Golf coming up short when it comes to being a game for all
ENVER HASSEN, the president of the South African Golf Association, says the sport has still some way to go before it becomes truly representative of an entire people.
“We have in the region of 160,000 affiliated members of which five percent are players of colour. Women make up 20,000, 450 are disabled and 4,000 are juniors. Golf, I’m hoping, will one day be truly representative of its people.
“The sport offers many things, such as being a lifelong sport; it teaches people the meaning of a good value system and is an inspirational sport and something to look forward to for all ages,” said Hassen.
In his final year at the helm, Hassen also believes there are subtle forms of racism being practised at some clubs.
“I often get calls of unpleasantness being experienced by players of colour who often then walk away from the game for good. Isolated, maybe, but certainly unacceptable.
“In terms of change, golf is still rigid in its approach at all levels,” he said. “Change, although uncomfortable for some, needs to happen for the sport to progress.”
Hassen added it was difficult to implement a new vision as President because under current rules presidents are allowed a maximum two-year term only.
”But there has been progress in some quarters, says Hassen. “Golf development at junior level is on the up and this is pleasing,” he said.
“I’m pleased to say that the Western Cape are frontrunners in this regard, with a junior golf foundation in place unearthing talent from all quarters. This is the future of our sport.
“There is so much untapped talent yet to be unearthed. Our tentacles are now beginning to reach areas where they haven’t been before. We’ve already found some hugely promising youngsters in our ranks with big futures ahead of them who’ve gone on to represent SA at senior amateur level. It makes me very proud.
“But we do need more golf courses in areas where there are none. Currently there are 450 courses countrywide, but in areas not easily accessible by the majority of our people. For our sport to grow, we need to bring courses to the people; with cheap membership, available equipment… things like that in order for those less fortunate to get the chance to experience the joys the sport has to offer.”
Meanwhile Adrian Ford and Nicol van Wyk, who until a cou- ple of weeks ago were the top two amateurs in the Cape, have made the progression to the paid ranks (the Sunshine Tour) after winning their tour playing cards after four tough rounds at qualifying school.
Both made the grade in comfortable fashion and will soon be mixing it with the top professionals in the country. Another for mer top WP amateur, Cameron Johnson, has enjoyed a good first year in the paid ranks and earned enough to keep his tour card for another year.