By Michael Vlismas
The Sunshine Tour and Vodacom Origins of Golf series teamed up for possibly the most unique pro-am in South African golf after the massive storm that hit KwaZulu-Natal on Monday forced the cancellation of their official pro-am for this week’s tournament.
The Wild Coast Sun Country Club course was rendered unplayable by the rain in a province that has had roads washed away and people even being snowed in. But professional golfers are a resourceful bunch and the need to compete in something led to a pro-am of a different nature on Tuesday.
It started with a round of tenpin bowling in their original pro-am teams of 60 Sunshine Tour professionals and Vodacom’s invited amateurs from the business world.
It went on to include darts, pool, a long-driving competition into the sea during a brief break in the rain and pretty much any other game a pro golfer could think of to get through a weather-affected day.
“As long as we’re competing in something, none of us really cares what that is,” said Cape professional Alan Michell.
Rain delays are a fact of life for a professional golfer, and that’s when skills on a pool table or in darts can become a lucrative way to pass the time.
“Generally we’ll bet on anything,” says George professional Doug McGuigan. “It’s usually cards or pool or darts.”
And then there are the silly bets, some even involving their fellow professionals and roommates for the week.
“We’ll bet on whether a player will make a cup of tea for one of us during the week. Or whether another one will ever wash one dish where we’re staying in the week. We’ve even had bets on which fly would leave the wall first.”
But the tenpin bowling experience was a first for many of the golfers.
“I suppose it’s one way to work on your putting,” said KwaZulu-Natal professional Colin Nel.
One thing is for certain though. When it comes to getting through a weather delay with some extra cash for the week, the two professionals you want in your corner are Free Stater Morné Buys and the Eastern Cape’s Wallie Coetsee.
“Nobody beats us. In anything,” says Coetsee.
Why? Well, Buys has either national colours or provincial colours in 11 sports.
And pool and darts are two of them.