Players note Atlantic Beach dangers ahead of first series tournament in the Cape
MELKBOSSTRAND – The Standard Bank Pro-Am Series goes to the Atlantic Beach Links near Cape Town early in June and while there is excitement about the series’ first tournament outside Gauteng, some pros have rung warning alarms about the dangers that lie ahead.
In a historic achievement for the series, Atlantic Beach Links in Melkbosstrand will host the series’ first ever tournament to be played outside of Gauteng. The June 7 event in the Western Cape will mark the first of four provinces which will host a Standard Bank Pro-Am series event this season, a remarkable feat of growth considering the series is only in its second season in the South African golf landscape.
That excitement aside; there’s still golf to be played and a few professional golfers who have teed it up at Atlantic Beach have some warnings to share ahead of the tournament.
“You have to hit it straight off the tee there, no other way, says Zethu Myeki who played as an amateur here a little over five years ago. “The course itself is beautiful and all but there is trouble everywhere. The best way to play it is to be straight off the tee because if you don’t, you will not find that ball again.
“I played there as an amateur and it was not an easy week. There is everything to contend with but the weather can make things tough. The wind there is a challenge.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Kelsey Nicholas who plays out of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington. She, too, played some amateur events at the prestigious track and picked up valuable lessons in the process.
“Without a doubt a ball-striker’s course.” she says, “Some can say it’s a Links course and others may disagree but the fact is that it’s a tough course. Playing at Royal Cape or Westlake, you still have a couple of trees to protect you. Atlantic Beach is different; there’s bush there and if your ball gets lost, you’re on another planet. You have to hit it straight. Always.
“But I’m glad we are playing all these beautiful and tough golf courses because women golfers do have the talent and the skill to play this game. I’m happy that we get to go to other places too, like a tour. This season is going to be a tough one because all the girls saw what we had last season and everyone’s expectations are high.”
The Atlantic Beach Links event is the second of eight tournaments to be played this season, which include the grand final, the Standard Bank Pro-Am Invitational, to be played at Randpark Golf Club for the second successive year this year.
“We want the lady golfers to hone their skills further and to develop into world-class golfers,” said Jenny Havenga of Lifestyle Golf, founder and promoter of the series and the accompanying Golf Development Programme. “That is why we stage these world-class events; to give them proper platforms to compete at a high level for a real income. We know there are great golf courses in the country and we are just so proud to be able to associate ourselves with these great clubs and institutions.
“Our main objective, other than just handing out playing opportunities and throwing money at this whole initiative, is to introduce girls into this sport, so they can continue the legacy these pros are creating now. So, that is some of the reasoning behind taking the series and the development programme to other provinces this season and the Western Cape is one of those.”
The Standard Bank Pro-Am series’ developmental arm is aimed at taking the game of golf directly to the girls to create interest and excitement for the game and generate support for them within their communities. The programme has been designed to grow women’s golf on all levels and create opportunities for young females and women in South Africa to forge professional careers for themselves in the golf industry through playing ability, coaching and all aspects related to the business of golf.
Professional coaches from the Women’s Professional Golf Association have been conducting these at Durbanville Golf Club where level one to three entails the introduction and development of basic skills that are required in playing the game and consists of an 18-week programme in the form of weekly one hour instructional clinics in groups of 10, using specialised and highly effective coaching methods while giving the young beginner the best opportunity to excel from the very start.
For more information: Standard Bank Pro-Am Invitational and the Standard Bank Golf Development Programme – contact Lifestyle Golf – Jenny Havenga or Gina Read.
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