GEORGE GOLF NEWS - The sixth edition of the National Golf Festival (NGF) was described as a big success by players from across the country and as far afield as Dubai.
Manicured courses and perfect winter weather conditions allowed for some great golf over the three days of the tournament, with camaraderie and social events rounding off the festival on the fourth day.
NGF founder and director Charl Marais said they aim to promote George and the Garden Route as the best golf destination on the African continent.
"The National Golf Festival is the only event of its kind on the African continent and allows golfers to select from a menu of local courses, including Kingswood, Oubaai, George, Fancourt Montagu, Fancourt Outeniqua, Pezula, Pinnacle Point, Simola and Goose Valley. Six of these courses are in the Top 25 and all are in the Top 100 courses in SA. George is also home to the Links Course at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club, which is the top-rated course in South Africa. Golf tourism is a strong economic driver in the region, and we aim to build on this," he said.
The festival kicked off with the expo, registration and welcome function on Wednesday 3 July at the Wilderness Hotel. At the expo visitors could view some of the courses, meet players and enjoy interesting local products. Unique international golf memorabilia were also on display.
From Thursday the 4th to Saturday the 6th players took part in the NGF Tournament over three categories on nine courses across the Garden Route. The prize-giving function concluded the festival on Saturday night at Augusta Grill with great entertainment by Michael Lindt.
The festival's unique scoring system levels the playing field and everyone had a fair chance to win, regardless of their handicap. The system also takes into account different conditions at different courses.
It was the first year that the George Municipality came on board as a premium sponsor to the event and it added a lot of value. "It is wonderful to see that the Economic Development department, including George Tourism, shares our vision to promote George and the Garden Route as the home of golf in Africa," said Werner Rall, event organiser. "We would like to thank them for their contribution to help grow the National Golf Festival for our region. It adds a healthy economic injection during winter."
George Tourism manager Joan Shaw said with George being the leading golf destination in the country, the municipality was delighted to act as a premier sponsor of the NGF 2019. "This event is an excellent opportunity to showcase George as a premier golf destination. George hosts a wealth of world-class courses and offers unrivalled opportunities for a memorable golf holiday."
According to Pedro Oliphant, Economic Development manager of George Municipality, the combined contribution to our economy of this type of event alone is estimated at over R1-billion.
"These events are huge cash injections for our golfing and hospitality value chains, as accommodation, eateries, local golf shops, and many other small businesses play a role in meeting the needs of these golfers," he said. "The impact on golf development is also an important part of these events as young and local golfers are exposed to the sport and its superstars. There is also benefit through the various charitable drives associated with golf."
The organisers also presented a golf clinic and lunch for a group of children from Thembalethu. The group is a legacy of earlier NGF tournaments and the passion of Sammy Kutela, who previously worked at the festival.
The children were introduced to the Sport Development Division of George Municipality who promised its assistance to this enthusiastic group of young golfers. Money was also raised for Golf 4 Cancer, an initiative of NGF, to benefit kids living with cancer. The organisers extend a big thank you to all the other sponsors and partners of the event including Distell, Doughgetters Accounting, The Wilderness Hotel, Jetline George, Hussar Grill, Loerie Guest House, Sanquine Spa and Indalu Game Reserve.
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