SA Team to Go for Gold in Texas

The South African team pictured here – Iliska Verwey, Haydn Porteus, Ruan de Smidt and Kim Williams – arrived in Houston, Texas after a 24 hour journey from Johannesburg to fly the South African Flag as they ‘go for gold’ this week. The team is participating The Spirit – a biennial international tournament being played at Whispering Pines Golf Club.

Kim Williams reports from Houston

Hi from The Spirit,

The trip finally got underway around 20:30 on Saturday evening, luckily we had no delays and we were on our way to Atlanta.

To our surprise the flight was fully booked, and when I say fully booked i mean not one single seat open, so we ended up having a less than comfortable flight than we thought we would. We eventually arrived in Atlanta after a 17 hour flight.

We then had an hour wait to get through passport control. We thought all the tough times were over but then Iliska got the unlucky draw of having a random full search, we had no idea this had been done and as no cell phones are allowed in the transfer area we could not get hold of her nor could she of us, so we waited and waited and eventually she came out running.

Finally we got into Atlanta’s terminal still with two hours to waste and had a nice coffee which we all needed.

We eventually boarded for Houston and Iliska was kind enough to give me her window seat which meant I did not see the take off or landing as I was watching the back of my eyelids. We eventually arrived at the Woodland Marriott Hotel in Houston 24 hours after we departed from Johannesburg International. It was 14:00 so we decided as a team that we needed to stay awake till the evening so that we would be able to sleep through the night.

Iliska and I went to explore the mall, although we could not really concentrate on what we were doing. Eventually we hit the bed at 8pm US time (3am SA time) and slept for a good 12 hours. We woke up to a fantastic breakfast with some of the teams still arriving and went to a Gary Player Design course to practise and loosen up a bit. We got back to the hotel changed into our formals and off to the opening ceremony – and well what can I say – it was amazing. Every country was in awe of what had been organised for us (as players) and as a tournament.

We play our official practice round today and I can’t wait to tell you more about our trip and how our journey to the gold is going…

Chat soon,


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