The EWT Senior Golf Series named the South African Senior Open, which will be held in April 2017 in Plettenberg Bay, as the first event in their new venture. The tournament will focus on raising awareness and funds for the Humpback Dolphin, while offering a half a million Rand prize.
This new Series of Seniors golf event sees The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the South African Senior Tour (SAST) partner to create a unique set of golf tournaments that will create regular games for senior players, while helping to protect our precious natural environment.
The EWT Senior Golf Series broke the news of the flagship event at a press conference at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club yesterday, where members of the media, senior golfers and key players gathered to hear more about this exciting new initiative.
Emcee Dale Hayes reminded attendees that the USA Senior Tour, spearheaded by Arnold Palmer, took off 25 years ago and was the biggest success story for golf in the ‘80s, and said that it was high time South Africa boast a similar set of events.
Accelerate Sport’s managing director, Gary Grant, noticed this gap and was overjoyed to fill it with a golfing series that would raise funds for endangered species. ‘We will start with ten events across South Africa and the SADC region, which will include three Majors: the Open, PGA and Masters,’ Grant said. ‘Our first event will be the South African Seniors Open, which will run from 4-7 April at the Plettenberg Bay Country Club. Over the four days 72 pros and 72 amateurs will play for the biggest amount of prize money since 1997: R500,000.’
The event will also double up with the Golf Hall of Fame, who will host their annual induction dinner over the period that the South African Senior Open is played.
Yolan Friedmann, CEO of the EWT, says the choice to raise awareness for the Humpback Dolphin was an easy one, considering the location. ‘Although the species is currently stable in terms of endangerment, they are under continuous possible threat due to things like shark nets,’ she said.
The executive mayor of Bitou Municipality, councillor Peter Lobese, said in a statement that they are thrilled to host this inaugural event. ‘We are mindful of the requirement to utilise our beautiful surroundings and the environment in a sustainable manner that will ensure future generations can also benefit from nature’s bounty. I therefore commend the EWT Senior Golf Series for its specific focus on the Humpback Dolphin, as part of this event. The Humpback Dolphin is amongst the main attractions in the marine resources around Plettenberg Bay and deserving of protection.’
The SAST are equally excited about this new venture. Board member Neville Clarke said at the press conference that they were so grateful to Accelerate Sports for making this partnership with the EWT possible. ‘This new initiative holds so much potential, look at players like Ernie Els and Retief Goosen who could in future become possible ambassadors for this Series.’
The EWT Seniors Golf Series will offer excellent opportunities for amateur golfers to spend time with professionals who they can relate to, while playing for sizeable prize money. In conjunction with this, much-needed funds will be raised to help conserve our country’s wildlife, which is held dear by all South Africans.