The Long Road to Non-Racial Golf in South Africa and the Trail Blazed by Papwa Sewgolum
For the first time in the history of the SA Open Championship, or of any other championship held under the control of the SAGU and its affiliated provincial unions, a non-European golfer, Sewsunker (Papwa) Sewgolum, was a competitor.
These historic words, reporting on the SA Open Championship held at the East London Golf Club in March 1961, appeared in the pages of SA Golf magazine. They did not mark the beginning of the struggle towards non-racial golf, this had started years before, but they did mark the first chink in the armour of apartheid in sport and they heralded the start of Papwa Sewgolum’s role in the long road that lay ahead.
As a two-time and the current Dutch Open Champion, as well as the current SA Non-European Open Champion, Papwa’s credentials were impressive and entry to the 1961 SA Open could hardly have been refused by the SAGU. Government approval was, however, a different matter. A permit under the Group Areas Act signed by the Minister of the Interior, F W de Klerk at the time, was required before Papwa could play on the ‘whites only’ East London course. The permit was duly issued and history was made.
Papwa was given every support by the East London GC, its members and fellow competitors but the tension of not knowing whether he could play or not until the last minute, not to mention that he was given no opportunity to practice over the course, took the edge off his game. He finished in a tie for 18th with scores of 76 77 75 79 – 307. He failed to get into the money but lost nothing of his reputation.
The immediate background to this historic event was the refusal by the Natal GU to accept Papwa’s entry for the Natal Open. Their contention was that the application raised such important questions of tradition and policy that they felt bound to refer the matter to the SAGU who would next be meeting at the SA Championships in East London. But this would only be some weeks after the Natal Open had been played.
Papaw entered for the Natal Open again in 1962 and was accepted by the Natal GU but this time it was turned down by the Minister of Community Development. The reason given was that his entry had not been received in time for the Minister to negotiate with the Natal GU and Royal Durban GC where the event was to be played.
These problems were not confined to South Africa. In the February 1961 issue of the American journal ‘Golf Magazine’, there appeared the heart-rending story of a Negro golf professional, Ted Rhodes, who for 20 years struggled with unending patience and dignity to become a member of the USPGA. For him it was a drama full of heartbreak and loneliness but he is reported as saying that he believed that in his lifetime the prejudice against colour would lessen enough to permit coloured professionals to compete on equal terms with the whites. The article concludes: ‘Golf equality has been experienced in two World Team Amateur Championships; it may be that the light is peeping through’.
1963: Making World Headlines
The events of 1963 made world headlines and are still talked about to this day. This was the year that Papwa’s entry for the Natal Open was accepted and the year that he won the championship for the first time. It was played over the course of the Durban CC and history was made when, with scores of 73 70 74 76 – 293, Papwa finished one shot ahead of Denis Hutchinson and Bobby Verwey. This was the first time a provincial championship, previously restricted to whites only, had been won by a non-white golfer. Important as this was, the event gained notoriety and is perhaps most often remembered as the championship when Papwa, not allowed in the clubhouse, was presented with the trophy on the 18th green in the rain. Much has been written about this sad event; excuses made, reasons given, justification offered. The fact is that it happened and nothing more need be said.
That year the SA Open Championship was also played at the Durban CC. Papwa’s entry was accepted but that of another non-white player, William Manie, was refused. A statement issued by the SAGU makes interesting reading.
Entries for the 1963 Open have closed and two entries from non-Europeans were received. A decision was reached to the effect that, having regard to their respective records, the very special qualifications of Sewsunker Sewgolum were such that he should be permitted to play. Similar considerations were lacking in the other entry which was refused. In the light of the statement made by the Minister of the Interior that, if the SAGU accepted Papwa’s entry, the Government may legislate in order to prevent racial mixing on the sports field, the SAGU will reconsider the conditions of entry for future championships.
Thus Papwa was in the SA Open field and was clearly a strong challenger. He came oh so close to pulling off the Country Club double and with scores of 70 71 71 70 – 282 lost by a single shot to Retief Waltman, missing a 5 metre putt on the last hole to tie.
The Summer of 1963 / 64
While there was always the veiled threat that Papwa’s participation in open competition was contrary to government policy, nevertheless permits to play were mostly granted and the summer of 1963/64 was a busy one for Papwa. A series of three Grand Prix sponsored tournaments was on the schedule to be held in Durban, Cape Town and, finally, Johannesburg and Papwa played in all three, winning the first leg at Royal Durban with scores of 71 72 73 70 – 286, coming second to Gary Player in the second leg at King David CC on 297, albeit 14 shots behind, and finishing 12th in the third leg at Kensington GC.
