End of a long-run­ning team

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Behind The Scenes - By Stu­art McLean, Ed­i­tor

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.

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