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Statement from GolfRSA

13th June 2020

GolfRSA Statement – Announcement on the return to Golf

GolfRSA and the Golf bodies welcome the efforts of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture that have allowed for the safe return of Golf.

The Golf bodies wish to thank the Minister, Director-General and their team of staff for their commitment to helping Golf to begin exercise and training for members of a federation, agency, club or body.

Golf acknowledges and recognises that the safety of human life is of paramount importance. We appreciate the challenge presented to the government to ensure an appropriate response to the threats presented by the global Corona Virus pandemic. As a result, we sought to ensure compliance with unfolding regulations and directives.

Over the past few weeks, GolfRSA has equipped all clubs with Risk Mitigation Strategies and training of Compliance Officers. In addition to this, GolfRSA has provided all facilities with a state-of-the-art Application that allows for the scanning and monitoring of all golfers and staff.

Clubs need to complete the Confirmation of Compliance Document and submit it to GolfRSA before they can open their facilities. 

We wish to thank the golfing public and industry for their support of the collaborative process undertaken by the golf bodies.

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Statement from GolfRSA

8th June 2020

GolfRSA STATEMENT – 8 June 2020

GolfRSA has today received an official reprimand from the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture following certain golf estates and facilities opening up for golf last week and this past weekend.

According to the official letter from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, “the opening of these facilities is in direct contravention of Regulations 37 (1) (e) read with 39 (2) (b) of government’s Alert Level 3 Regulations.”

“Hence, the contravention of the above Regulations, in terms of Regulation 48 constitutes and offence, which may amount to a fine or imprisonment,” the statement continues.

The actions of these estates and facilities has potentially put the reopening of the entire golf industry at risk. 

In the letter, the Department wished to place on record their “appreciation for various engagements with GolfRSA as we chart the way forward for a return to play for the sports sector”.

The fruitful discussions between the delegation for Golf and DSAC have been amicable and progressive. We have established a high level of mutual trust and the Minister, Director-General and the team at the Department has been open and proactive in terms of working towards solutions for the safe return of Golf and other non-contact sports.

In a statement on Friday 5th June, GolfRSA communicated that we were days away from an announcement regarding the decision relating to the return of golf. GolfRSA also warned that actions of golfers and clubs demonstrating defiance of the regulations could negatively impact this announcement.

The behaviour of a small minority of golf clubs and golfers over the past few days is a direct threat to the reopening of the golf industry, undoing the good work done by the delegation of golf over this period.

In the official letter, the Department acknowledged that it “fully understands the impact that the pandemic is having on Golf and the sporting sector as a whole”. The letter requests GolfRSA to notify golfers and clubs to “desist from resuming golf activities until such time as the directions are gazetted and the details therein are complied with”.

GolfRSA does not condone the opening of any golf facilities before the department gazettes the official regulations and we sincerely hope these actions have not put the reopening of the golf industry at risk.

We have yet to make an official statement in terms of an actual date for golf’s return and we request that golfers treat any communication from outside agencies with caution, as there are many misleading communications from clubs, as well as posts doing the rounds on social media.

GolfRSA and the SA golfing bodies urgently appeal to all golf facilities in South Africa not to jeopardise Golf’s positive position. Please comply with the current Alert Level 3 Regulations and exercise good conduct as we cross the final hurdle.

Click the link BELOW to view the letter from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture
Letter Department SportsArtsCulture_8June2020

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Virtual Sunshine Tour launches SA golf’s first virtual professional tournament 1

7th June 2020

Rama seals Virtual Sunshine Tour Knockout victory

Rookie Nikhil Rama claimed a comfortable three-shot win over Heinrich Bruiners in the final of the Virtual Sunshine Tour Knockout to become the very first champion of this virtual tournament.

A first for professional golf in South Africa, the #VST8Knockout featured eight golfers from the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour. They competed against each other in a knockout format at Soweto Country Club, and all the matches were being streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

The first semi-final match was between Dwayne Basson and Rama and having been in fine form from the knockout stage, Rama won the match in the first playoff hole. Both players finished tied at one-under-par in regulation and while Basson made a par there on the first hole of sudden-death, Rama made his birdie and won the match.

“It feels pretty good to win the #VST8Knocout,” said Rama, “I know it’s not like winning a tournament on the main Tour but it’s still nice to win and thank you to everybody who watched supported us.

