- Llewellyn Barnes was orphaned at the age of 10 and was homeless for most of his life
- Barnes worked informally as a golfing caddie for much of his life
- In 2019, he was presented with an opportunity to play golf and against all odds, has qualified as a professional golfer at the age of 59
There are many lessons to be learnt from the story of Llewellyn Barnes.
Despite the odds being stacked heavily against him, the homeless man has qualified as a professional golfer.
Briefly.co.za learnt that Barnes' challenges began since the age of 10 after losing his father.
Due to the fact that his mother could not financially support the children, he was separated from his mother and siblings.
This is where his passion for golf began as he was placed in a hostel at Zwartkops golf course in Centurion.
After attending school, Barnes would rush home to the golf course to earn an income working as a caddie.
Barnes explained, "This is where my love for the game started. I dreamed that one day I would become a professional golfer.“
Sadly, Barnes suffered abuse at the hands of teachers and children. He fled Zwartkops at the age of 13 and this is where his life on the street began.
Barnes reunited with his mother while in his teens, but it was short-lived and was forced back to Zwartkops.
He said, "I caddied for a couple of years, sleeping under a tree after a day on the golf course. On cold winter nights, the other caddies and I would make huge fires to stay warm, it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy, but we made it through together”
In 2019, his luck changed dramatically as the golf club offered him a container to live in.
He also struck up a friendship with Gareth Frost, who was running a 'breakfast club' for the homeless at Weirda bridge.
One day, Barnes revealed to Frost that he had an ability to actually play the game, but needed a sponsor.
Despite the challenges, Frost duly assisted and thanks to their combined efforts, Barnes has qualified as a professional golfer.
Barnes is now eligible to enter into the Senior Tour, a major professional tournament part of the Sunshine Golf Tour.
Barnes said, “I am so excited about the Senior Tour. The chance to show my true colours means the world to me. It has always been my dream to participate in a proper tournament against professional players. This is an opportunity for me to let go of the weight of my past and look to a new future. My only focus is the game now and I am practising to be at my best.”
However, due to tournament rules, there are numerous costs involved and a fundraising campaign has been initiated.
With the assistance of non-profit organisation, Fearless Love, a crowdfunding project was launched via BackaBuddy.
For those willing and able to contribute, Zane Groenewald can be contacted for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org - 082 602 0735.
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