Gary Pouponneau qualifies as Seychelles’ third pro golfer, plans to grow game locally

(Seychelles News Agency) – Gary Pouponneau became Seychelles’ third professional golfer after qualifying as Association of professional golfers (PGA) A-class player in South Africa.

Pouponneau, who is the director of golf at the Constance Lemuria Golf Courseon the second most populated island of Praslin, he successfully completed a three-year course at the Bryanston Country Club in South Africa.

He was presented with his certificate earlier this month to become Seychelles’ third golf pro. The other two are his mentor William Weidner and Yves Edmond.

SNA spoke to Pouponneau to find out more about his future plans as a professional.

SNA: How did you start playing golf?

GP: I started playing golf at what was previously called the Reef Golf Club attached to the Reef Hotel at the time. I was first introduced to golf by a friend of my brother. His father was a member of the Reef Golf Club at the time. One day he asked my brother to come and play with him at the golf course on a Sunday afternoon. We sneaked onto the golf course at hole 7, which was very close to my parents’ house. The club house closes around 5pm on Sundays and there was no one on the pitch at that time. We took the opportunity to try to play.

Without knowing anything, we simply took the golf club and tried to swing it our way. A few times we were spotted by the Director of the Golf Club and ran away because we didn’t know how to play and we were just digging holes around the course. Being interested in sports, we started caddy for players. The golf club hosted a caddy tournament and I was the winner of that event. As a reward, I won a membership and that’s how I started playing golf.

SNA: What were the highlights for you in the local golf tournaments?

GP: Me he competed in many local tournaments as a junior and won many, some such as Seybrew Classic, Barclays Mug, Cable & Wireless and match play. My most memorable victory was the club championship.

SNA: When did you decide you wanted to become a professional player?

GP: I am very grateful to have my hobby which has become a passion and now my career. Since joining Lemuria, I have worked with six different golf pros and have collected a little from everyone to improve myself because I wanted to go this path.

My goal was to one day play professionally or become a golf club manager. In 2011 I attended a golf teaching and teaching certification course with the South African Golf Teachers Federation (SAGTF) ​​and was also a member of the World Golf Teachers Federation (WGTF). After successfully passing the course, I lost my amateur status and became a Teaching Pro.



Pouponneau is the director of golf at the Constance Lemuria Golf Course on Praslin. (Vanessa Lucas, Seychelles Tourism) Photo license: CC-BY

SNA: What was it like training to become a pro in South Africa?

GP: Training with the South African PGA was a challenging journey and fun learning. I got to explore the golf industry more thoroughly. I got to meet other golfers and make friends and contacts in this industry. I have found that there are many opportunities to grow and develop your golf skills.

SNA: As a professional in sport what are your future projects?

GP: The plan is to grow the game of golf locally by introducing it to more young people and women. Encourage and support young people as they are the future of golf in the Seychelles. My personal plan is to play in professional events and bring trophies.

SNA: What sacrifices did you make to get to where you are now?

GP: There was a lot of sacrifice and effort during the three-year program. Considering that you have a daily job and the responsibilities that come with it, a family and finding the balance and time to study and deliver homework was a challenge. There were a lot of sleepless nights, even though I was taking vacation from work, I still had to keep up with my homework and studies.

My goals from the start were to make sure I pass all exams and follow the standards to become a fully qualified PGA professional. I was surprised and even prouder of myself when I was announced as runner-up for 2022 out of 33 Associates.

SNA: What would you say it takes to be a good golfer?

GP: It depends on how you define it as good. It takes years to be good at golf. Some people who are exceptionally talented and hardworking can learn the game in about a year, most people will take a few years.

Golf is complicated and involves more than just the physical side, there is also a huge mental side to golf. It is almost impossible to improve in golf without at least putting some time into practice. The more time you spend, the better you can get and make sure your practice is effective.

SNA: What do you think about the level of golf in the Seychelles right now?

GP: We have come a long way and still have room for improvement. We have good and talented golfers in the Seychelles. To move to the next level, we need more exposure to international competition. The more you play in other places, you can test your skills with other players and help bring your best game.

SNA: What advice do you have now for young Seychelles golfers who want to become professionals?

GP: If you want to reach the Pro level, you need to be fully involved and dedicate your time to golf. There are a lot of sacrifices and, like in any other sport, it takes hours and hours of practice to develop your game.

Commit to work very hard and have self-discipline. Golf has taken on a new trend in the past couple of years. To be able to reach the highest level, players should be willing to spend hours in the gym for fitness, but not just focus on their game as they need both fitness and a good swing to play at their best.

And nutritional regimens so they make sure every part of their body can work to swing the club as efficiently as possible. There is also the mental part of staying focused to achieve your goals.

SNA: Do you have any words of encouragement for aspiring golfers?

GP: Golf is a fascinating and interesting game; it’s difficult and can be frustrating at first. The most important thing is to learn to have fun and have fun.

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