“Winning the first virtual tournament is amazing for me because it’s something we’ve never done and I hope it can only grow from here. I can’ wait to get back on real tournaments and start competing again.”

In his semi-final match-up, Bruiners beat Oliver Bekker to book himself a spot in the final.

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Virtual Sunshine Tour launches SA golf’s first virtual professional tournament 1

6th June 2020

Rama eyes maiden “Tour” win as he seals semi-final spot of Virtual Sunshine Tour Knockout

The VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government got underway on Saturday and rookie Nikhil Rama was in rampant form as his three-under-par score saw him qualify for the semi-finals with the lowest score in the field.

The virtual knockout tournament – a first of its kind in professional golf in South Africa – features a total of eight golfers from the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour competing against each other in a knockout format at Soweto Country Club, and is being streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

The first match saw Dwayne Basson take on Thabiso Ngcobo in a thrilling encounter where the winner would be decided in sudden death. Both players finished at two-under-par in regulation but a birdie on the fourth playoff hole earned Basson the first spot in the semi-finals.

“It went a lot better than expected,” said Basson after his victory, “and definitely didn’t expect the game to get my heart going a little there towards the end. But it was nice to finish the way I did, with those few birdies in those last few holes. So, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-finals”

Playing in the second match of the day, rookie Rama, claimed a comfortable six-stroke victory over Dylan Mostert, a rookie himself on Tour. Rama carded a three-under-par round, the lowest score of the day.

“It feels awesome to win my first match of the knockout,” he said, “it’s a first Sunshine Tour event for me. The thing I mostly enjoyed today was that feeling of bringing back tournament nerves again. Started off a bit nervous but then got it together and the nerves settled. Started to get the game back again. If I win, I don’t think it will be as big of a victory as the main Sunshine Tour win but it will be up there for me to remember”

Oliver Bekker also claimed a hard-fought win against Sunshine Ladies Tour pro, Cassandra Hall. His two-over-par score was enough to earn him a four-shot victory and a spot in the semis. “It was really exciting, said Bekker.

“There was a little bit more pressure though because there’s a little bit more than just pride on the line; to try and get into the next stage. It was good. I didn’t play my best but luckily it was good enough. Looking forward to tomorrow.”

The final spot in the semi-finals went to Heinrich Bruiners whose level-par finished ensured he claims victory in his second appearance on the Virtual Sunshine Tour. He lost to Andre Nel the first virtual challenge of this series.

“They say level-par is always good,” Bruiners declared after his victory over another Sunshine Ladies Tour player, Lejan Lewthwaite. “I’m just happy that I pulled it through. Lejan played some good golf but I was lucky because I have a PlayStation at home. She probably would have beaten me if she had more practice, I got lucky today.

“I’m going to bring my A-game tomorrow. Bekker needs to be prepared because I’m going to bring the heat.”

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Virtual Sunshine Tour launches SA golf’s first virtual professional tournament 1

4th June 2020

Virtual Sunshine Tour launches SA golf’s first virtual professional tournament

The Virtual Sunshine Tour (VST) will be taking it to the next level this weekend in a first for South African professional golf – a virtual golf knockout tournament.

The VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government will feature a total of eight golfers from the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour competing against each other in a knockout format on Saturday 6 June and Sunday 7 June, and which will be streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

In another significant move, Soweto Country Club will be the host virtual course of this tournament. This brings this iconic golf club, which has undergone a comprehensive refurbishment by the Sunshine Tour and in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government and a host of private and public benefactors, into an entirely new digital space.

“We are extremely excited about this next phase of the Virtual Sunshine Tour. This is part of our greater strategy to engage with and reach a new audience on platforms where they wouldn’t normally consume golf,” Thomas Abt, the Deputy Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said at the launch of the tournament on Thursday.

“It has been extremely difficult to have no opportunity to play live golf, and this has been a challenging time for all of us in South African golf. As a Tour, our foremost priority is to give our member players the chance to earn a living, and we cannot do that at this time. We also need to give our sponsors value during this time. So we’ve had to reinvent ourselves somewhat, and the Virtual Sunshine Tour has definitely gained momentum. No other professional sport that we know of in South Africa has had this kind of consistent virtual presence during lockdown, so we are very proud of what we’ve achieved this far. This tournament is another important step in that growth.”