In addition Papwa played in the “Open 5000” sponsored tournament held at Kensington GC, tieing for 8th place on 289, in the SA Open at Bloemfontein GC, finishing strongly to take third place with scores of 69 71 71 70 – 281, and in the Natal Open at Royal Durban where he finished way down the field in 18th place on a score of 305. He also went north all the way to Ndola in Zambia and won the Cock ‘o the North Tournament against many of South Africa’s leading professionals. This was also the year, 1964, when Papwa won the Dutch Open for the third time.
Notwithstanding this seemingly busy schedule, Papwa was not able to play the complete 63/64 professional circuit and was denied entry for the Dunlop Masters, the Transvaal Open and the Western Province Open. The door was not permanently open.
Another Busy Summer – 1964 / 65
Returning to South Africa after perhaps his best trip to the UK and Europe and as Dutch Open Champion, Papwa had another busy and successful summer ahead of him. His greatest success was to win the Natal Open for the second time, greatest in that in a head to head with Gary Player and Harold Henning he came out top by a single shot. The championship was again played over the Country Club course and Papwa’s scores were 71 73 71 70 – 285. Papwa was followed by hordes of enthusiastic fans, noisily rooting for their hero. Crowd control was not of the best and Player was some what unnerved by Papwa’s jostling fans, but none of this detracts from Papwa’s achievement.
The other events Papwa played in were the SA Open at Royal Cape GC (12th = on 71 75 69 72 – 287), the Dunlop (SA) Masters at Royal Durban GC (3rd = on 74 69 70 74 – 287), the inaugural PGA Tournament at Houghton (5th = on 287) and the Liquidair ‘5000’ at Kensington GC (15th on 292). The inaugural Flame Lily sponsored tournament was held in Bulawayo in March 1965 and Papwa was there, finishing in a tie for fifth place with scores of 71 72 72 72 - 287.
At the end of all this, and in spite of not playing in the Transvaal and Western Province Opens, Papwa finished third on the Order of Merit for the 64/65 season.
|Gary Player||12 rounds||70,25||R1 750|
|Harold Henning||28 rounds||71,03||R2 940|
|Papwa Sewgolum||20 rounds||71,90||R1 448|
Of some interest are the measures that had to be taken to accommodate Papwa during the playing of the ‘white’ tournaments. At Houghton he had a special flatlet at the back of the clubhouse with bed sitting room and separate shower and toilet, while, to allow the gallery to be mixed, a special permit was obtained.
1966: Gathering Storm Clouds
The first signs of problems with respect to Papwa’s ongoing involvement with the professional circuit and competition in the nominally ‘whites only’ tournaments and championships occurred in the 1965/66 season. Papwa was refused entry to the Western Province Open, was forced to withdraw from the Transvaal Open and, surprisingly, was initially refused entry to both the SA Open and the Natal Open. There was much consternation that this might lead to South African golfers being blackballed worldwide and a special plea was made to the Minister of Planning to reverse the decision. This he did and Papwa was able to play in the Natal Open at Royal Durban GC, finishing strongly on scores of 75 73 73 71 – 292 for fourth place, and also in the SA Open at Houghton, where sadly, after an opening 78, he missed the cut. The decision by the Government was that Papwa could only play in events in which he had previously played up to the end of the previous year and then still only subject to the issue of the necessary permit.
In terms of this ruling the other events in which Papwa played in addition to the SA and Natal Opens were the PGA Championship at Germiston CC (11th = 72 70 76 72 – 290), the SA Masters at Zwartkops CC (11th = 74 74 69 69 – 286), and a sponsored tournament at Wedgwood CC in Port Elizabeth where, after opening with a 78, Papwa failed to make the cut. His winnings for the year on the SA circuit were a meagre R476. He did, however, have a measure of success in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where there were now three sponsored professional tournaments open to all races. He won the Bush Babes Tournament in Gwelo, sponsored by Bata Shoes (71 72 73 69 – 285), was 5th in the Dunlop Tournament in Bulawayo (71 75 71 71 – 288) and was 8th = in the Flame Lily Tournament in Salisbury (now Harare). How much money he won is not recorded.
