They roll around once a year, usually with a trail of excitement, a sprinkle of good-natured pandemonium and an extra helping of fun in their wake. At Simbithi, of course, there is that quintessential gees, too, that you simply do not find anywhere else. In this edition, we chat to our golf team to hear all about the 2024 Club Champs, which have been widely stated as our best yet!

The Pro Shop is quiet, and Eddie Taylor is cheerful as he steps out to say hello. The Pro Shop Manager looks over his shoulder to make sure Golf Manager Dane Vosloo, fresh from his participation in the PGA Champs, is following him. Sure enough, he is, and Sport Administrator Shanel Pillay brings up the rear with a smile.

The team, with Operations Supervisor Andile Khumalo, has been congratulated on the ’24 Championship, which took place at the end of April. Club Champs, Dane says, are the pinnacle of every Club’s calendar. “It is designed to determine, essentially, who the best golfers are at the Club. There is a prestige attached to it, which has been going since the eighteen hundreds.”

Simbithi, the team shares, plays across several divisions. In each division, golfers are separated by their respective handicaps. Presently, we have three divisions for men: A, B and C, and four for ladies’: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Copper and Overall.

Since this is a flagship event for the Club, preparations begin as far as a year in advance, specifically in terms of securing event sponsorship. This year, we partnered with Terrapod as main sponsor. To add to the fun of the event, the 2024 Champs saw the addition of an auction of golfers, which raised R51 000 and created suitable hype ahead of the main event.

Although not quite as ahead as the organisation team, our golfers, we are told, also have routines to prepare for champs. “It’s probably the only time we see nerves on our golfers,” Dane smiles. “But we do try to warn them that practicing your swing a week before champs probably will not do too much to help you.”

The Champs are played over two days, given that a standard championship is played over 36 holes. “There is such a vibe at the Club during Champs,” Eddie shares. “This year, we did a few things differently to improve the golfers’ experience, like changing the scorecard, doing a two-tee start off the first and tenth, and allowing all divisions to play together.”

By all accounts, the event was a pulsating success, with the team mentioning the camaraderie and support among members as highlights. “To see members on the terrace and deck cheering each other on, and staying behind to congratulate the champs was great. Ultimately, that’s what makes Simbithi truly special.”

Club General Manager, Craig Nell, shared his thoughts on the Champs.

“Hats off to our golf committee chairman and captains for their amazing contribution to the competition. Dane and his merry band of fantastic staff ensured the tournament ran like clockwork. Congratulations, also, to all our winners, who certainly put on a show for the spectators. Tee boxes, balconies and the deck outside the Fig Tree were filled with supporters as they cheered the golfers on. It is fantastic to see how special our camaraderie is at the Club.”

The 2024 winners are:

Men’s A Division – Greg Smith

Men’s B Division – Kurt Backeberg

Men’s C Division – Yasheen Jeon

Ladies’ Overall – Michelle Dold

Ladies’ Gold Division – Kemayah Moodliar

Ladies’ Silver Division – Michelle Dold

Ladies’ Bronze Division – Lynne Hepburn

Ladies’ Copper Division – Gail Leaver