Westlake Golf Club are taking the Investec Women’s SA Open in their stride after answering the 11th-hour call to take over hosting duty, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
The Cape drought, which has taken its toll on a number of courses in the region, forced the tournament’s relocation from Atlantic Beach to the course nestled under the Muizenberg Mountains.
The decision to stand in was a no-brainer for the club, Westlake’s general manager David Smith tells Compleat Golfer.
‘The club’s staff were on board from the first minute and the committee were keen and it wasn’t hard to get the green light from the members. It all happened rather fast,’ said Smith.
‘It was encouraging to see how the whole club got together and saw the big picture. It isn’t ideal for members to have to give up a week of golf but they made the sacrifice and it’s all to put the club in the best possible position to showcase what the club is all about.’
Putting everything in play from the logistics on the course, the clubhouse and surrounds took a concerted effort and a lot of hard work.
‘Truth must be told, it was a lot of hard work from many different hands but we got it done.’
Fortunate to have an effluent water source, the course was in great condition and didn’t take long to get tournament-ready.
‘We are very lucky. To be honest, the course was in perfect shape. Our superintendent Raymond Donaldson is brilliant at what he does and his team moved swiftly into taking the course to the next level. Our water quality is good, we pay for it, of course, but we have enough, so it was actually a case of fine-tuning rather than any major work.
‘I think for us, hosting a tournament of this stature, the main areas we needed to focus on was getting all the behind-the-scenes necessities in order. Small things that people don’t see but need to get done often take a lot of time and effort.’
Westlake have hosted a number of provincial, amateur and age group competitions, so naturally a Sunshine Ladies Tour event was the step up – a challenge that the club have accepted and been more than equal to the task.
‘This was a nice trial run for us when it comes to hosting a major event. We only had four weeks to prepare, so I don’t think we could’ve been blamed too much if everything wasn’t 100%. That said, the fact that the championship has run smoothly has been a feather in cap and given people, both inside and outside the club, notice that we are capable of hosting large, successful tournaments.’
An added event, the picnic among champions, has not thrown Smith and his team off their pace but rather Westlake have embraced the chance to show that the club is a place for the entire family.
A view down the first hole at sunrise this morning before the second round – taken by @LETgolf #investecsawomensopen @westlakegolfclub @SLadiesTour #golf #sunrise #SunshineLadiesTour pic.twitter.com/Mg7xn4YYX3
— Westlake Golf Club (@WestlakeGC) March 9, 2018
‘Tomorrow is going to be quite the day,’ says Westlake golf director Nicolaas Lochner. ‘We’re preparing for a large crowd tomorrow. We’ve got Investec bringing a hundred or so people and more than 500 people have registered for the picnic. Add our members and general public and it’s going to be really festive.
‘We’ve had a great buy-in from the members and that’s been key. Some might’ve been a bit skeptical at the thought of giving up a week’s golf but as you can see, many have turned out in support which is great.’
‘It’s a brilliant initiative. It’s free and people can bring their own picnic baskets. Some might want to watch the action unfold or simply sit under the trees and enjoy the day at their own pace,’ adds Smith.
With the co-sanctioned event’s highlights being televised and awareness being spread on radio as well as social media, hosting the SA Women’s Open has put Westlake front and centre of the Cape’s golf scene.
‘It’s really a great boost for the club and we’ll certainly explore the chance to do it all again.’
*Follow @westlakegc and @compleatgolfer for the latest from the Investec SA Women’s Open