Even if you are not an avid golfer, you would have to agree that our golf course is nothing short of exquisite to look at. While we are routinely complimented on the condition of the course, and how brilliantly it plays…the credit goes to an unassuming, humble gentleman and a team of hardworking greenkeepers. In this edition, we get to know Amos Sibiya, the man on our greens.
It’s a gorgeous Thursday morning.
Two golfers are quietly, and safely, enjoying a quick bite at Halfway House. As Amos, a tall somebody, lopes by, they greet him with enthusiastic waves.
Sports Manager Warren Abery leads Amos into the Fig Tree for our interview, and above his face mask, a pair of bright eyes twinkle. This is remarkable, I think, for someone who has been on duty for six hours, already!
“Every day, my alarm is set for 3.30am,” Amos speaks softly. “Because I live in Waterloo, and I know I must be here at 5am.” Upon seeing my shocked face, Amos chortles and explains why he arrives at Simbithi Country Club so early. “Everything in greenkeeping must run to time. I make sure I am here an hour before the course opens, so everything is ready for when the golfers arrive at 6am.”
A typical morning for Amos begins with preparation: before the rest of the greenkeeping staff arrives he finalises the day’s schedule, writing out each greenkeeper’s daily tasks on a board. “When everyone is here we pray. Then, we each set out to the areas of the course where we will work for the day.”
Amos’s greenkeeping career began at Mount Edgecombe Country Club. He started out as part of a team of six from Matkovich (Mount Edgecombe) Golf Course Maintenance draining fairways and maintaining cart paths. From there, he progressed to raking bunkers and cutting tees. Soon, he was a supervising greenkeeper. After six months, Maktovich moved Amos to Simbithi, where he has been for four years.
“This course is beautiful, and has become easy to maintain. I have learnt a lot with Matko, and I now feel confident to apply this knowledge to Simbithi,” Amos says. “When people tell us how good the course looks, it makes my team and I feel wonderful because our work is appreciated. We take pride in this course.”
The compliments were aplenty earlier this year, when the golfers returned to the Course after the national lockdown. Amos, his wife Mary and Victor Mhlongo temporarily relocated to the Estate and continued to maintain the course throughout the lockdown. While being away from home was not without its difficulties, Amos enjoyed having the “freedom” of the course. “Nobody was around, and we did not have to be so strict with our timing. So, we got time to make it beautiful.”
Though the work the greenkeepers do changes seasonally, Amos is grateful for every day he and his team spend on the course. His favourite time to be out is first thing in the morning, when the course is still “waking up”.
And, he leads by example, getting stuck in with his team. “Amos is always out on the course,” says Warren. “He takes the greatest of pride in what he does, and our golfers get to reap the rewards of an outstanding course. We are very grateful to have him and his team on Simbithi!”