dad Dennis at the picturesque Eagle Canyon Country Club, where Caleb fine-tunes his swing for three hours a day after school.
“I have gained a lot from practising with my dad and top-class coaches here. I want to see myself competing internationally when I reach 16,” said Caleb.
His burning ambition is to play in the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation tournament in George, Western Cape, in three years’ time. The foundation is the brainchild of former world number one Els.
“This will transform my game and pave the way for me to play overseas. That’s my big dream. I’d like to win big games in future, like Tiger Woods during his prime.”
The youngster said he felt proud to be given the role of ambassador.
“It’s quite humbling because these awards inspire young people to get involved in sports. I feel proud to get the recognition as a role model.”
Dennis said his son had a bright future in the game.
“He is focused on the game and gives his all whenever he’s competing. His dedication shows itself at the course during practice rounds and tournaments.”
He said he was looking forward to seeing his son emulating the likes of Els and the country’s other established pro golfers.
“But education must come first.”
Gauteng Sports Awards spokesperson Laura Rennie said: “As organisers of the awards, we are humbled by the role Caleb is playing. We would like to encourage other youngsters to follow in his footsteps.”