We have all been affected by Covid-19 in one way or another. Last year was a year that many will remember as life changing and probably a year to forget. Yet your management continues to strive for good governance and to do its best work in difficult times that continue in the present lockdown. We will always strive to secure and deliver events that will meet member expectations.
Some members continue to question the number of tournaments organised in 2020, prize funds and how the sponsorship was derived. We all by now must realise that Covid-19 and the variants of the same are devasting viruses. Statistics of Covid-19 are broadcast daily, and the President again addressed the nation this month to reiterate that we all have to work together to combat the pandemic. An adjusted risk analysis was assessed by government and stricter rules placed in the current level 3 discipline.
We had tough and necessary ‘lockdowns’ through the different levels imposed by government during 2020. Businesses took a huge knock, not to mention the ordinary man in the street whose disposable income eroded, and the lucky or smart ones had to rely on saved or borrowed capital to survive. This also had a major impact on the Senior Tour business and the golf industry. Therefore, our response to concerned members as to why there were so few events and for such small prize funds is to watch the media and listen to the economic advisors. Business must recover before we can request and secure sponsorship from potential investors. How long will that take? We do not have the answer, but we can say that there are many sport disciplines, promoters and agents chasing the availability of too few Rands on offer.
The Sunshine Tour has suspended its tournament schedule for 2021 to begin in March. We nevertheless also respect the Presidents’ directives that allow for golf events to take place currently if we follow the strict guidelines of GolfRSA during operations. Golf Clubs need rounds of golf to survive and the Senior Tour needs to give newcomers and existing members opportunity to secure playing privileges for 2021 by way of participating in a Q-School. Therefore, we confirm that 41 entrants as of 17 January will play in the Q-School at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club from 21-22 January 2021.
We reiterate from the December newsletter:” Members should only be aware that your management is doing its best to create and secure events and post a prize fund from an approved budget that contains operating expenses. Standard prize fund breakdowns will be posted on the website shortly and there will no longer be equal amounts from certain low finishing positions in the distribution. All event prize funds will be published at every event before it starts. Last year we had sponsors withdraw sponsorship extremely late causing a rectification from a previously communicated number. It happened at Orkney and Silver Lakes.
Your management has redefined its purpose and strategies for business, so that our brand and offering will resonate with existing and potential sponsors to create events for members. New ideas, new innovations and realistic goals have been set to change the trajectory of the company towards success in these times.
There was unwelcomed speculation and comment from some members that the Senior Tour paid David Frost R50k in appearance fees. We confirm that this is not true. Further there was stirring up of emotions by members at Silver Lakes of how sponsored monies were disbursed. The Senior Tour’s current model is to accumulate income from wealthy amateur participants/corporates, who wish to play in our events and together with small sponsors here and there to create a prize fund. All services and work create costs that are met by the derived income. We were extremely fortunate to have been able to organise three tournaments at noticeably short notice last November, even if they were for small prize funds. Members have the choice to enter or not, depending on their financial circumstances and chances of winning money. If you feel strongly about an administration element, please place it in writing and address it to the Players’ Committee chairman, as well as offering a solution.
A draft tournament schedule for 2021 has been designed and is currently a working document to secure sponsorship. We hope to release a schedule with confirmed events by mid-February.
Our first event after the Q-School will be a one day pro-am at Centurion on 16th February. Contact Pat for more details.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Classic is scheduled for 14-16 April 2021. A new agreement with amendments is in process to accommodate the new dates.
We thank Fidelity for their investment in the Senior Tour in 2020 with two events that somewhat eased the pain for our members. The Fidelity Board will decide whether to continue their relationship with the Senior Tour in February. We trust that they will oblige and these events in 2021 will be 36-hole, limited field size tournaments of 46 exempt professionals and 4 pre- qualifiers. There will be a cut after 18 holes to the top 25 and ties.
The SASO is scheduled to be held at Plettenberg Bay from 6-9 April 2021. Members will be kept informed of the Bitou Municipalities’ adjusted budget decision to complete their three- year contract with the Senior Tour. This happens on 29 January 2021 according to the Mayor of Plettenberg Bay.
We have an arrangement with Sun International, where we will organise five events associated with their casino facilities. These together with our other order of merit tournaments will create a “Race to the Wild Coast Sun“ scheduled for 18-20 November, where only the top 30 on the 2021 order of merit, as of 16 November 2021, will be eligible to participate. The Sun International series events will be limited field events but members with playing privileges will also be able to enter and pre-qualify if not exempted. We hope to hold events at Sun City in May and Mount Edgecombe as soon as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, as these facilities rely on casino gaming and liquor sales.
We are talking to the Legends Tour about hosting a co-sanctioned tournament with the Europeans in November this year. The Senior Tour would have to secure the sponsorship.
Last Year, a new event was held at the Orkney Golf Club where Bornfree Civils sponsored the prize fund. This was an extraordinarily successful 36-hole tournament and it will again be on our schedule this year. We hope to secure events in Nelspruit and Welkom this year as well.
Membership-Subscriptions, Tour School, Cards and Badges
Subscriptions have been held at R1600, the same as last year for the period 01 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 for the regular member category. Due to the Covid-19 position and golfing restrictions this year, membership for 2020 has been extended to all members until
28 February 2021. All members who finished in the top 40 positions on the 2020 SAST order of merit list will automatically qualify for regular membership in 2021, if they wish to continue their membership. Please check the website and the December Newsletter for more details on membership.
We reiterate that The Board has decided that only members finishing outside the OOM 2020 top 40 may play in the “Kevin Smith” or secondary professional competitions arranged by others. The Senior Tour does not recognise or subscribe to handicap or bonus competitions specifically arranged for our members in competition or pro-ams.
Membership Playing Badges and Cards will be provided for players qualified in categories 1-7(c).
Please check the Senior Tour Website for details on the player rankings and starting field categories.
Membership Cards only will be issued to Affiliate Members.
On 18 May last year, we sent certain members an email to submit some career details about themselves. Some did, most did not. Please send these to Neville Clarke (firstname.lastname@example.org), so that we can archive the details and promote the Tour.
WEBSITE REVIEW AND RECONSTRUCTION
A new website has been designed and is active on the digital and social platform.There has been agreement from the Board to constantly review the website with new offerings and newsworthy blogs. Also, we have linked into the Sunshine Tour website and now have the same look and feel as theirs. Phase two for us is to complete the player archives and tournament menus. We will have a ‘player of the month’ feature and finally a ‘player of the year’ award concluding in 2021. Please bear with us as we endevour to have the navigation of the website made more simplistic and interesting.
We are also talking to a media/digital marketing company interested in compiling performance clips and interviews at our tournaments for social media interaction.
Good Golfing and stay safe.