Everyone loves a hole-in-one story but one young golfer has a far bigger tale to tell after his perfect shot, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Every good story needs a hero, a villain, a setting and a plot twist or two. This tale has it all. The scene for this one was Cotswold Downs in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Kearsney Old Boys golf day fund-raiser was an event that 21-year-old Bradley Smith was not scheduled to play until a last-minute phone call. So late was the call that he and his group were pushed back a tee time to enable them to make it on to the course. Shortly afterwards a commotion erupted on the 16th tee box as he holed out – with a new Mini Cooper sitting beside the hole as a prize.
At a meeting a few days later between Smith and organiser Bay Union, it transpired that Smith, who had signed
up as an apprentice with the PGA of SA,
wasn’t eligible for the prize. His move to starting a career in golf came with the loss of his amateur status. The terms and conditions were clear that no professional could enter the competition.
But it didn’t sit right with Bay Union’s MD Nick Keary or Cotswold Downs GM Wayne Krambeck. The pair, along with Smith’s dad and representatives from Mini dealer SMG Rocks, met and hatched a plan to get Smith his prize. The motive behind it was to make sure the keys to the car on offer for the ultimate shot were handed over. Smith had fulfilled his side of the deal, so Keary decided to fight on.
He set up a meeting with the insurer Stalker Hutchison & Associates where he shared the story and explained why the Ts and Cs in this case should be overlooked. Then it was up to Keary, the team at SMG and Cotswold to hatch a plan to surprise Smith.
Krambeck invited Compleat Golfer to share in the surprise. A nervous Smith arrived with his dad, who was aware of what was about to happen, and everyone went off to ‘meet the assessor’. Instead, a short drive on a golf cart would go a long way to changing Smith’s life, as the shiny, new Mini Cooper was sitting waiting for him.
A fairytale ending to quite a story.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Cotswold Downs is nearing the end of its second year running its hole-in-one initiative. Open to nine- or 18-hole rounds, a perfect shot at the signature 5th hole wins the jackpot. Everyone who signs up for the challenge puts R20 into the kitty, with R5 of that going into a fund for a local charity, Focus on iThemba. Surveillance Factory installed three hi-tech cameras to capture each and every strike. The club
can watch the screens in the pro shop and, even better, anyone lucky enough to
bag the ace has video footage of their strike.
Bay Union makes it interesting by topping up the kitty with R10 000 to ensure a healthy start. And they’ve had to do it four times, with Laurie Burn the biggest winner, taking home R202 660 in February 2019 and Peter Griffin R90 560.
iThemba has benefited with two donations totalling R90 000 to continue its work on early childhood development in the local community.
Krambeck says: ‘We hope the fund continues to grow and grow as it could not only make a difference in the life of the golfer but, more importantly, could also make a difference in the life of someone not fortunate enough to have the opportunity of schooling in the right facilities. For us at Cotswold the most important element of this equation is the contributions towards bettering the local community and putting smiles on faces and hope in the hearts of our future generations.’