The inaugural season of the Compleat Golfer 5 Star Series got off to the perfect start, with more to follow, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
There could hardly be a better place to launch the new, exclusive series of golf days than at one of the country’s grand old courses, Glendower Golf Club.
Perhaps still in SA Open host mode, Glendower was in magnificent condition all the way from the tee boxes to the lightning-fast greens along the tree-lined fairways illuminated in shades of red and orange.
A perfect autumn day greeted the field of amateurs, who were each partnered with a Big Easy IGT professional, South Africa’s next wave of golf stars. If that statement seems hyperbolic, you only have to look at the form of prodigious Yurav Premlall, playing on his home course. The 15-year-old wrote his name into IGT history when he won his first event at Observatory before teeing it up on this day. Already a two-time club champion at Glendower– his first win came at age 13 – he was the player to beat.
Before the first tee shot, players arrived to a walk-through reception area where they could collect their Under Armour golf shirt, TaylorMade cap, the latest Compleat Golfer magazine (one wonders if Grant Hepburn’s instruction section was the most-read piece after the day) and an assortment of goodies before Cure Putters put on a competition in the practice area.
It’s not usually a good sign when new balls are handed out on the 1st tee but the team from Srixon assured the participants the new sleeve was just a precaution and not a sign of things to come.
The event matched the grand setting and perfect weather conditions as the players weaved around the course trying their best to imitate the great shots that have become synonymous with Glendower. From the writer’s viewpoint, there were fewer shots like Rory McIlroy’s famous holeout on the 7th during the third round of the 2017 SA Open and more attempts at replicating Andy Sullivan’s sublime effort from the trees which denied Charl Schwartzel at the 2015 SA Open.
The golf day was aided by the VPAR live scoring solution which kept track of all three competitions being played simultaneously; the individual IGT strokeplay event, the betterball-Stableford event and the threeball-betterball competition.
Premlall quickly put his name on top of the pile and worked his way through the course like a consummate pro. His round wasn’t without trouble but each time he faced a hint of danger, the response was near-perfect. An eagle, despite being short-sided, on the par-five 15th was backed up by a sand-save par on 16, a two-putt on 17 and another sand save on 18 to win by two strokes.
As the sun set, the players were welcomed into the clubhouse for the prize-giving, which included lucky-draw giveaways, and much-needed replenishment.
The betterball competition was as competitive as the professional battle, with Slade Dixon and Oliver Pretorius coming top by a single point. Their victory helped add a new Cobra wedge into their bag while ensuring they will be among the select few teeing it up at San Lameer Country Club in October. The victorious duo might find playing conditions ramped up as the 5 Star experience banquet that will follow after play is sure to attract guests from around the country eagerly anticipating the crowning of the first champion side from the balcony overlooking the course.
Gary Player Country Club at Sun City awaits in July with an even better experience on offer. You are forewarned not to delay on booking your place.