Clearly it was not all plain sailing for Papwa and there was a strong likelihood that the last event of the season, the SA Open, would be his last in ‘open’ competition. An announcement from the Government to the effect of rigidly enforcing the colour bar in golf was expected. This would have had the result of Papwa’s being excluded from all tournaments and championships. Gary Player, when asked to comment, said he ‘did not meddle in politics’. Molly Reinhardt, columnist on the Sunday Times, came out with a blistering attack on Player and the strongest possible support for Papwa. ‘ I have the greatest admiration for Papwa’s impeccable behaviour throughout his golfing career. No golfer in the world has suffered the insults that have been handed out to this first-class sportsman.’
And then it happened. The ban which golfers of all races from all over the country feared came at the end of the 1966 season and Papwa was excluded from all ‘white’ tournaments. This continued for some years and when, for example, he submitted an entry for the SA Open in 1970, he was turned down. In the meantime he continued to play with much success in the various non-white tournaments and championships around the country, he made various trips abroad, principally to the UK and Europe but also to Australia and New Zealand and he continued to play in the Rhodesian tournaments and in Swaziland. His best showing was at Mbabane in the Holiday Inns tournament in March 1971 where he finished in third place (73 68 68 67 – 276) behind Denis Hutchinson and Cobie le Grange.
There was clearly an awareness that something needed to be done about non-white golf and in December 1968 Gary Player played a large part in organising a R1200 golf event, the most lavish ever held in South Africa for non-White golfers. Papwa was an easy winner on a score of 67 76 70 73 – 286 with Tshabalala second (293). His first prize was R500.
With the ban on non-white golfers continuing, the SA (N-E) GA, under the presidency of Louis Nelson, made plans to send six young non-White golfers to compete in the 1970 British and Continental circuits. The Association aimed at raising R6000 to promote the tour, the intention of which was to make the presence of non-White golfers felt in international golf. “We want to ensure a continuity of participation of non-White golfers in international golf following the breakthrough made by Papwa Sewgolum.”
In view of the ban on Papwa Sewgolum, several prominent Durban Indian businessmen were approached by C K Naidoo early in 1970 to put up money to sponsor Papwa, not only providing him with money to play overseas but also to support his wife and family in his absence. Mr Naidoo stressed that this move was not politically motivated. It was merely “to give Papwa a chance”. Papwa did indeed travel to the UK in 1970 but ran out of money and had to return prematurely. Naidoo’s plan was not completely successful.
The Light Peeping Through
Changes on the local golf scene were, however, in the wind. In 1971 the Government, in the face of mounting pressure to allow non-racial golf, introduced the concept of Open International Tournaments, open that is to golfers of all races provided always that they were players of an adequate standard. The SAGU and the SAPGA made application to the Secretary of Sport that all events on the pro circuit as well as the SA Amateur should be so designated and were disappointed that this did not happen. But it was a start and Papwa and other non-white golfers were soon to be seen again in competition with the rest. In the first season, 1971/72, “the most important in our history”, there were three Open International Tournaments, the PGA Championship, the SA Open and the General Motors Classic in Port Elizabeth. The PGA was the first with entries from American Lee Elder, Taiwanese Mr Lu and many non-white South Africans. If Papwa played, his name is not amongst the qualifiers but players who did get through to all four rounds were S Sepeng (316), L Letsoala (315), D Naidoo (303), R Mogoerane (302) and, best of the group, I Chowglay (300).
‘The four days that changed the sporting face of South Africa’.
For four days Blacks and Whites mingled on a “Whites Only” golf course as though it were the established South African way of life. For four days they sat together in the stands; for four days they played together on the course; for four days they ate and drank together in the club house.
And for four days nobody gave it a second thought.
Papwa did play in the other two Open International Tournaments but missed the cut in both. In the GM Classic four non-white players qualified, V Tshabalala, I Chowglay, R Anooplall and R Mogoerane, with Chowglay again finishing the best on 301. V. Tshabalala was the only non-white golfer to play all four rounds in the SA Open which was played at Royal Johannesburg. He finished in 26th place on a score of 288. The final event of the 1971/72 circuit open to all golfers was the Holiday Inns Tournament in Swaziland. Again it appears that Papwa did not enter and it was left to Tshabalala and Mogoerane to keep the flag flying.
