Keaghan Roberts - 2023 Professional Development Award

Keaghan Roberts - 2023 Professional Development Award

IMG_6778 keaghan Roberts with Gary Player

Even in his high school playing days Keaghan Roberts considered himself a student of the game of golf.

It wasn’t until the young South African got to spend a few holes with his idol, Gary Player, however, that Roberts really grasped how much there was to learn about the game.

Roberts was scheduled to play in a high school tournament at his home course at Humewood Golf Club in Gqeberha, SA, and found out that Player was scheduled to be there earlier in the day.

“I went early and ran into him on the course and asked if I could watch him play,” recalls Roberts. “He said it was no problem. After about the second hole, he made me his caddy and started asking me for advice.”

The big moment for Roberts came on the par three sixth hole when Player hit a perfect shot to the middle of the green and then asked his advice to read the putt.

“I’d played there a lot so I knew the line and he responded ‘that’s correct, but why?'. And I couldn’t give him an answer,” said Roberts.

“Then he explained that I needed to look at where the ocean was, and how the green laid, and the sheen on the green. He even had me look at the cut of the hole and pointed out the side of the hole that is more worn is the side that the ball breaks towards.”

Whether he realized it at the time or not, Roberts had had an aha! moment with one the greatest professional golfers of all time.

“At that point, I didn’t know that I was going to become a coach. But the more I learned, the more I became fascinated in the game. And it became rewarding to use this information and pass it on to other people so they could feel the way I felt learning from Gary Player,” said Roberts.

IMG_6776 Keaghan Roberts with award
Now 26, and living in Canada, Roberts is the PGA of Ontario’s 2023 Professional Development Award recipient. He teaches at the Within Range golf facility in Burlington, Ontario where his Keaghan Roberts Golf is based.
Roberts emigrated to Canada in 2019, a move made easier by the fact that his brother was already living here and that their grandfather was from Montreal, meaning he could get a Canadian passport and Canadian citizenship.


After moving in with his brother in Milton, Ontario, Roberts took the initiative of emailing every golf course in the area looking for work.

“The only one that got back to me was Piper’s Heath and they said I could help with their junior camp,” says Roberts.

“People say that in golf, junior camps are the hardest things to do but at the end of the summer I felt quite revived. I wasn’t tired. I actually had a lot of fun thinking up drills for the kids and it confirmed my passion for teaching the game.”

IMG_6780 Keaghan Roberts playing

That was the summer of 2019. Roberts played in and joined the PGA of Canada. That day at the golf course in South Africa was the first of many interactions that Roberts has had with the World Golf Hall of Famer.

“After that first summer in Canada I got in touch with Mr. Player again to let him know that I was going to become a golf coach and he replied with excitement. He’s checked in with me a couple times to see how I've been doing,” said Roberts.

Player even left a congratulatory voice message on Roberts’ phone after finding out that he had won the PGA of Ontario Award.

Roberts was getting his feet wet as a coach in the spring of 2020 at the Vic Hadfield Driving Range and Learning Centre in Oakville when one of his students pointed out that there was another South African coach, Izak Fouche, over at Within Range in Burlington.

Roberts drove over and met Fouche and has been teaching at the Burlington location ever since. At the time Fouche was the Director of Golf there and he’s now the owner at Within Range in Markham.

“He mentored me a lot and I got to sit in on a lot of his lessons,” said Roberts. “I felt I knew a lot about the swing but I didn’t know how to convey the message.”

Fouche and Player joined Roberts’ father Mark as the people who most influenced his love for the game.

“My dad was a very good golfer, a club champion,” said Roberts. “He introduced me to the game and even built a chipping green in our back yard so I could practice.”

Even as his student base grows by leaps and bounds, Roberts continues to study the game online.

IMG_6779 Keaghan Roberts with University team

“As much as I want to be a teacher, I want to be a student at the same time,” says Roberts, who is currently working his way through the Titleist Performance Institute’s three-phase program. “I enjoy learning. I feel fulfilled after I’ve learned something new."

“It’s important to stay curious and put yourself in the position of your students. And it’s good to get outside your comfort zone.”

If you are interested in contacting Keaghan, he can be reached here.

Written by: Garry McKay


We will continue to highlight our 2023 PGA of Ontario Award recipients throughout the off-season!
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