PGA of SA has bold plans under Marks

Michael Vlismas

JOHANNESBURG (3 November 2014) - The PGA of South Africa has a vision to spearhead the growth of golf throughout the rest of Africa, and current Chairman Paul Marks is ready to take the lead in this bold initiative.

Now into his third year at the helm of the PGA of SA, Marks says the organisation is at a point where it is respected globally as the driving force of club golf on the continent.

"We are very much a part of the PGA World Alliance and they seek our input in terms of what we are doing in South Africa, and also our plans for the rest of Africa," says Marks.

"Part of the legacy I would like to be involved with is how we grow the game of golf in Africa. I'm intent on trying to deliver this, and assist the Royal and Ancient with growing the game in Africa."

From his office at Woodhill Golf Estate, where he is the Golf Director, Marks speaks with incredible passion for the PGA and the journey he has taken to this point in his career.

"I did my PGA apprenticeship at Germiston Country Club under the legendary Phil Simmons. After qualifying in 1995, I followed my desire to play on the Sunshine Tour. I did that for six or seven years and loved it. In December 2000, Phil told me he was moving on and had recommended me for the post at Germiston, and I decided to take it."

With R30 000 in start-up capital, Marks opened his pro shop at Germiston Country Club and began a career that has seen him become one of the country's most successful and influential PGA professionals. In 2005 he was voted the PGA Professional of the Year, the same year was voted onto the Board of the PGA of SA before being elected as Chairman.

Marks says he and his team feel a strong sense of needing to build on what some of this country's greatest PGA professionals have done for the organisation.

"I've been privileged to have learnt from some of the great PGA professionals in South Africa. As a Board we now have to take it to the next level. The PGA is as good as its member, and as such the Board is not prepared to qualify any person that is not 110% ready to go into the marketplace.

"The current golf market is competitive and tough, and clubs are looking for value in terms of their PGA pro. The golf industry is hard work, and the pros have to gear themselves to success, whether it's in teaching or management at the golf clubs."

When he's off the golf course, Marks says he loves to indulge his passions for cycling and fishing.

"My wife, two children and I live in Kyalami, and I've got a great bunch of guys I cycle with, including my good friend Bruce Reyneke. I'm a keen road cyclist and am quite competitive in the 40-45 category. It keeps me fit and is good for my golf game. I'm also a mad fisherman, and I love the bush."

Marks says he has no personal timeframes on his current position.

"I'm here to serve the PGA of SA and I'll remain Chairman for as long as the Board wants me to. The PGA of SA is in a very healthy space at the moment. We're ticking all the right boxes, and there are exciting times ahead.

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About the PGA of South Africa

The Professional Golfers Association of South Africa is a members' organization of over 500 qualified Club Professionals. The PGA was founded in 1925 and lists amongst its members over the years many of South Africa's greatest golfers and most dedicated servants of the game.

The PGA is committed to training and serving golf pros whose principal aim is to offer a highly professional service to golfers in all aspects of the game.

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