Every year the university welcomes hundreds of athletes from all over the country and even the world. This fall has been no different.
The golf team opened its arms to freshman sport management major Bryce Myburgh who comes all the way from a small sea-side village, Ballito, in South Africa.
He became aware of UMHB after doing a search on Collegeboard.com.
“There were so many options, and there were few that gave good scholarships,” he said. “But UMHB was one of the best. I believe a big part of my choice to come here was that God led me here.”
Myburgh has been interested in other sports including field hockey, rugby and soccer, but since the age of 13, golf has been the dominant one in his life, and it was another part of his decision to join the Cru.
Head coach Aaron Rodeffer actually remembers getting an e-mail from Myburgh sometime last August. Having no experience in recruiting international players, he consulted Randy Mann, the previous head coach, asking if he’d ever had luck dealing with golfers who lived out of the country. Mann explained how it was difficult to obtain internationals because of their inability to get funding from the government, but he decided to give it a shot anyway.
After several e-mails and determining the time difference, Rodeffer made the call to speak with Myburgh.
“It’s seven hours between here and South Africa,” he said. “I spoke with him, had a great conversation and started down the road to see if it was something that would work out.”
Since Rodeffer would not be able to see him perform in a tournament, he relied on Myburgh’s stats.
“I looked at his resume and his numbers from all the competitions he’s been in,and they were really good,” Rodefer said. “Plus, he played on the South African Amateur Tour, which is a big time tour …. If he’s good enough to compete on that, then he’s good enough to play here,” Rodefer said.
“Myburgh always has a positive attitude, even when he’s not playing his best. He has a good short game and he strikes the ball well, but he’s still adjusting to golf in the U.S. The courses in South Africa are measured in yards, whereas here, they’re measured in feet.”
“That’s a huge difference in trying to figure out what club to hit. Not only is he trying to figure out the conditions, he’s also got to do some quick conversions so he knows which club to hit,” he said.
Myburgh seems to have no problem getting used to his new environment.
Sophomore exercise sport science major Mike Mc-Quaid said, “Bryce is one of the most laid-back guys I’ve
ever met. We’ve got along since day one. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him for work studies, and we’ve become pretty good friends.”
Naturally, there are some things Myburgh misses—the ocean, which was like his second home, and of course all of his family. They remain supportive in South Africa, but he is here alone.
He was also in a youth band back home where he played the drums and even the guitar. However, he is
happy at this point, and does not wish to return anytime soon.
“My parents are thinking of coming down here for Christmas,” Myburgh said. “My mom’s best friend lives in Canada, so we might go there. But I’m not going home until next summer.”
He likes the newness of everything and enjoys experiencing a different culture.
“He loves the campus and he’s fit in really well with the guys on the team,” Rodefer said. “I think if he can continue to work on the golf side of things, he will be a great asset in the future.”