SOUTH AFRICAN BLIND GOLF ASSOCIATION (SABGA)
International Blind Golf Association (IBGA) ISPS Handa
World Championships & Japanese Blind Open - 2016
The 2016 ISPS Handa Japanese Blind Golf Open and the 2016 ISPS Handa World Blind Golf Championships took place at the Shinrin Kohen Golf Club in Japan from the 7th to the 10th of November.
The course was an impressive 18-hole (par 72) layout set in a heavily wooded and undulating landscape. The course was in superb condition, and included two greens on each hole. While not long, the course presented a tough challenge with out-of-bounds being a continual threat in the hilly landscape.
The South African team was as follows:
Garrett Slattery (player), Erich Kliem (guide)
Ernst Conradie (player), Jurie Maré (guide)
Johan Kotze ( player), Jaco Smit (guide)
Leon Strydom (player), Charl Enslin (guide)
Golf for the visually impaired is heavily reliant on the player’s sighted guide. This person not only watches the golf ball, but assists the player with club selection and, crucially, alignment.
2016 ISPS Handa Japanese Blind Open
The 2016 ISPS Handa Japanese Blind Open was played over 18 holes, the format being Gross and Stableford points. The event had a record-breaking 80 participants from all around the world. Despite the cold weather, conditions were otherwise excellent with no rain or wind to contend with.
The South African players, ably assisted by their dedicated and excellent guides, performed very well. Garrett finished 2nd Gross (with an 88) and 4th net in the B2 sight category. Johan earned a top-20 finish in the same sight category. Ernst and Leon achieved top-20 finishes in the B3 sight category. With all of our players in the top half of the field it was certainly a very successful outing.
2016 ISPS Handa World Blind Golf Championships
This event is the pinnacle of blind golf, and is staged in a different country every two years. The 2014 event took place in Australia. South Africa was allocated four places for this event.
The event was played over 36 holes of Medal play, Gross and Net. The first day was cold and very windy, making play very challenging. However, the golf was again of a high standard. The second day was still very cold, but had much less wind.
The South African players again did very well. While Garrett was unable to successfully defend the World Title he won two years ago in Australia, he was not far away. With a 36-hole Gross 182 Garrett finished 3rd in the B2 sight category, and in a tie for 3rd in the Overall Net (across all sight categories) with a net score of 136. Johan (with s solid 36-hole Gross of 213) finished 12th Gross in the B2 sight category, and achieved a top-20 in the Overall Net. Some good golf from Leon and Ernst saw them finishing in the top-15 in the B3 Gross category.
We would like to thanks all of our sponsors who made it possible for us to participate in this event, and to be so well attired. We are proud to be associated with you.