Dear SADGA Members, Sponsors and Partners
As the sun sets on a prosperous 2023, it is time to tally up the birdies and bogeys and look ahead to the round of golf that is the year to come.
Increased playing opportunities for our membership always sits high on the priority list for each and every year and it’s safe to say we made a comfortable birdie with no fewer than five SADGA Opens forming part of the SADGA Open Series.
The continued support of a number of parties remains the lifeblood of our association. Nomads leant their name and support to multiple SADGA Open Series events and continued to show their support for the First Swing Program by co-sponsoring a Modified Golf Environment at Mason Lincoln Special School in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
In the same vein, the City of Cape Town’s support of disabled golf continues to be immense, highlighted by their sponsorship of a third Cape Town Disabled Golf Open in as many years.
The support of a number of the Provincial Golf Unions has ensured that disabled golf continues to flourish in various parts of the country. The Boland Golf Union have provided tremendous support to their representatives by funding their participation in SADGA Tournaments as well as coaching services for De La Bat and NID (National Institute for the Deaf).
Central Gauteng Golf Union have also been incredibly generous through their sponsorship of the First Swing Programs at St Vincent School For The Deaf and West Rand School respectively.
The KZN Golf Union continues to be a shining example of the support other unions ought to lend disabled golf: The funding they provided was key to the construction of the Mason Lincoln Modified Golf Environment and the employment of three disabled coaches to assist PGA Professional Sandile Msimango has greatly enhanced the First Swing Program in the region.
The Gauteng North Golf Union leant financial support to our beloved Top Team – our GNGU Handicap League Team and have pledged their continued support for the league in 2024 which is greatly appreciated.
Ekhuruleni Golf Union and ERPM Golf Club meanwhile have supported Wilfred De Bruin’s participation in our events while Southern Cape Golf Union also made it possible for a trio of their golfers to participate in the Cape Town Disabled Golf Open Hosted By The City of Cape Town.
The King David Sports Trust continues to support the Western Province SADGA along with a monthly contribution from Western Province Golf.
I’d also like to tip my cap and say a massive thank you to our national federation, GolfRSA, whose support of disabled golf has been key to the quality of service we provide to our members.
SADGA standout David Watts wrapped up a successful year by winning the Physically-Disabled Medal title at the Cape Town Disabled Golf Open Hosted By The City of Cape Town at King David Mowbray Golf Club, successfully defending his title by a 10-stroke margin. It capped a wonderful year for SADGA’s Business Development & Sponsorship Manager who won his first G4D Tour title in February in Singapore, teed it up in the inaugural G4D Open at Woburn Golf Club in May and was also named Department of Sport Art & Culture Kwa-Zulu Natal Disabled Sportsperson of The Year.
In David’s new role with the SADGA, he has undertaken to launch an exciting new SADGA venture known as the All Abilities Golf Tour which will feature a 10-tournament schedule that affords our members the opportunity to not only develop their talent for the game but will hopefully lead to increased participation on the international stage too!
But it wasn’t just Watts who left his mark on the global stage in 2023. SADGA Women’s Golf Ambassador Charlene Pienaar won the SA Blind Golf Open at Milnerton Golf Club before sweeping to victory in the IBGA World Championship later that same week. We are incredibly proud of the fact that we have two International champions within our ranks.
Closer to home was the announcement of Kelvin Van Baalen as our First Swing Program Ambassador and Craig Stirton as Media Ambassador. Kelvin has done terrific work in breathing new life into the First Swing Program in Central Gauteng and has met the challenges of his FSP coaching with a great deal of enthusiasm. It was also wonderful to have Craig in attendance at the G4D Tour @ BMW Championship played at Wentworth Club and see him be given the opportunity to interview the likes of 5-time PGA Tour winner turned disabled golfer Ken Green and EDGA Ambassador Tony Johnstone.
2023 was a bright year for the First Swing Program as our development structure returned to full strength across a number of regions. The Physically-Disabled and Deaf Interschools events which took place were a terrific showcase of not only the talent the FSP golfers have for the game but the love they have for it too.
As we look ahead to 2024, the hope is that the First Swing Program continues to go from strength to strength. It would be particularly fantastic to have an increase in our female membership too who are able to follow in Charlene’s trailblazing footsteps in the years to come.
On the whole there has been plenty of reason to celebrate in 2023 and with the groundwork laid for 2024, plenty of reason to be optimistic for a fantastic round to come!
On behalf of the SADGA Board of Directors and staff, I’d like to wish all of you a restful holiday season ahead of what promises to be an even more prosperous 2024.
Please note the SADGA offices will reopen on the 9th of January 2024.