Meet Elbert du Plessis

When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, one usually hears the usual suspects: doctor, lawyer, policeman, fireman…and, so on. ‘Professional golfer’ does not typically feature high on the list. For a young Elbert du Plessis in Alberton, gentlemen like Ernie Els and Retief Goosen changed that. “We idolised them,” Elbert says. “Golf in Germiston Country Club, where I was a member, was quite strong, too: many Springboks came through our local club and we got to see legends like Ernie and Phil Simmons in our hometown. That really got the fire going.”

 

When Elbert decided to take up golf seriously, at 14 years old, it was like a duck taking to water. “I really had a passion for the sport. I had been playing cricket, and had a setback which propelled me back to golf.” After matriculating in 2002, Elbert’s prowess in golf opened international doors. “I was fortunate enough to travel extensively before I turned 21. Without golf, that would not have happened,” he says. “Travelling, and playing in tournaments around the world showed me the value of coaching and mentorship. Across the world, golf is a common language and travelling deepened my passion. The longer I played, the more I realised I wanted to make a difference in the sport.”

 

When Elbert returned to South Africa in 2006, he began his Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) apprenticeship at Mount Edgecombe Country Club. He credits three local giants: Phil Simmons, Hilton Anderson and Steve Cottingham for mentoring him. Four years later, in 2010, a freshly qualified Elbert began his journey with Simbithi Country Club. “It was a big year,” Elbert remembers. “The World Cup was on, and the airport had just moved north. Simbithi’s course was just about three years old, with three houses on the course. When I arrived in 2010, all these factors contributed to a massive boom for golf.”

 

Having headed golf up for eight years, Elbert has become a familiar fixture at the Club. Whether it’s asking for a quick tip before they head out for the first nine, or handing over a faulty club for his expert opinion, he shares a great relationship with most members. And that, Elbert believes, is the magic of sport. “Golf, particularly, taught me much about relationships. Growing up, golf gave me two hours of special time with my father once a week. It pulled our family closer together, as my mother and siblings trekked after me at every tournament. And now, at Simbithi, it has allowed me to form some solid relationships.”

 

At the beginning of the year, Elbert was promoted to spearhead Simbithi’s new sport department, a role he is relishing. “I am a professional golfer, but I am incredibly fervent about sport, in general. Working with sport on the Estate for the past six months has been rewarding; we now have five different sporting codes active. It is so awesome to see how we have grown!”