The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the South African Senior Tour (SAST) have partnered to create a Series of unique golf events that will create regular games for senior players, while helping to protect our precious natural environment.
Through a host of national and international golfing events for players over 50 years old, the EWT Senior Golf Series will generate much needed funds for the EWT, while also exposing the incredible conservation work the Trust does.
“We are delighted that the game of golf, which already attracts people with a love for the outdoors, physical exercise and wide open spaces, will be the catalyst for bringing together wildlife enthusiasts around their common passions for conservation and sport,” says EWT CEO, Yolan Friedmann. “We look forward to teeing off this exciting new event in the New Year and to meeting golfers from all walks of life.”
Brought together by innovative sports marketing agency, Accelerate Sport, the EWT and the SAST are uniting to reach common goals through this unique new golf Series. Managing Director of Accelerate, Gary Grant, says that they noticed a gap in the golf sector and were overjoyed to find the right set of events to fill it.
“The style of the event is very much an emotional fit, whereby players will be participating in two, three or four day events, and playing for a cause and awareness motive,” says Grant. “Golf courses are effectively urban sanctuaries for animals, birdlife and the environment. This coupled with the fact that the SAST have been battling to ignite a consistent tour, or set of events, while offering players a chance to earn some reasonable prize money, created an excellent partnering opportunity.”
Each of the EWT Seniors Golf Series events will be tailored in a Pro-Am style, where corporates or enthusiasts can play alongside professionals. Each event will also be dedicated to an animal on the EWT endangered list.
Neville Clarke of the SAST says the Series will begin with the SA Senior Open in April next year and eventually end up with a complement of 10 events. He says that an already impressive list of SAST members will ensure some great golf.
“The likes of James Kingston, Andre Cruse and Nico van Rensburg add strength to our product offering alongside current established members like John Bland, Simon Hobday, Steve van Vuuren, Bobby Lincoln, Chris Williams and Robbie Stewart,” he says. “Corporate investment and sponsorship continues to grow and we would like to eventually have an annual 25 event schedule for our members.”
Steve Williams, the defending SA Open Champion, says he is delighted by this new venture. “This is unbelievable news for Seniors Tour Golf and just what we have needed. It will be extremely beneficial for golf in South Africa and the professionals will definitely take note and be there to compete for that prize money. The fact that it also benefits endangered animals is a great initiative, as wildlife is so important to Golf Courses and South Africa as a whole.”
The EWT Senior Golf series has a roll-out target plan of five events by the end of 2017, and 10 events by the close of 2018. These events will take place on South African soil and beyond, with plans to play golf in the SADC region, Sub-Saharan Africa and the surrounding island regions.
The first event was announced as the SA Senior Open, to be played at Pletterberg Bay Country Club from 4-7 April 2017. The Executive Mayor for Bitou Municipality, Councillor Peter Lobese, emphasised the importance of this event coming to Plett “Tourism is a key income generator for this region and events like this help to draw people to our beautiful coastline.” He went on to say the EWT link was a key element for them “The Humpback Dolphin is a key part of Plett’s natural beauty and we know that preserving for future generations is important and so we are very glad that part of the proceeds from this event will go towards the EWT’s conservation efforts.”
The exciting variety of golf courses that will play host to the EWT Senior Golf Series will also be afforded the opportunity to obtain EWT accredited ‘Green Flag’ status, which will earmark their adherence to environmentally conscious practice.