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Disability does not get young golfer down
: Charl Theron in action during the 2015 Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open at Zwartkop Country Club. Photo: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

Talented young golfer from the Somerset West Golf Club and top South African Disabled Golf Association junior (SADGA) Charl Theron is the DistrictMail/Let’s Play sport star for May.

Theron (17) was born with Arthrogryposis – an incurable congenital joint disease where some of the joints don’t move as much as normal and are often frozen in one position.

This has, however, not deterred him from playing golf and excelling at the sport. He was recently quoted saying that his only handicap is his golf handicap.

Theron’s father, Marius, says despite his son’s condition, he also played hockey at primary school.

“He has a good eye for the ball and good ball skills, but owing to his limited movement could not move around quickly and play in team sports,” Marius says.

“When he was 11, I took him to the driving range near Somerset Mall. One of the instructors said he had talent and offered to coach him. From then, Charl progressed in leaps and bounds.”

Theron was introduced to SADGA aged 13 and started playing from an 18 handicap; he currently plays from a two handicap.

He is also a member of the First Swing programme for juniors at SADGA and as their top junior player. He also holds the second place on the overall Order of Merit list for disabled golfers in South Africa.

He recently returned from his fourth Nedbank SA Open for disabled golfers at Zwartkop Country Club in Centurion. He finished fifth overall after 54 holes, and won the junior and u. 23 titles. He was the runner-up in his category.

As a junior and playing from a two handicap, he played alongside some of the top senior disabled golfers in the world.

He is also very competitive among able-bodied players, playing for Paul Roos Gymnasium’s first team.

Theron has made an impact on the junior circuit the last 10 months. He was runner-up at King David and third at Milnerton Links during the WP Junior Foundation tournaments last year. He also recorded a victory in the Swing Fit Winter Tournament at Pearl Valley Golf Estate.

In April he competed against a strong field, including top Western Province juniors Luca Filippi and Michael Sherrif, in the Kenako Academy Schools Golf Festival in George. He finished in 15th place.

He was also selected to the Boland Schools’ team, which it seems he will be selected for again following an impressive performance at the recent trials in Robertson.

Charl represented WP three times and was the only junior selected for the senior inter-provincial tournament in Gauteng in February.

He is definitely one of the rising young stars of disabled golf

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