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13/08/2015: Soweto rolls out green carpet for Gary Player
13 August 2015
It will be a day of vintage golf and loads of fun when the Soweto Country Club in Pimville opens its fairways for the legendary Gary Player as part of his 80th birthday celebration and the 50th year since he won the Major Grand Slam on Saturday August 15.

About 1 000 community members have been invited to share in the festivities, organised jointly by the City of Johannesburg and Sunshine Tour.

About 80 carefully selected players will tee off alongside Gary Player, South Africa’s golfing legend. Among the dignitaries who will take to the fairways are Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau, Metrobus MD Mavela Dlamini and Sunshine Tour Executive Director Selwyn Nathan.

Also teeing off are the sponsors of the City’s Mayoral Charity Golf Tournament and the Joburg Open, Soweto Country Club ladies, captains of industry and local celebrities. The event will throw the spotlight on the Soweto Country Club and raise funds for the refurbishment of the course, says Bongi Mokaba, the City’s Director of Events Management.

The day comes 50 years after Gary Player won his Majors’ Grand Slam at the age of 30 by clinching the four most lucrative annual golfing events – the Masters Tournament, US Open, the Open Championship and PGA Championship.

“He’s a golfing legend in the league of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. The City is proud to be associated with a man of his stature,” says Mokaba.

Mokaba says the City chose Soweto as the venue for the celebration because, at the height of his career – when South Africa faced a sports boycott because of its apartheid policies – Player became involved in golf development, assisting many black golfers and caddies from Alexandra, Soweto and Ledig, near Sun City, to improve their knowledge of golf.

“He even got some of the caddies to work overseas,” she says.
At a time when blacks were prevented from playing in the Southern African Tour,

Amongst black players who played alongside Player was Vincent Tshabalala, an outstanding black golfer who now has a road named after him in Alexandra.
Tshabalala played at major tournaments around the world, winning the European Tour in 1976.

Issued by the City of Johannesburg

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Last Updated on 13 August 2015