The Nedbank Golf Challenge’s golf development fundraiser, The Sports Trust Golf Challenge has raised over R21 million towards the transformation and development of golf in South Africa since 1999.
This event, which takes place the day following the ‘Africa’s Major’, encourages corporates to compete against each other to raise funds which are distributed to leading golf development organisations, namely the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA).
Nedbank and Sun International are founding Trustees of The Sports Trust, a registered NPO that implements sport development projects, provides sporting kit and equipment, and builds or refurbishes sports facilities on behalf of their trustees and donors.
From this event, the SAGDB received a major boost of R450 000 for its various projects. Picture below are four of the development’s golfers, who joined in at Gary Player Country Club.
The funds have been used to purchase golf shoes, shirts, balls, coaching aids, gloves and other equipment and apparel for the leading SAGDB golfers in each region. A portion of the money was also used to keep funding the Border chapter and its costs for tournaments, coaching, transport and player meals.
‘The SAGDB is extremely proud and thankful to be associated with The Sports Trust and Nedbank. The sponsorship goes a long way to enhancing and sustaining our projects. It is through support such as this that we can ensure a programme that delivers results and offers our young golfers some extra benfits,’ says Grant Hepburn, managing director of the SAGDB.
‘Last year we established a project in the North West and although there are no superstars yet, we have seen exciting development and improvement in the new golfers.’
A further R250 000 was donated to SADGA and its ongoing work to introduce golf to disabled children.
‘We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from The Sports Trust, Nedbank and Sun International as we continue to help people see that we are not focusing on people with disabilities, but rather on developing a community of golfers who can express themselves despite their disabilities,’ says the SADGA chief executive officer, Eugene Vorster.
SADGA makes use of the popular SNAG golf-skills teaching programme, but at the same time its coaches use the opportunity to convey other values and skills that can be learnt through golf, such as patience, honesty, integrity, basic mathematics, timekeeping and even spelling.
Prenesh Naidoo from West Rand School represents one of the greatest success stories of SADGA’s programme. Over two years, Naidoo went from being a withdrawn pupil lacking con dence to one of the brightest golfers in the programme.
‘Until now, nobody ever gave me the opportunity to be part of a team and represent a school,’ says Naidoo.
Charles Williams from Cape Town is another product of the programme. In his seven years with SADGA he has become the best deaf junior golfer in South Africa. Ignation Douries was part of the Western Province team that competed in the prestigious SADGA Provincial Challenge, where he was undefeated and holed the winning putt for his team.
Simu Mdudu, who lost his leg in a train accident, joined SADGA only two years ago and this year qualified to play in his first Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open.
Charl Theron continues to develop as one of the top-ranked amateur golfers in the SADGA fold. He was the leading South African golfer at the 2016 Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open and finished fourth in a strong international field.
For Sun International and Nedbank, both founding members of The Sports Trust, these tales of triumph are what motivates their on-going support. ‘We have always believed in the power of the Nedbank Golf Challenge to make an impact beyond just the actual week of the tournament, and Sun International is very proud of the value this tournament adds to the work of the South African Disabled Golf Association and South African Golf Development Board,’ says Dan Sevel, Sun International’s marketing manager of Sports Marketing.
Pictured below is the team from PWC, who won on 73 points.
This is echoed by Tobie Badenhorst, Nedbank head of Sponsorships and Cause Marketing:
‘We are humbled by how much of a difference SADGA and the SAGDB has made in the lives of so many young golfers. All of these children have grown in self-confidence and self-worth, and are now positive role models for so many others.’
Anita Mathews, executive director of The Sports Trust, expresses her thanks to the trust’s partners for their support of its work of increasing access to sport, particularly in abled and disabled schools in previously disadvantaged communities. ‘The Sports Trust Golf Challenge is our premier fundraiser to support golf development and other sport development programmes,’ she says. ‘The SAGDB and SADGA do amazing work to increase awareness for the game of golf and use it to change lives. We are very grateful to our partners and founding trustees, Nedbank and Sun International, for their continued commitment to sport development in our country.’
‘The Sports Trust Golf Challenge is an amazing opportunity for our young golfers as it is a world-class venue and a wonderful golf course. For the SAGDB players to play the course in the way that it is set up for the professionals is always a massive challenge, but it is excellent for their personal growth and experience as golfers,’ says Hepburn.