PHOTO (from left to right): Member of the Mayoral Committee for Sports and Recreational Services, Cllr. Nozipho Tyobeka-Makeke; Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour; and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development and Planning, Cllr. Subesh Pillay at the media launch for the 2015 Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Thursday.
Pretoria Country Club will host a major European Tour event for the first time in its illustrious history when the 2015 Tshwane Open is played there from March 12-15.
The 105-year-old club is the new home of a tournament that has been played at The Els Club, Copperleaf for the past two years. In this time the €1.5 million Tshwane Open, which is co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and European Tour, has gained significant international exposure, rising from a global television reach of over 201 million households in 2013 to over 217 million households last year.
“Our initial aim in introducing this sporting and tourism product was to position the city as a preferred destination. In the past two years we have built significant awareness about the event. Now it is time to maximise this awareness with even greater exposure of a tournament that will be played in the heart of the City of Tshwane,” said Executive Mayor, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
“By moving the tournament to Pretoria Country Club we are continuing to showcase our high-value leisure and sporting facilities, as well as fully leveraging the over 430 accommodation establishments we have in the city, not to mention the restaurants and shopping malls that benefit from the influx of golfers and fans to the city.”
Another significant legacy of the tournament has been the development of the game at the Mabopane Driving Range north of the city. Last year this facility hosted a golf development clinic with young golfers from five schools in the area who were coached by several professionals on the Sunshine and European Tours.
“This is the real legacy of the Tshwane Open, namely impacting on the lives of our residents through a facility that now offers the youth of Mabopane an opportunity they never thought possible. We have planted the seed that could sprout South Africa’s next great professional golfer, or a career for somebody within the golf industry, or that can simply become an outlet to play this great game and be part of the growing community of golfers,” said Councillor Ramokgopa.
“And we took this further with our support of the development of women’s golf by sponsoring a tournament on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. The Tshwane Open has always been about more than just golf, because Tshwane is more than just a city.”
The Tshwane Open has also played a role in the growth of the Sunshine Tour’s international schedule over the past two years, helping to establish South Africa as one of the most successful hosts of European Tour events around the globe.
“We are very proud of our partnership with the City of Tshwane and the growth it has shown in only two years,” said Selwyn Nathan, the Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour.
“Through our partnership with The European Tour, the Sunshine Tour is able to offer incredible value for a host city, translating into the kind of economic benefits seen through the Tshwane Open. This is the kind of stimulation of a local economy that professional golf can provide.”
The European Tour also welcomed the growth of one of the newest tournaments on their schedule.
“We have a proud history with South African golf, and the Sunshine Tour has been a key partner in our growth over the years. The Tshwane Open has been another success story in this relationship, and we are delighted to be returning to South Africa for this event, as well as welcoming a course with so much history such as Pretoria Country Club,” said Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of The European Tour.
The Pretoria Country Club, in the suburb of Waterkloof, has a history dating back to 1910. In 2004 the golf course was redesigned by Gary Player. It has hosted several tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, and this will be the biggest tournament it has hosted.
“Pretoria Country Club’s vision is to be the club of choice for the residents of the greater Pretoria area. We are extremely proud to be hosting the Tshwane Open and joining the City of Tshwane in what is a valuable marketing and showcasing opportunity for the city. Pretoria Country Club has a rich history in South African golf and has produced some great champions, most recently Richard Sterne and George Coetzee. We are looking forward to partnering with the City of Tshwane in taking the Tshwane Open to even greater heights,” said David Avery, Chairman of Pretoria Country Club.