SILVER SALVER’S PROUD HISTORY
New 72-hole event offers world ranking points.
The Gauteng North Silver Salver will be a World Amateur Golf Ranking event for the rst time when it is contested at Irene Country Club from October 19 to 21. South Africa’s No 1-ranked amateur,Wilco Nienaber, will be defending.
The 54th edition of the Silver Salver, thanks to sponsorship from PricewaterhouseCoopers, has evolved from an invitational 36-holer played on the same day to a 72-hole championship contested over three days.The rst 72hole Silver Salver was held last year, but a Modi ed Stableford format meant it was not granted world ranking points, although it was a GolfRSA ranking event. This year it is strokeplay.
The Silver Salver is one of the union’s oldest and most prestigious events, rst played at Zwartkop CC in 1964 when it was won by a star from that era, the late Dave Symons, a member of the SA Golf Hall of Fame.The honour roll of champions includes such luminaries as Hugh Baiocchi, John Fourie, Neville Sundelson, Gavan Levenson, David Stratton, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, Haydn Porteous and Zander Lombard.
The player with the most titles (three) is former Northern Transvaal stalwart George Schwartzel, father of Masters champion Charl, who won for the rst time in 1972, and again in 1982-83.Winners receive a replica of the Silver Salver in the form of an engraved silver ashtray.
Originally the tournament was played at a di erent course each year, before later being hosted by the club where the golf union had its o ce, rst Pretoria CC, and now Irene CC.
David Freedman, a former president of the Northern Transvaal Golf Sub-Union, and member at Wingate Park, proposed the creation of an invitational gross medal tournament similar to the Royal Johannesburg Silver Vase. It was limited to 72 players for the rst ve years, with 36 contesting the Silver Salver, and another 36 a separate nett medal competition with no handicap limit. Minutes from 1963 record that “players will be expected to meet all their own travelling and personal expenses including caddie fees and tips. The union will to the extent of R100 per competition meet the following expenses: refreshments at halfway house, lunch, and prizegiving drinks and snacks.”
The top amateurs supported the new tournament, and the eld grew to between 60 and 70 gross competitors during the 1970s and 1980s.This year it will have a full eld of 144. Only one year, 1980, has it not been played.
The tournament also pays tribute to former Northern Transvaal and Gauteng North presidents, who are invited to a nal day lunch along with the current presidents of Northern unions Central Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.