11 years and 2 days. That’s how much time passed between exhibition matches contested between the United Kingdom’s Simpson Cup squad and the South African Disabled Golf Association. The wonderful day spent at De Zalze Golf Club was worth the wait and illustrated once again how people from radically different walks of life can find commonality through their circumstances and shared love of golf.
The Simpson Cup, the brainchild of John Simpson, began in 2012 as a tournament featuring former military personnel from the United Kingdom against a United States team. Simpson Cup teams comprise individuals who have become physically-disabled in the line of duty.
The injuries many of these individuals sustain rules them out of active service but the military’s loss has certainly been golf for persons with a disability’s gain.
Each time these individuals, and those members of the SADGA for that matter, tee it up they’re showing the world that they’re not afraid to live life to the full despite their circumstances.
The match – sponsored and paid for by Simpson and the On-Course Foundation – was a resounding success and the SADGA extends its sincere thank you to all involved for staging such a memorable day.
Simpson conveyed his hope that players from the UK and South Africa will contest more matches in the years to come.
“We are all very excited to be here, you make us feel so welcome and we’d love to see if we can continue doing this in the future,” said Simpson.
Also in attendance was SADGA patron Dale Hayes who pinpointed the players’ attitude towards golf as special.
“It is just a privilege to be around each and every one of you and the last few days I’ve been at De Zalze with the fellows from England has just been so enlightening,” said Hayes.
“The attitude, the fun that you have and the way that you approach life is just so special and I am learning more about you than you could ever learn about playing golf from me!”
From a players perspective, SADGA Brand Ambassador said the day offered an opportunity for the members of the SADGA to gain a different perspective.
“The fact that we get to play against the Simpson Cup guys, albeit in a very fun and social event, is a really nice way to interact with overseas players and with other disabled golfers,” said Watts.
“Interacting with these players, many of whom suffered terrible accidents in their lives through war, gives a different perspective.
“It was a great event, I was really happy to be a part of it. I’m sure all of the South African guys thoroughly enjoyed the day and hopefully this can become an annual event.”
Phot: South African Disabled Golf Association/ On-Course Foundation