The 71/72 season had not been a particularly good one for Papwa. Certainly he made no impact in the newly inaugurated Open International events and he even lost the SA Non-European title which had been his own for so many years. He was runner-up by a single shot to Vincent Tshabalala. He was interviewed by Norman Canale at Wedgwood CC during the GM Classic. Heard in the comfort of the club house lounge and after failing to make the cut in the first ‘open’ tournament he had played in for some six years, Papwa’s remarks make poignant reading.
“Look at all the golfers, Black and White, mixing freely. It’s marvellous to be treated as a golfer for a change and not some sort of freak. I’m very happy for the young non-Whites who have their golf careers ahead of them. But it’s come too late for me. I’m 43 now. There’s no way for me to go but down in this tough game of nerves. I’m just about all washed up.”
Canale added: “Sadly, Papwa, the shuttlecock of sports apartheid for so many years and the man who did all the front running in the movement for mixed golf, was now too old to savour the honours out there on the fairway.”
In August 1971 it was announced that a non-White Professional Golfers’ Association was to be formed. This was welcomed. With the ever-increasing number of non-White golfers, it was important that the game was properly administered. The only concern was that golf must not fall into the trap of forming a multitude of associations, as had happened with some of the other sports.
Meanwhile discussions were taking place between the two amateur bodies, the SAGU, Basil Keartland, and the SA (N-E) GA, Louis Nelson. The SAGU were insistent that non-White golfers must be divided into two groups, amateur and professional, with the possibility of the amateur body, if conforming to the rules laid down by the R and A, being affiliated to the SAGU. The main point to emerge from the discussions was the need for non-White golfers ‘to put their house in order and get rid of the splinter groups’. With the SA Amateur Championships, Match Play and Stroke Play, being designated open international events, there was concern regarding the handicapping of non-White golfers wishing to enter.
The First ‘Open International’ SA Amateur Championship
The first ‘open international’ SA Amateur Championship was the 1972 event held in East London and history was made on that occasion in more ways than one. Firstly, for the first time, entries from non-White golfers were accepted. In the Stroke Play those that made the cut to the final 36 holes were R Mamashela, R Ngquka and S Doorasamy and the five others who did not were G Chetty, N Chetty, W Solomon, R Ntchingila and R Ramatahal. Secondly was the performance of Ronald Ngquka, a home club caddie. He was the only non-White to get through to the match play stages and, having done so, made history in grand style by beating Johann Murray, one of the country’s leading golfers, 5 and 3 in the first round. He lost to Kevin Suddards in the second round but his performance was an indication of things to come.
Later in the year it was announced that, with respect to the 1972/73 season, the SA Amateur would again be designated as ‘Open International’ as would the SA Open, the SAPGA and the SA Classic. There was still a majority of professional tournaments that were denied to non-White golfers, as also the various provincial amateur championships. Nor had there been any relaxation of the complex Government regulations and permit requirements in and around multi-racial sport.
Lee Elder had played in the 1972 PGA Championship and had accepted an invitation to play again in 1973. As part of his tour it was planned that he and Gary Player would play an exhibition match in Cape Town. Meanwhile to assist the Athlone Golf Club with the financing of their new club house Gary Player, in discussions with the WP Golf Association, offered to play free of charge an exhibition match featuring Sewgolum, Tshabalala and Chowglay while he was in Cape Town. Match secretary, Neville Kinnes, contacted the three who confirmed their availability to play and, importantly, the Association was able to obtain the necessary permit allowing both white and non-white spectators. As it happened this match was postponed until 5th February the following year when Player and Chowglay beat Sewgolum and Tshabalala 4 and 2 but of more interest were the problems facing the promoters of the Player/Elder match.
It appeared that the challenge match could only be held with the approval of the Minister of Sport and the conundrum was that, if such approval were to be given, it would entail a major amendment to the ‘open international’ concessions granted over the previous two years. These concessions granted permission for non-Whites to compete only in full-scale tournaments classed as ‘international’. This match would be between two people. There was, however, a precedent. The year before Yvonne Goolagong played what was classed as a challenge match against Margaret Court on the Rondebosch tennis courts. In the end the Player/Elder match never took place. No suitable date could be found that did not clash with an SAPGA tournament and the matter of the permit fell away.
The Summer of 1972 / 1973
As the summer of 1972/73 approached, there was much talk of big things happening on the non-White professional tour. An approach was made to Gary Player for his views on a R10 000 non-White tournament to which he and other leading white professionals would be invited. He said he would play “provided clearance is given by the Government and the White PGA’. The problem was finding a sponsor. In further prospect was a seven-tournament non-White circuit with prize-money of R18 000, which, added to the ‘open international’ tournaments already named, made for potentially very lucrative pickings for the better non-White players.
