The wait to see which of the country’s major golf courses will host the 2015/16 South African Open is finally over with Glendower Golf Club in Edenvale confirmed as the hosts for the third successive time and sixth time overall.
At this stage, the 105th SA Open will be held in the same calendar slot as the 2014/2015 event, from January 7-10, with Johannesburg’s other co-sanctioned Sunshine/European Tour event, the Joburg Open, taking place the following week (January 14-17), which will not only encourage overseas golfers to play in both tournaments but also cut the costs for the Sunshine Tour.
“There’s a need for back-to-back tournaments because it’s not fair on the European golfers to make them travel back and forth to South Africa. It also means we save money on costs, which is important as well,” Duncan Cruickshank, the marketing and communications director of the Sunshine Tour, told The Citizen.
There had been strong speculation that Humewood Golf Club in Port Elizabeth, which has hosted the SA Open on five previous occasions, would be the venue for this summer’s prestigious event but the financial muscle of Gauteng has perhaps won the day.
Even though hosting the SA Open is of enormous value in terms of worldwide television coverage – Cruickshank said the exposure gained for the tourism industry by the tournament in January was worth more than a billion rand – sponsors are still needed over and above the huge investment made by municipalities and local government.
It is believed that the Africa Open at East London Golf Club is in some doubt due to a lack of sponsors, but it would be very sad if the Eastern Cape – and the coastal region as a whole – did not host a single co-sanctioned event.
Cruickshank confirmed that the Alfred Dunhill Championship would kick off the Summer Tour at Leopard Creek in Malelane from November 26-29, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge following immediately afterwards at Sun City from December 3-6.
The SA Open and Joburg Open are then on successive weekends in January, with the Africa and Tshwane Opens scheduled to go back-to-back in early March.
It was also confirmed on Tuesday that the 2016 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, the only tri-sanctioned tournament endorsed by the European, Sunshine and Asian Tours, will be held from May 12-15, 2016, at the Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita.