Sixty of the SAGDB’s brightest talents showcased their golf expertise in the inaugural SAGDB / Nomads Imperial Auto MFC Golf Challenge held at Benoni
Country Club in July.
Although the SAGDB has been blazing a trail for golf development in South Africa since 1999, this marked the first time that rising stars from 10 golf unions across South Africa challenged each other in a team competition on a national stage.
Teams of six contested a medal Stableford tournament, with five of six scores counting towards their total. The rivalry was fierce and, after 36 holes of inspiring feats, rousing shot-making and a contest to savour, Mpumalanga triumphed on 305.
“I can’t describe how proud I am of this team,” said SAGDB Mpumalanga Regional Manager, Edwin Compton, who could barely hide his smile after his charges defeated Western Province by one stroke.
“We were the youngest province competing this week. I knew the format would be tough on them, because none of them have had any exposure to a team competition of this kind.
We held a week-long training camp in Witbank to prepare them properly and they lived, ate, practise and played together every day.
I am so proud of how our players handled the pressure and rallied for the win. They had a fantastic team spirit and showed great determination. I kept telling them that, no matter how badly they were playing, every shot counts and told them never to give up and in the end, it was that one shot that won it for us.”
Nomads Golf Club South Africa’s Director of Furtherance of Golf, Ken Walker, said the tournament was a wonderful opportunity to see SAGDB’s efforts in action. “Golf provides a unique platform to develop a wide set of skills in children,” Walker said.
“It teaches perseverance, endurance and skill, while the rules and regulations in golf shape a culture of integrity, confidence, respect and achievement.
Whether you are the world’s best golfer or a teen prodigy, the road to the top takes patience, commitment and hard, hard work, but that road is made all the more arduous when you come from a disadvantaged background.
It was absolutely wonderful to watch the sportsmanship and the skills of these youngsters and to see the sheer delight and determination on their faces as they battled for glory.
We had the opportunity to get to know some of the learners when we played with them in a separate competition after the SAGDB / Nomads Imperial Auto MFC Golf Challenge. It was a rare treat to witness our future champions at work. They are well on their way to joining South Africa’s healthy conveyor belt of talented winners.”
SAGDB CEO Grant Hepburn said the inaugural event was a thundering success. “We had aimed to host a team event of this nature since Mr Rupert founded the SAGDB and the time is perfect now that we have all 14 golf unions on board and wonderful sponsors in Nomads Golf Club South Africa, Imperial Auto and the Motor Finance Company.
“It was really fantastic to give learners from all over South Africa the chance to interact with each other. They have been inspired by this experience and hopefully we can have a full house next year with all 14 unions competing.
Events like these are crucial to sustain our learners’ development, to keep them motivated and to give them incentives to play for. We are greatly indebted to our sponsors and partners for their continued commitment to the SAGDB programme.”
(Stableford Points, 36 holes; five out six scores to count)
305 Western Province
285 Free State
279 Central Gauteng
274 Southern Cape
228 Eastern Province
194 Border; Northern Gauteng
INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUP WINNERS
68 points – Tristan Galant (Western Province
61 points – Christel Beukes (Boland)
58 points – Carl Mwale (Central Gauteng)
64 points – Lovely Maelane (Mpumalanga)
63 points – Riaan Rooi (Boland)
62 points – Marcelo van Rooyen (Western Province); Regardt Viljoen (Mpumalanga)
74 points – Attie van Wyk (Free State)
70 points – Stephen le Roux (Free State)
66 points – Gift Zulu (Mpumalanga); Franklin Manchest (Southern Cape)