But it was not all plain sailing amongst the non-White professionals. Papwa, unhappy with the direction in which the organisation of non-White golf was heading, decided to boycott the Oris Stroke Play Championship at Houghton. “I refuse to be a political football,” said Papwa. “I’m getting tired of non-White golf officials who put themselves above the game.” In Natal Daddy Naidoo and 16 other golfers refused to turn out for an event carrying a R300 first prize and one they had all entered the year before. What was this all about? The reason was the formation of the non-White South African Professional Players’ Association, and their insistence that all non-White golfers should be members of that Association or be barred from tournaments under its control. Papwa and the others refused to join. Mr Rasool, tournament director of the Natal PGA, explained: “Our leading players won’t have anything to do with an organisation which is not affiliated to the White PGA. Participation under these conditions might get them barred from the multi-racial tournaments this season.” Rasool hit out at non-White officials who were making personality issues of golf. “This sort of bickering and sniping is not helping the non-White golfers.”
Another issue worrying the non-white golfers was the compulsory use of the bigger American ball in all SAPGA tournaments. Robert Ntshingila, well know in golfing circles and well travelled, felt it would be unfair and would put non-Whites at a disadvantage. So too did Simon ‘Cox’ Hlapo, a seasoned veteran amongst black golfers, who said he was shocked. Brian Henning is unlikely to have been persuaded to change his mind!
The open international events attracted the usual entry from the leading non-white players. In the PGA championship at the Wanderers Papwa and Chowglay were the best, tied on 299 but a long way back, and also completing the four rounds were Mogoerane (301) and Naidoo (304). The SA Open was played at the Durban CC, a course very much to Papwa’s liking, and he did well, finishing in a tie for 11th place. He was let down by a 77 in the last round. He was the only non-white player to finish. Next on the schedule was the General Motors Classic at Wedgwood CC. If Papwa entered, he did not make the cut. Those that did were R Mogoerane, I Chowglay, S Sepeng and Z Manunda. Best finisher was Mogoerane on 301.
A Stop Press announcement in the Cape Times dated 29th August 1973 states: PORT ELIZABETH: African golfers in Port Elizabeth are to get a R130 000 golf course financed by General Motors South African and the Cape Midland Bantu Affairs Administration Board. – Cape Times Correspondent. Did this ever happen? If so, where is it now?
The SAPPA Fights Back
The South African Professional Players Association did not take rejection lying down and assumed a no-nonsense stance at their annual meeting in October 1973. Eight professional golfers were suspended for two years for taking part in multi-national events and Papwa, who seemed to have altered his position vis a vis the R1500 Oris Watch Stroke Play competition, was given that morning to pay a fine of R50 or not be allowed to take part in the event. The Association threatened to go it alone if the sponsor questioned their actions.
Another event under the control of the SAPPA was the inaugural Masonite Africa Ltd. Tournament of Champions. This was played in October 1973 at the Johannesburg CC over 54 holes and carried with it a R1500 sponsorship. The tournament was won by Papwa after a tense fight back by Theo Manyama. Good news for the Association was that Masonite Africa Ltd were delighted with the response from the golfers and would sponsor their second tournament of champions the following April in Durban. Plans were afoot that this would be one of ten tournaments for Black golfers in the following season.
On the other side of the coin the Government announced that five events in the 1973/74 season would be designated as being ‘open international’. These were the PGA Championship, the Vavasseur Natal Championship, the SA Open Championship, the SA Classic in Port Elizabeth and the SA Amateur Championship. As a further incentive the SAGU announced that the top four black golfers on the Order of Merit would not be required to qualify for multi-national tournaments on the SAPGA circuit. Applications for the Amateur would, however, have to be accompanied by records of their performances over the past six months.
Meanwhile early in January 1974 Papwa won the SA Non-European Open which was played at Glendower CC. Papwa was nine shots behind Tshabalala after three rounds and then made up ten shots with 70 to Tshabalala’s 80 in the final round. The scores were (77 69 75 70 – 291) and (70 70 72 80 – 292). There is no evidence of Papwa’s having played in the SAPGA Championship or in the SA Open and his next outing was the Vavasseur Natal Open in January, one of the open international events. He finished on 77 73 70 72 – 292 for a share of 13th place. Also doing well were Chowglay (294) and D Naidoo (295) with J Chetty (311) bringing up the rear. In May Papwa won the 54-hole LTA Masters R3000 Non-White Tournament at Observatory GC. He scored 218 and was followed by R Mogoerane (219), V Tshabalala (220) and I Chowglay (221).