The format of the VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government will see four matches played online on Saturday 6 June from 12:00 to 17:30. The semi-finals and final will be played on Sunday 7 June. The first semi-final will be played from 12:00 to 13:00, followed by the second semi-final from 13:30 to 14:30. The final will take place from 15:00 to 16:00.

The eight professionals will compete for a total of R6 500 in prize money, with the winner earning R3 000.

Sunshine Ladies Tour professional Lejan Lewthwaite is one of the eight professionals who will compete this weekend. “I jumped at the chance to be a part of this because I’m just itching to be competitive in some way again,” she said.

“It’s been tough as a professional athlete to stay focused during this COVID-19 lockdown and as we wait for golf courses to re-open, so in that sense, I think the Virtual Sunshine Tour has been an awesome concept.”

Sunshine Tour professional Heinrich Bruiners said he is equally excited about the chance to compete in a virtual golf tournament for the first time. “I’m so excited just to be able to be competitive again and get those competitive juices flowing.”

Abt also paid tribute to the significance of Soweto Country Club being the virtual host this weekend.

“It’s very exciting. The Soweto Country Club project was the vision of our Commissioner, Selwyn Nathan, and all of us who have worked on it have been privileged to be a part of it. The Gauteng Provincial Government have been amazing partners with us on this project, and we’re very pleased to give them this opportunity to showcase that even more in the virtual space.”

VST Knockout powered by Gauteng Provincial Government Match Schedule:

Saturday 6 June

VST Match 1: Thabiso Ngcobo vs Dwayne Basson (12:00 – 13:00)

VST Match 2: Dylan Mostert vs Nikhil Rama (13:30 – 14:30)

VST Match 3: Casandra Hall vs Oliver Bekker (15:00 – 16:00)

VST Match 4: Heinrich Bruiners vs Lejan Lewthwaite (16:30 – 17:30)

Sunday 7 June 

VST Semi-Final 1 (12:00 – 13:00)

VST Semi-Final 2 (13:30 – 14:30)

VST Final (15:00 – 16:00)

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Golf waiting for government clarity

GolfRSA reaction to High Court Ruling

In light of the Gauteng High Court Ruling that declared the country’s Alert Levels 3 and 4 lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid, GolfRSA in conjunction with all the golf bodies, is taking action and legal advice to ascertain the repercussions the ruling holds in terms of the ongoing discussions between GolfRSA and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

The High Court suspended the declaration of invalidity of the regulations for 14 business days, meaning that the current Alert Level 3 regulations remain in effect until 24 June 2020 or such sooner time that the Minister amends and republishes the regulations.

It is not clear whether the ruling impacts the positive progress we have made in our consultation with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture – or not. But once we have a better understanding of our position, we intend to take the appropriate action to ensure that our bid to re-open the golf industry at level 3 remains on track.

The ruling casts legal uncertainty over the country’s regulations at a time when Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to rise. However, we remain firm and committed to our position that we can return to golf safely.

We reiterate that our golf facilities are ready.

We have been hard at work since the start of the lockdown to put Covid-19 protocols in place. We are prepared for the return of golf in line with our comprehensive Risk Mitigation Strategy for golf facilities, which adheres to all the demands of the government’s health regulations.

In addition to the Best Practice Protocols in place, GolfRSA has purchased the advanced version of HealthDocs App, which will ensure that all golf clubs and facilities address the Covid-19 compliance regulations in terms of digital screening, monitoring, tracking and recording of all staff and golfers who enter a facility.

We firmly believe we are on the right path and we are intent on seeing this process through. But we will consider every other option available to us. This is vital, as only through the return of golfers to the courses can we save the clubs, resuscitate the R48 billion (pa) golf industry and mitigate significant job losses amongst the more than 40 000 people directly employed.


Grant Hepburn Selwyn Nathan Ivano Ficalbi Chris van der Merwe
CEO Commissioner Chief Executive Chairperson
GolfRSA Sunshine Tour PGA of South Africa Club Manager Association of SA
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Statement from GolfRSA

2nd June 2020

GolfRSA Information

For all the latest news, information and guidelines surrounding golf and its return please visit the GolfRSA website and their Covid-19 Information Centre.


Link –