End of a long-running team
his issue marks the end of a long and successful relationship here in the Cape Town offices of Golf Digest. Deputy Editor Barry Havenga is moving on to a new business venture.Turning 40 in July was perhaps a reflective moment in his life.A regular traveller, he celebrated the milestone on the other side of the world, with friends in Tokyo I had always thought I would leave Golf Digest before he did, so his departure comes as a shock. His contributions to the magazine will be missed.
Barry, who began as an editorial assistant 17 years ago, with the September 1999 issue, was an invaluable right hand man to have during a demanding and busy time in the magazine’s history. He had the two key attributes of being passionate and knowledgeable about the game. Armed with that, he made a big impression on the close-knit golfing community in this country.
Golf Digest has always been strong on its coverage of amateur golf, which slowly disappeared from the sports pages of newspapers, and Barry – a low-handicap himself, who captained the Western Province Under-23 team to victory in the 1999 Interprovincial – soon involved himself in the Amateur Scene section. He first met many of today’s star professionals when they were competing in junior events, and maintained those relationships. Golf Digest, thanks to Barry, was the first to inform the golfing public about our emerging talent.
He has often been the first golf writer to break big national stories in amateur golf, such as the banning of Christiaan Bezuidenhout for a drug offence in 2014, and this year’s expulsion of SAGA president Gerhard Conradie for impropriety.
In a sport where controversy is not actively courted by golf writers, Barry was prepared to write the difficult stories; notably
Tthe feature in our July 2015 issue in which he asked what had gone wrong with “golden boys” Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. It was a timely article, considering their lack of achievement since winning majors back in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Barry took a lot of heat for that on social media, but he was spot on with his insight. More than a year on and Oosthuizen still hasn’t won his first title in America, six years after winning the Open.
And, for the past year and more, he has interviewed our young professionals, either those playing overseas or on the Sunshine Tour, in his Think Young / Play Hard pages. The Quick Fire strip which goes with it has been popular. The final question he asks is Which Celebrity would you sacrifice to zombies? I’ve lost count of the number of players who named the Kardashians!
Barry is exceptionally strong on social media, an area I’ve neglected, and has powered the Golf Digest brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He’s also an excellent photographer, doubling up as a cameraman at tournaments, and shooting golf course images. On a more artistic note, a major project outside work was to photograph “The Doors of Cape Town.” @DoorsofCapeTown on Instagram.
As golf writing colleagues, we have been on numerous trips together, here and abroad, notably to several Opens in England and Scotland, and once to the 2012 US Open in California, two weeks on the road, including a visit to the Bandon Dunes resort in Oregon. It has been an interesting journey, and I’m sure it’s not quite over.