SA Golf -
So, here I am in Cape Town, en-route to Langebaan for the Nedbank Disabled Golf Open. Wow Zille! This is indeed a World Class African City (to coin a phrase that has been abused and become just another cliché in the City of Johannesburg)! Despite enormous social challenges Cape Townis clean, it’s vibey, it’s cosmopolitan, and its pot-hole - less, has pleasant traffic police and - of course - the scenery is so breath-taking, particularly on a brisk late autumn day!
It’s also very laid back. So laid back in fact that, on arrival, my host inadvertently dropped me at the wrong hotel! I handed in my Corporate accommodation voucher and in no time was whisked off to my allocated wheelchair friendly abode. I changed and went down to the lobby to await the arrival of a business associate who was due at 15h00.
At 15h10 I received an SMS enquiring as to my whereabouts? “I am in the lobby as agreed,” I responded. “Can’t see you Scotty,” came the response! Seems that its one big family in Cape Town and that no one is really bothered as to who checks in where? Despite my voucher being hotel specific, the one next door was quite happy to have me stay! Phew! How confusing!
On to Langebaan. Around 100kmsfrom Cape Town up the West coast is this sleepy hollow. It’s probably best described as a place ready for the boom that never quite happened. It’s geared and well equipped but almost a ghost town.
The Langebaan Golf Estate is playing host to this year’s Nedbank Disabled Golf Open and the club have gone out of their way to make it a very special event – after all, SA’s top players are all here with a few Internationals in attendance as well.
South African golf is in very good shape all round with Charl Schwartzel having recently won the US Masters - hot on the heels of Louis Oosthuizen’s runaway win in the 2010 Open!
As I look up at the screen in the corner of my lounge, I notice that Thomas Aitken has just won the Spanish Open - avery special one to win in the week that the legendary Seve Ballesteros passed away - and Ernie Els has just been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame to join former SA legends Gary Player and Bobby Locke. Then there is ladies superstar Leigh-Anne Pace with her list of accomplishments too! Wow! I’ll say that SA Golf is in good shape!
Back to this tournament - on a very windy and chilly day. What never ceases to amaze me is that, despite the physical disabilities that these players endure, come rain or shine they are willing to go out there and battle the elements, handicaps vs handicaps in every sense, really awe inspiring stuff.
I am here representing a very proud sponsor, Nedbank, and I am also so impressed with some of the supporting sponsors who are seeing value in this tournament for golfers with disabilities. The likes of Bells Extra Special Whisky, Mercedes–Benz SA Sandown Motors and Telkom amongst a string of others. Take a bow!
It’s nearing the end of the first round and the old war horse Ben van Zyl leads from current champion Iglin Grobbelaar by two shots. Grobbelaar is smarting from a disastrous 18th where he shanked his second shot and ended up shooting a disastrous 7!
“It’s early days and there are still two long days ahead” he said with a smile. Wow, how does one smile after playing in such howling winds and icy cold temperatures I wonder?
I guess that’s why SA golf is in such good shape!