The Controlling Bodies
Overall control of golf in South Africa at this time was in the hands of an organisation called the South African Golf Council. When exactly this body was formed and what its powers were is not clear but its intention was presumably to establish some sort of working relationship between black and white golfers and to co-ordinate the activities of the various controlling bodies. Amateur golf was under the control of the SA Golf Union (white) and the SA (N-E) Golf Association (black) while professional tournament golf was under the control of the SA Professional Golf Association (white) and the SA Professional Players Association (black). Another body called the South African Bantu Golf Union had also recently been formed in the Transvaal but it was considered not to represent Bantu interests throughout the whole country. As such it was deemed to have no valid status and was denied membership of the SA Golf Council.
That the two professional bodies did not always see eye to eye has been made evident, each one jealously guarding its own domain and demanding absolute loyalty of its members. Notwithstanding these differences, of interest is that it appears that Papwa was able to play in events under the control of both of these professional bodies and also events under the control of both of the amateur bodies. The Vavasseur Natal Open was under the SAPGA, the Masonite Tournament was under the SAPPA, the SA Open was under the SAGU and the SA (N-E) Open was under the SA (N-E) GA. Clearly Papwa was one of a kind!
Matters did not end there. In 1975 there was a split amongst black professional golfers and two rival controlling bodies were formed, the SA Golf Association and the SA National Golf Union. In 1980 these two reached an agreement to disband and form a single controlling body, the Tournament Players Association. Simon Hlapo was elected chairman, Bernard Gase secretary and Vincent Tshabalala and Reggie Mamashela committee members. The formation of the new body was apparently Gary Player’s idea.
Tshabalala was meanwhile sponsored by Player which enabled him to play in the UK and also to visit the United States. Player was impressed with his showing in the US and as a result took him to Australia. He played in a number of events including the Australian Open, but with very limited success. Player won the Australian Open for the seventh time in spite of having to endure anti-apartheid demonstrations. It was the beginning of troubled times for South African golfers abroad. In 1976 the British PGA tried to withhold payment of prize money to Simon Hobday because of his Rhodesian/South African connections.
Business as Usual
Within the framework of the concept of open international events and the fact of black golfers being restricted to these, it was for the most part business as usual for the next few seasons. The names of the leading black golfers competing in the designated tournaments tended to repeat from year to year, tournament to tournament - Chowglay, Tshabalala, Mogoerane, Naidoo, Manyama, Sepeng, Motati, Mamashela, Mavundla, Chetty, Molefe and, of course, Papwa Sewgolum, although Papwa was playing less and less. It must be said that, with few exceptions, the black golfers were usually trailing way behind the leaders, usually battling to make the 36-hole cut. Chowglay was perhaps the leading player and he was part of a group of professionals sponsored by Becks Lager touring the country giving golf lessons. A newspaper report states that he qualified for the ‘White’ PGA circuit and would be eligible to compete in eight tournaments.
A Major Break-Through
A major break-through came in September 1975 when the Minister of Sport, Piet Koornhof, announced that all racial barriers on the professional golf tour were to be lifted.
While this magazine retains its strict and sincere apolitical policy, based on the belief that politics and sport do not mix, nor should they be made to; we applaud the recent political breakthrough announced by the South African Sports Minister Dr. Koornhof that all racial barriers on the South African pro golf tour were to be lifted.
We feel it fitting that golf should be the sport chosen for the first complete blanket breakthrough, for it is possibly the greatest sport in the world, and it is also a sport where black and white people of golf have been integrated since the game was first introduced to this country more than a century ago.
Whether the fact that both the Prime Minister and the Sports Minister are golfers had anything to do with the decision we don’t know . . . what we do know is that by removing all barriers of race and making merit the strict yardstick by which a man‘s qualification is measured, golf has become the first major sport to win the battle of politics.
In a year when South Africa holds the World Cup of golf and one where PGA Tournament Director Brian Henning has announced new record highs in sponsorship,the news comes as a massive triumph for the men who strive to keep our head above the often heavy and troubled political waters.
