• City of Joburg ready for 12th Open

    Fichardt won the Joburg Open last year
    Fichardt won the Joburg Open last year

    The City of Joburg is gearing up for one of the most exciting professional golf events on the Sunshine Tour’s calendar, when the 12th edition of the Joburg Open takes place from 7 – 10 December at a new venue, the Randpark Golf Club.

    In a major change for the Joburg Open 2018, the Asian Tour has been added as the third sanctioning tour to endorse the Joburg Open along with longstanding PGA’s the Sunshine Tour and European Tour. This now officially makes the Joburg Open the only tri-sanctioned tournament in South Africa.

    It also sees the field growing from 206 to 240 professionals, which means the stakes have been upped for the golfers aiming to clinch the prestigious winners title, one of three qualifying spots for The Open Championship, or be among the prize money finishers of the tournament for their share of the R16,5 million prize purse.

    The Joburg Open remains the only South African tournament serving as an official qualifier for the oldest major, The Open Championship the following season, with the top three finishers receiving qualification.

    With some of the biggest names from the three tours billed for the tournament, including the Sunshine Tour’s Louis Oosthuizen, alongside former tournament champions Richard Sterne, Haydn Porteus and Darren Fichardt, residents of Johannesburg and golf lovers who attend the tournament are guaranteed spectacular action on the fairways.

    The 240 professionals will take to the immaculate and championship conditioned greens at Firethorn and Bushwillow courses at Randpark Golf Club starting Thursday, 7 December before the cut is made at close of play on Friday. The remaining 65 professionals (including ties) proceed to the final two rounds, which will be played on Saturday and Sunday at Firethorn Course.

    Spectators who come to follow the tournament at Randpark Golf Club or those watching the daily SuperSport broadcast between 12h00 to 18h00, are all in for a massive treat as a monumental batter battle unfolds on the greens.

    The City of Joburg has pulled out all the stops to create an unusual and attractive public facility for all spectators coming from all the corners of the world to follow the tournament. ‘We have brought out a range of delicious food trucks and craft stalls in the public facility operated by select group of young and sassy entrepreneurs for the enjoyment of spectators in true Joburg style,’ says Bongi Mokaba, events director of the City of Joburg and tournament promoter of the Joburg Open.

    The food-truck culture has become synonymous with how Joburg residents spend their weekends and the City has introduced this element into the Joburg Open, making it another cool hangout for the weekend. In addition, beadmaker and entrepreneur NtoZinhle, who makes beautifully crafted beadworks, will showcase and sell her pieces at a pop-up shop at the tournament.

    ‘This is just one of the ways in which the City of Joburg is exposing young talent to the world of business and ensuring we’re building an entrepreneurship pool. By purposefully aiding and abetting entrepreneurship in the City of Joburg, we’re touching lives differently and are fully aware of its powerful ripple effect in our communities,’ says Mokaba.

    Public access tickets can be purchased at the public entrance at Arend Park on arrival at the Randpark Golf Club. Ticket prices are R80 per day for Thursday and Friday, and R100 for Saturday and Sunday, or R180 for the 4 days. Tickets can also be bought online at www.ticketpro.co.za.

    Even with all the exciting new developments, the City has remained focused on some serious goals and projects which has been set in place for the Joburg Open tournament over the years. In a continued effort to nurture up and coming golf talent, the 12th edition of the Joburg Open will unleash four fearless young South African amateur golfers onto the world. The four young guns will have the rare opportunity of teeing off alongside the field of professionals come Thursday, 7 December, giving them first-hand experience of both the excitement and the pressure they will face when they turn pro.

    Another annual initiative which continues this year is the hosting of the Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic, which sees 10 pro golfers taking a break from their practice rounds to share their knowledge of the game with more than 80 youth from communities such as Alexandra and Eldorado Park. The golf clinic is part of the Joburg Open Legacy Project supported by the City, which works to demystify the notion that golf is an elite sport and by ploughing back into communities through an investment in infrastructure.

    ‘We are excited about enhancements to the Joburg Open, which now proudly stands as the only tri-sanctioned tournament in South Africa. As we prepare to welcome both the professionals and spectators to the tournament, we are in awe of the growth and global recognition the tournament is receiving, which demonstrates our ability to host world class events,’ she adds.

    ‘Our amazing tournament would hardly be possible in its current form without the immense support of the City, the Gauteng Province and the generosity of our sponsors, for whom we are immeasurably grateful. We encourage the residents of our City, golf lovers and weekend revellers alike, to come to Randpark Golf Club, to experience and enjoy a world class event,’ concludes Mokaba.

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