With the end of 2019 fast-approaching, it is time to reflect on a year of watershed moments, successes, sadness but most of all the continued growth of disabled golf in South Africa.
The year began in familiar fashion with the Nomads FSP Coaches Workshop held at King David Mowbray Golf Club. The energy among our wonderful team of First Swing Program coaches was fantastic as always. Their enthusiasm and out of the box thinking helped us lay the groundwork to enhance the overall experience of our First Swing Program children and ensure that golf remains not only a source of fun but also a medium through which they learn the values we covet such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. A sincere thank you to Nomads for also positively impacting the lives of our FSP children through the donation of apparel and equipment which have allowed our FSP children to pit their skills against one another in a number of different tournaments during the course of the year.
The annual Provincial Challenge took place in the first week of March at Magalies Park Golf Club. Pieter Verwey’s men once again had the wood on Central Gauteng and the ROCS outfits as they beat Central Gauteng 15.5-13 for their fourth successive triumph. 2020 will mark the beginning of a new era for the team event. It will feature a North-South style format and each team will consist of eight players. Each captain will also be allocated three captain’s picks too. We’re also off to our Gauteng North home Zwartkop Country Club after two wonderful years at Magalies Park.
Our flagship event, the Canon SA Disabled Golf Open was indeed a high-spot for the year. Congratulations must go to England’s Mike Browne who made it two wins in a row courtesy of a whopping 11-shot triumph. A potential Browne hat-trick will be among the great storylines for next year’s event which moves to the beautiful Mount Edgecombe Country Club in Durban.
Canon South Africa’s support of the SADGA has been immense and unwavering over the years and this year was no different. 2020 will see Canon South Africa enter into its third and final year as title-sponsor of the event. We are grateful to Canon for their hand in the expansion of the tournament and look forward to our continued affiliation as they will remain a secondary-sponsor beyond 2020. We are now on the look-out for Canon SA’s successor as title-sponsor and would welcome any interested parties.
The staging of various Festival Weeks across the country throughout the year are tremendous vehicles for raising the profile of disabled golf while also raising much needed funds for the association. Thanks to our homes of disabled golf for hosting these events – Zwartkop Country Club , King David Mowbray Golf Club & Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate in KZN as well as our special title sponsors of the day – Watches Unlimited, Nedbank, Nooitgedacht Village Wine Estate a
This year too has seen the SADGA’s continued integration into GolfRSA. The signing of a Memorandum of Intent was a big step in the right direction and we are pleased to have our director Craig Moorgas as our voice on the GolfRSA board. We look forward to our affiliation going from strength to strength in 2020.
2019, however, has seen the passing of some of our most beloved SADGA members. The untimely passing of Jeff Bartlett came as a shock to all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His contribution to disabled golf in KZN will live long in the memory and he will be missed by everyone at the SADGA. So too Kulk Marthinus known affectionately as “Oom Kulk”. If ever there was somebody who typified all that was good about the game it was Oom Kulk. His friendly nature and wealth of knowledge made him the ideal teacher for players of all abilities and we are grateful to him for his years of service and the role he played in molding the characters of all those he taught. Lastly, but certainly not least, Conrad Stoltz who was another legend of the SADGA. We miss all three of these awesome people a great deal.
The final week of November saw the staging of the Canon National Deaf Junior Tournament. As always Magalies Park was an awesome venue with a golf course that was in pristine condition. Congratulations to Buhle Dlamini who punched his ticket to next year’s Canon SA Disabled Golf Open with an eight point victory. In all, six players from the event earned spots in the Mount Edgecombe field and we cannot wait to see how they fare in their maiden Open appearances.
A cornerstone of the SADGA’s continued growth is the staging of countrywide Monthly Provincial Days. The sustained success of the Gauteng North Provincial days has been pleasing and sincere thanks must go to Johan Du Plooy, Jodi Schultz and Karen Van Huysten for playing such integral roles in ensuring the days are well run.
The KZN Golf Union’s contribution too has been invaluable. The union has stuck by disabled golf in spite of the economic uncertainty which continues to adversely affect much of the country.
The Western Province Golf Union too have ensured disabled golf in their region continues to thrive through their monthly contributions. To the Southern Cape Golf Union and our FSP coach Carlo Kok for all your efforts which help to keep our program in George going, thank you for everything. To Central Gauteng Golf Union for helping us restart the First Swing Program in the region by covering our running costs.
Disabled golf in the Eastern Cape has also been on the rise in 2019. This is largely due to the efforts of FSP coaches Sean Lottering and Tyler Watts who initiated the first provincial days held in Port Elizabeth in 2019. The First Swing Program in the region too has also expanded. This can be attributed to Eastern Province Golf Union’s contribution of a vehicle which makes transporting the FSP children to and from PE Golf Club easy and safe. The contributions of the Limpopo and Border Golf Unions too are greatly appreciated.
A number of golf clubs across the country have been instrumental in contributing to disabled golf in their region – thank you for providing us with the resources necessary to grow disabled golf.
With events staged countrywide it is imperative that we have safe and reliable transport. A massive thank you must go to our dear SADGA member Oupa and Volkswagen for sponsoring our VW Caddy and for providing transport wherever and whenever it is needed by our golfers.
2019 has certainly had its share of ups and downs but we cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for the SADGA. On behalf of the SADGA Chairman & Directors, Staff & Academy Students we wish you all the best for the upcoming festivities and thank you for all of your support and wish you the best for the coming year 2020.
SADGA Operations Manager
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