Crystal, a golfing gem

While the Alfred Dunhill Links is being played this week at St Andrews, 16-year-old Crystal Beukes from Somerset West will be at Cypress Lakes, Australia competing against some of the world’s top amateurs in the Jack Newton International Junior Classic.

Crystal is one of the rising stars of South Africa’s junior golf scene. From the age of eight she has been benefiting from the help of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), which receives support from the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation.

She is undaunted at the challenges she will face this week with this step up in class. “You mustn’t be afraid to play with better players, because it will improve your game,” she says.

She recalls: “My brother Riaan played in junior events and I would tag along with my parents. One day I thought I may as well start playing myself. I began to receive lessons from the SAGDB and by nine I was competing.”

There have already been many highlights in her career, but Crystal points to winning the Boland Senior Women’s Matchplay Championship last year, and pushing eventual winner Cara Gorlei to the 19th hole in the quarter-final of the SA Women’s Amateur Championships earlier this year as her best moments.

Academics are a priority and she aims to secure a golf scholarship to a US college. She was top of her grade 8 class at Hottentot’s Holland High before earning a scholarship to Reddam House Somerset West, where she is excelling.

When asked who her golfing hero is, she is unequivocal that it is Michelle Wie. “I’m a fan because of her attitude,” says Beukes. “She went through a very bad patch, but is back playing brilliant golf. I admire her passion, of never giving up, and knowing you are good enough to get back to the top.”