Story by Augusta women’s golf senior and marketing intern Teresa Diez-Moliner
Augusta University men’s golf trio Alex, Ben and CJ van Wyk are three brothers from George, South Africa. Alex and Ben are currently studying at Augusta University and their little brother CJ is coming next Fall in 2021 to compete with the Jaguars.
Alex van Wyk, junior at Augusta University, came to Augusta in 2018 to pursue his dream of playing collegiate golf. One year later, his younger brother Ben followed his love for golf to Augusta and now their youngest brother CJ is joining in their footsteps to be a part of the Jaguar family.
“Back home in South Africa we don’t have the opportunity to play golf and study at the same time,” Alex van Wyk said. “You either continue to turn professional or you must quit golf and study full time. In the U.S. you have the chance to do both at a high level, so I immediately started thinking about moving here to pursue my dreams.”
From the beginning of the recruiting process, Alex had a good feeling about the Augusta golf program.
“I had heard of Augusta previously, because it is so close to Augusta National, which is every golfer´s dream course. I also knew the assistant coach, JP van der Walt,” Alex said. “JP was the one who recruited me and it was very comforting knowing that there is someone from the same country as me that was also in Augusta.”
The Jaguars’ previous success is also what drove Alex to Augusta.
“When looking into Augusta´s golf program, one thing that was a big draw to me was that they were a Division-I team and they won the National Championship back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011.”
Having two siblings playing at a collegiate level on the same team is not common, but having three is very rare. The three brothers are so excited to be back together again after so much time apart. The van Wyk family is a golf family. The boys began playing golf thanks to their dad who introduced them to the sport and taught them the game of golf at young ages.
“I started hitting balls when I was seven and I started competing and playing tournaments when I was nine,” Alex said. “When I started playing I just fell in love with the golf game. Ben started at the same time, but he was six years old and didn´t like it that much at first.”
“After some time, our dad pushed me to go so we could all have fun together and I started liking it over the years,” Ben said.
On the golf course, the brothers seem to have different outlooks on how they handle themselves. Ben considers himself as “very passionate” and one who can deal with anger on the course and not affecting his next shot, while Alex says he is “very levelheaded” and one who stays in the present and keeps fighting on every shot. Despite different approaches, they are always supportive.
“My brother is always someone that I can ask for advice about anything,” Ben said. “He is always willing to help me. My big brother is a person that I look up to because he is such a hard worker, he´s very organized, and he is kind to everyone and will help anybody. I love having him here, he´s a great support.”
Alex and Ben find great comfort in knowing that he has his younger brother here, and his other younger brother CJ will soon be joining them.
“It´s nice having a brother here to speak Afrikaans (our language) with me. Having a part of my family here and not being alone in a foreign country makes me feel more at home,” Alex said.
When asked about home, Ben said, “Of course I miss home, the people, and my family, but I like being thrown in the deep end. I enjoy being able to do my own stuff and deal with it and mature and grow as a person. Playing for Augusta University gives me the chance to compete at a high level. I love the level of competition; it is definitively the best out here. That´s what brought me to Augusta.”