- SA Golf September 1975
Vincent Tshabalala, French Open Champion
Another golfer showing his potential and making his mark was Vincent Tshabalala. He did well in the 1976 Dunlop Masters at Kensington, finishing fifth on a score of 273 (Papwa finished on 289) and also in the Rhodesian Dunlop Masters on 285 for a share of eighth place. Then, of course, it was in May of 1976 that Vincent Tshabalala won the French Open Championship, his greatest achievement. His scores were 69 70 66 67 – 272. As mentioned, Tshabalala was able to travel to the UK and Europe thanks to a fund started by Gary Player. He played in a number of events, including the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, but the French was his crowning glory. Rumour has it that he came home R4500 to the good. Papwa was also in the UK in 1976 but achieved very little.
As a result of his French success Tshabalala was invited by the SAPGA to represent the country in the two-man World Cup Team. This was a singular honour which, somehow, Tshabalala chose to ignore. He did not respond to the invitation and it seemed that for reasons of his own he did not want to accept. Then he changed his mind but it was too late. The upshot was trouble with the PGA, Brian Henning, and Tshabalala’s entry for the SA Open was turned down. He was suspended not only by the SAPGA but also by the black controlling body. But, it seems, he was soon forgiven and in January 1977 Tshabalala won the SA Non-European Open in Durban, albeit an event run by the amateur body, the SA N-E Golf Association. It all gets very complicated!
Going forward to the summer of 1976/77 the earnings of professionals after the first six events on the South African circuit make interesting, if somewhat sad, reading. Under the headings Position on Order of Merit, Name, Winnings, Tournaments Played and Stroke Average, the list reads as follows:
1 Player G R19 362 (5) 68,40
2 Baiocchi H 18 937 (6) 68,66
53 Sewgolum S R258 (2) 73,62
56 Mpharu E 230 (2) 73,75
62 Manyama T 163 (2) 74,12
63 Nkabinde S 153 (2) 74,37
65 Mamashela R 118 (4) 75,31
67 Chowglay I 116 (1) 76,25
68 Letsoalo 113 (2) 74,62
71 Naidoo D 110 (1) 78,00
72 Mavundla Z 100 (3) 76,25
73 Sepeng S 90 (3) 74,66
74 Mogoerane R 86 (3) 74,08
80 Leadbetter D 30 (3) 76,33
Important Developments in Amateur Golf
The Commonwealth Tournament involving teams from Canada, New Zealand, Britain and South Africa, but not Australia, was scheduled for Royal Durban late in November 1975 and as a precursor to the event a multi-national amateur tournament was planned for Mowbray GC involving the visiting teams and including seven South African black amateurs, Shan Dorasamy (Natal), leading amateur in the 1975 SA N-E Open in Kimberley, John Thetele (Transvaal), runner-up in the Open, John Baxter (WP and Athlone GC), third in the Open, John Davids (WP and Athlone), Martin duPreez (Transvaal), Wellington Songqwigi (EP) and Josef Mofoken (Transvaal). Their scores were none too good but more important was the fact of their being able to participate.
The Commonwealth Tournament in 1977 was due to be played at St Andrews but was in fact called off for fear of anti-apartheid demonstrations.
Notwithstanding Piet Koornhof’s announcement in 1975, talks were taking place amongst all sportsmen, not least golfers, in efforts to ‘normalise’ sport, to find a method whereby Blacks would be allowed to play with Whites. Discussions were being held with the Department of Sport and the SA Golf Council, a body representing all ethnic groups in the country, was scheduled to have talks with the SAGU. Much progress was made. In March 1977 the SAGU was able to announce that in future non-White golfers would be eligible to play in the South African amateur, all provincial open championships and the country districts and under-23 tournaments. Non-White clubs would also be able to arrange friendly matches with White clubs as well as entering leagues. This announcement was made with Government approval. Although these avenues were declared open, they would still be subject to Government permission. But this, it was said, would be “a simple process”. No decision was made as to whether non-White golfers could join White clubs.
At a provincial level the Western Province GU made application for the WP Amateur and Stroke Play Championships to have multi-national status, as well as the various club open tournaments, and teams were to be selected strictly on a merit basis only. No doubt the other provincial unions around the country were making similar decisions. As it happened the Western Province Amateur was duly granted ‘normal’ status and in April 1977 became the first provincial championship to be open to all races. Again, history was being made. The following year one of the surprises of the WP Championship was Michael Meyer, an Athlone member, who reached the last four of the match play after wins against such favoured players as James Stirton and Clarrie Middleton.
