DZ Golf, a new golf-focused events management company across the border, is off to a fast start, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Dan Zwiebel made his name over seven years on the Sunshine Tour in a number of top executive positions. But it was in the wide open spaces of Namibia that he identified new opportunities to grow the game.
Zwiebel cut his teeth as the general manager at Omeya Golf Club, a verdant estate half-an-hour’s drive south of Windhoek, transferring his extensive knowledge and experience in golf and events gained on the Sunshine Tour to attract foreign interest and expand local participation, tapping into its potential as a true African course.
But after four years in the role, Zwiebel has taken another leap of faith in founding DZ Golf, a company that is determined to tap into the great unknown of the Namibian golf and events market, showing what the country has to offer, as well as raising funds for good causes.
In July, DZ Golf held its inaugural invitational golf day at Windhoek Golf and Country Club, which showcased the company’s ability to bring on board a number of high-profile sponsors and celebrities. The attendee list for this inaugural event included ex-professional cricketers Jacques Kallis (below left), Mark Boucher and Paul Harris, Sunshine Tour golfer Neil Schietekat and actor Neels van Jaarsveld (below).
Among two of DZ Golf’s bold aims are trying to repaint the worn-out picture of golf as a ‘rich man’s game’ and reintroducing the game in Namibia on a national level through its corporate relationships and countrywide amateur golf events.
Kallis, who has become a high-class golfer after his stellar career in cricket, says: ‘We all know golf needs support from players and sponsors and it’s great to see relationships being built here in Namibia. It goes to show the platform laid by Dan, with so many partners on board – if this is just the beginning, he’s on to something special.’
Legendary golf champion Dale Hayes, who was inducted into the Southern African Golf Hall of Fame last year in recognition of his contributions to golf (21 professional wins including four European Tour wins and 13 Sunshine Tour victories), also lent his support as MC in a gala dinner.
‘It was honestly one of the best golf days I have attended’, he said.
Schietekat added: ‘It’s amazing to be back in Namibia. Every time I come here I make new friends and catch up with old ones.
‘I played Windhoek when it was still on the circuit – it’s a super track and tests your game. Well done to the course and those involved for getting in shape in difficult weather times.’
The participants at the inaugural day were generous to the worthy causes, bidding for, among many offerings, memorabilia donated by Kallis, Boucher and Harris. Windhoek Golf and Country Club also benefited with a R50,000 cheque from DZ Golf for the betterment of the club.
With the support of celebrities and key partners, DZ Golf is planning to expand to courses across the country, including Rossmund, Tsumeb and Oranjemund.
GOLF IN ‘NAM
Playing a round in Namibia is truly a unique experience. In one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world (around 2.5 million people inhabit an area of more than 825,000 square kilometres) there are only a dozen golf courses dotted around the country, a legacy of its German and South African colonial past. The first golf club in the country was founded over a century ago, in 1916. Despite the small number, the courses are of great quality. Among the best are the Windhoek Golf and Country Club, Omeya Golf Club, the Bush course of Tsumeb, Oranjemund, on the banks of the Orange River, and Rossmund Country Club near Swakopmund, an oasis in the desert, and one of only five full green fairway desert courses on the planet.