Hall of Fame celebrates SA golf legacy

South Africa owns a noteworthy slice of global golf’s history with the achievements of Major winners Bobby Locke, Sally Little, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Grand Slam champion Gary Player, a nine-time Major and nine-time Senior Major champion.

Their achievements certainly deserve admiration, hero-worship and praise, but South Africa has many other heroes, like Sewsunker ‘Papwa’ Sewgolum, Ramnath ‘Bambata’ Boodham, W. Mannie, Johannes Simenya and Lucas Buthelezi, whose accomplishments went unsung for many years.

Boodham broke ground for players of colour as the first non-white South African who tried to qualify for The Open in 1929.

East London’s Mannie (in 1958) and township caddies Semenya and Buthelezi in 1959 became the first black players from South Africa to head overseas to qualify for golf’s oldest Major.

Sewgolum won the Dutch Open in 1959 and 1960 and Semenya the Portuguese Open in 1959.

Not many people have heard about Ismail Chowglay from Cape Town, whom the media called Egyptian during the 1963 Open Championship, just because they assumed that there were no golfers of colour from South Africa.

Or that Maud Gibb won the British Ladies title in 1908 and Vincent Tshabalala pulled his own cart when he clinched the 1976 French Open title.

Even less people know that Samuel Ryder, the founder of the Ryder Cup matches, was a regular visitor to Southern African shores and Dr Frank Stableford, who developed the Stableford scoring system in 1898, lived in Potchefstroom during the early 1900s.

South Africa’s rich and colourful golfing heritage is dusted with jewels like these that now have a permanent home alongside other significant milestones and accomplishments at the Mercedes-Benz Hall of Fame Museum in the Clock Tower Precinct at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

“It is only once you have walked through the museum that you can truly appreciate the significant legacy of our golfing history,” said Golf RSA CEO, Grant Hepburn.

“The tireless work that Barry Cohen and his associates have done to source memorabilia and equipment, to research the wonderful achievements and highlights and to preserve and document the country’s golf legacy is absolutely priceless.

“Visitors to the museum can enjoy a huge tome of memorabilia from Southern Africa stars, many of whom have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“They can touch and feel golf clubs and balls dating from 1850, learn about the history of black and white golf, the TPA Tour for black golfers and all the local, international and major winners.

“With all its artifacts and memorabilia, collections, famous trophies, as well as the Hall of Fame and the largest golf library in Africa, the Mercedes-Benz Hall of Fame Museum is a living, breathing exhibition of Southern Africa’s golfing legacy.”

City of Cape Town mayor and avid golf supporter, Patricia de Lille opened the doors to the Mercedes-Benz Hall of Fame in May alongside Player and South Africa’s only female Major champion, Sally Little.

“We want to encourage all lovers of the game, young and old, to experience the Mercedes-Benz Hall of Fame Museum and, in celebration of our opening, we are offering a special entry fee to all members affiliated with the South African Golf Association,” said Cohen.

“SAGA members will pay only R10 on production of their membership card from 1 August to 15 September 2015.”

For more information, please contact:

Barry Cohen (Tel: 082 990 7952; Email: bjcohen@mweb.co.za)
Mercedes-Benz Golf Hall of Fame Museum
Clock Tower Precinct
V&A Waterfront; Cape Town

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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