Champions and Tournament Winners
There was more to come. An important tournament in the Western Province at that time was the Fresnaye Trophy, played on a knock-out basis on handicap in two divisions. In 1977 for the first time entries for this event were accepted from non-White golfers and both divisions were won by members of the Athlone GC, Abie van Rooyen and Moses Mooi. Meanwhile, on a more important and perhaps even more historic level, Alfred Makanda, a 21 year old caddie at the East London GC, became the first non-White golfer to win a provincial title, beating Buster Farrer 4 and 2 in the final of the 1977 Border Match Play Championship. Things were certainly happening!
Entries for the various club open tournaments in the Cape were also being accepted from non-White golfers and it was only a matter of time before a non-White winner would emerge. Carl Mentoor was the first to do so in the Westlake Open in March 1978 but his success was, sadly, short-lived. It turned out that he, and other members of the Athlone GC, had played on occasion in professional tournaments and as such had lost their amateur status. In time they, and Carl Mentoor, were reinstated but he had to forfeit the Westlake title. Later Carl went on to win other events, including the Paarl, Royal Cape and Milnerton Opens. The Athlone GC was accepted into the Western Province Inter-Club Challenge League and inter-club friendlies were being arranged. Royal Cape hosted a team of 30 Athlone Players and were thanked for being particularly helpful towards normalising golf.
Sadly, the Athlone Golf Club was not able to maintain its course and it was becoming apparent that the course would have to be closed down. There was opposition to the idea of commercial development on the property but there seemed to be no alternative. The Athlone Golf Club continued as a member club and when they finally lost their course, King David CC stepped in to help. King David CC was one of the few clubs in the country that had been granted international status and to accommodate the golfers from Athlone was, therefore, no problem. This is the first mention on a club being granted this status.
Papwa’s Death (1978)
On the 5th July 1978 Papwa Sewgolum died. He was relatively young, only 48 years old but, as we have seen, he was not always in the best of health, he was a heavy smoker and, perhaps most significant of all, he had had enough. The struggle for him had ended.
The Struggle Continues
The closing years of the 1970’s and the first years of the 1980’s was a period of consolidation on the non-racial golfing front but not one of any major developments or breakthroughs. The leading black golfers continued to play in as many of the events on the professional circuit as they were allowed and, as we have seen, at an amateur provincial and club level normalisation of championship and tournament golf was now a fait accompli. Gary Player was making noises in the Ivory Coast and brought golfers from that country to South Africa but exactly to what end is not too clear. Calvin Peete was the next non-White golfer after Lee Elder to visit South Africa and played in the Kronenbrau Tournament at Milnerton. That was in 1979.
One of the leading coloured players was now Noel Maart. He was a constant threat in the various club open tournaments in the Western Province and a frequent winner, collecting amongst others the Royal Cape, Milnerton and King David Open titles. He was clearly a strong challenger for a place in the Western Province team for the Inter-Provincial and in 1980 was duly picked. This was another historical event, the first non-white golfer to be picked for a provincial team. He turned professional in October 1983.
Opportunities for Non-White Golfers (1980 – 1982)
An exciting development for black golfers, and the brainchild of Gary Player, now SAPGA President, was a mini-circuit sponsored to the tune of R24 000 and scheduled for October 1980. The plan was to play four R6 000 tournaments, possibly five, before the start of the Sunshine Circuit, with Security Guards ploughing in R9 000. At the end of the mini-circuit an Order of Merit would be drawn up and R1 000 would go to the top five on the merit list. In addition an extra incentive of R2 000 would go to the leading 10 blacks on the Sunshine Order of Merit. This mini-circuit certainly took place and a brief mention is made of it in a newspaper report previewing the SAB Tournament that was scheduled for Milnerton in October, but no scores or results have come through.
Jumping ahead two years or so another major boost for black golf was planned in the form of a R10 000 tournament to be played at the Pimville CC in Soweto in February 1982. This was to be sponsored by 3M, the third time they had done so, and would be run by the Tournament Players Association, i.e. the black equivalent of the SAPGA. All the leading players were scheduled to take part. There are no scores or results for this tournament either.
An important development in the later part of 1982 and in advance of the 1982/83 Sunshine Circuit was the acceptance by the Tournament Players Division of the SAPGA of nine leading black professionals as members: Vincent Tshabalala, Joe Dlamini, Richard Mogoerane, Theo Manyana, