It was a moment of immense pride for the members of Soweto Golf Club, which is located in one of Johannesberg’s most iconic townships, as a European Tour event held its official pro-am in the club for the first time this week.
The pro-am for February’s Joburg Open had to be cancelled because of the heavy rain at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club that week.
But this afforded the City of Joburg the opportunity to make the Sunshine Tour and European Tour co-sanctioned tournament as inclusive as possible and move the pro-am to Soweto Golf Club.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals joined Soweto Golf Club amateurs and various business leaders and government dignitaries in a two-day pro-am.
Herman Mashaba, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, also announced that in future, the Joburg Open pro-am will always be played at Soweto Golf Club.
“What a great pleasure it was to have the professionals join us in the heart of Soweto,” Mashaba said.
“When I first heard of the plan to take the pro-am to Soweto, it was music to my ears. What a wonderful opportunity. It is our desire to work with the Sunshine Tour and Joburg Open to make Soweto Golf Club one of the greatest in our city.”
The club is currently undergoing its most extensive upgrade in history, with the clubhouse recently refurbished as part of a three-phase plan to also erect a fence around the course and then upgrade the course itself.
“This is about the whole community of Soweto and them being proud of this facility. Our role as government is to help create that enabling environment, and we need the private sector to play its part as has been the case here,” said Mashaba.
Selwyn Nathan, the Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, expressed his delight at one of South Africa’s biggest golf tournaments making such a major commitment to the development of Soweto Golf Club.
“When Bongi Mokaba, the city’s Event Management Director, and I spoke about the idea of hosting the pro-am in Soweto, it was with the goal of continuing to ensure that a tournament like the Joburg Open truly benefits the residents of this city.
“One of the most pleasing aspects was that we created about 120 jobs just for the two days of this pro-am by using only local suppliers in Soweto, from the catering to the caddies.”