SA and France Gear up for Test Match
The South African team of eight amateur golfers enjoyed their last practice round at Euphoria Golf Estate, in the Waterberg, today in preparation for the test match against France. This will be the venue for two day test match starting tomorrow (Wednesday).
“We have a well balanced side and are optimistic of our chances against a young French team,” said team manager and South African Golf Association (SAGA) President Enver Hassen.
The South African team is made up of Steve Williams (Central Gauteng) Captain; Coenie Bester (Mpumalanga), Derik Ferreira (Gauteng North), Steven Ferreira (Central Gauteng), Adrian Ford (Western Province), Jake Redman (Southern Cape), Dean O’Riley (Ekurhuleni), Nicol van Wyk (Western Province)
The French team arrive in South Africa yesterday.
Both teams had a practice round today on the relatively new layout designed by Annika Sorenstam.
“France are the defending champions, they beat us in a four man test match played in Chantilly, France last year. We are hoping to emulate our home performance of 2007, when we beat an eight man French team at Port Elizabeth Golf Club,” said Hassen.
“The course is in great condition, however the player that hits the ball straight will have an advantage here,” said Hassen of the conditions. “The rough is extremely punishing, you will want to stay out of it at all costs,” he quipped.
The two day test match will be played as betterball, in the morning, and singles, in the afternoon of day one. On the second and final day they will play foursomes, in the morning, and singles, in the afternoon. Each match will count for one point. The team recording the most points will be the winner.
The test match concludes on Thursday.
On Friday both teams will be visiting a new development initiative in the Leseding township outside Vaalwater in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve.
Two benevolent organisations, namely the Khutso Foundation and Living Golf SA have embarked upon a project, involving the local people, in which they learn how to deal with environmental issues through a number of projects, one of which is maintaining a short golf course. “We will have a 9 hole par 3 golf course in which the local community will be taught ways of maintaining it through good water management that is also environmentally friendly and sustainable,” said Franz Rolinck, a former representative of the German amateur national golf team. “We hope to empower the local people in tourism, sustainable environmental programmes and also to introduce the sport of golf in a way that is owned and managed by the community living around the golf course,” explained Rolinck.
Chairman and founder of the Khutso Foundation (Khutso meaning healing in Sepede) Amanda St George is equally enthusiastic about the project. “If, through this project, we can create and sustain a means of managing and recycling water which is used to grow food and maintain the golf course in an environmentally sustainable fashion we would have achieved a lot,” said the English business woman who has pledged her loyalty to uplifting the disadvantaged in her adopted country.
This project is endorsed by UNESCO and falls under the AfriMAB Programme. It is also a national pilot programme falling under the auspices of the Department of Water Affairs.
Both teams will be introducing the game of golf to the local community during their visit. “Some of the kids have never seen a golf ball being hit let alone being hit by a skilled exponent of the game,” said Rolinck. He went on to say that the purpose of the French and South African amateur golfers visiting the area was to stimulate local interest in the golf course and the sport of golf.