Gilly Teb­butt wins 40th club cham­pi­onship.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

The many achieve­ments of Hall of Fame golfer Gilly Teb­butt make her the most suc­cess­ful women’s ama­teur in the his­tory of South Africa. She has won nu­mer­ous na­tional ti­tles and rep­re­sented her coun­try at world tour­na­ments.

But pos­si­bly her great­est achieve­ment in golf took place at her home club, Ron­de­bosch, in Cape Town, in March when she won the Club Cham­pi­onship ti­tle for the 40th time. This is thought to be a world record for a golfer at the same club.

Still play­ing off a 1-handicap in her 60s, Teb­butt had scores of 77 and 75 to claim a spe­cial mile­stone in her golf­ing ca­reer. Her first ti­tle was as 19-year-old Gilly Whit­field in 1973, and over the next 45 cham­pi­onships she was only beaten six times.

“I played my first cham­pi­onships in 1972,” said Teb­butt, “and the rea­son I re­mem­ber the year is that I had ma­tric­u­lated from Rusten­burg Girls’ High in 1971.The champs used to be played over 36 holes on a Tues­day, and in those days no girl would have been al­lowed the day off school to play golf!

“Nowa­days the champs are on a week­end to ac­com­mo­date the work­ing mem­bers.”

Gilly’s older sis­ter Lynn was also a tal­ented golfer, and won 8 club cham­pi­onships at Ron­de­bosch, start­ing in 1966. She won seven in a row be­fore her younger sib­ling took charge.The two of them have thus won 48 of the last 53 cham­pi­onships!

“I have never missed the club champs since 1972, which means I have played in 47 of them in a row,” said Teb­butt. “These days I only play golf once a week at ei­ther Ron­de­bosch or Her­manus, and never prac­tice. My only com­pet­i­tive golf is league. How­ever, this year I did pre­pare for the champs for two weeks on the range be­fore­hand. I al­ways want to do my best in them.”

Many golfers win sev­eral club cham­pi­onships sim­ply be­cause they don’t have much in the way of strong op­po­nents – for­mer East­ern Prov­ince golfer Lynn Slogrove has 39 club ti­tles in the East­ern Cape, at three clubs, be­gin­ning in 1987, Hume­wood (22), St Fran­cis Bay (13) and St Fran­cis Links (4) – but Ron­de­bosch has al­ways at­tracted the best women golfers in the West­ern Prov­ince.And a num­ber of them have rep­re­sented South Africa, not just Teb­butt.

“There was a stage when vir­tu­ally the en­tire WP team came from Ron­de­bosch, play­ers like Vanessa Smith, Fran­cis Botha, Nicky le Roux, Joanne Lef­son, Lor­raine Todt and Carol Pur­cell (nee Charnock). So I had to play very good golf to keep

win­ning against them. It needed to be sub-par golf, and I think my best to­tal was five-un­der for 36 holes. My low­est round at Ron­de­bosch was a 64, but that was in a Tues­day af­ter­noon club com­pe­ti­tion.” She’s also had 9 holes-in-one, three of them at Ron­de­bosch.

Teb­butt’s 40 ti­tles have come in five dif­fer­ent decades. She won six times in the 1970s, nine each in the 80s and 90s, while 16 have come in the new mil­len­nium. Her best streak was 14 straight ti­tles from 1985 to 1998 when she was the top fe­male golfer in the coun­try.

Teb­butt was in­ducted into the SA Golf Hall of Fame in 2010. NOTE: Amer­i­can golfer Joan Comisar, a for­mer Ohio state cham­pion now in her 80s, has won 47 club cham­pi­onships, but these were at three dif­fer­ent golf clubs. She won 29 ti­tles at her home club, Ken­wood in Cincinnati, and an­other 18 in Palm Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, where her fam­ily had a win­ter home.


Stan John­son, 80, played in his 60th Club Cham­pi­onship at Krugers­dorp Golf Club. A four-time past cham­pion, John­son joined Krugers­dorp in 1954. He’s missed 3 cham­pi­onships in his life­time. A for­mer pro­vin­cial golfer, who rep­re­sented West­ern Transvaal at more than 20 Premier In­ter­provin­cials, John­son still plays off a 9-handicap and shot 84-81 from the for­ward tees to fin­ish among the net prizewin­ners in the A di­vi­sion.

Brian Sander, 78, played in his 50th con­sec­u­tive Club Cham­pi­onships at Cul­li­nan Golf Club in Gaut­eng North. He has played in the A Di­vi­sion for 44 years – his low­est handicap was 2 – and won the ti­tle six times, with a best score of 143.This year he was in the B Di­vi­sion, play­ing off 12.

A mem­ber at Cul­li­nan since 1967, he has had 11 holes-in-one, nine of them on No 8 at Cul­li­nan. Dur­ing a Satur­day round with three young­sters, one asked Brian if he had ever seen some­one have a hole-in-one. He showed them that day, hit­ting the per­fect shot on the eighth.

Gilly Teb­butt with the Ron­de­bosch women’s club cham­pi­onship tro­phy, op­po­site page, and hol­ing out on the fi­nal green in front of sup­port­ers.

Brian Sander at Cul­li­nan.

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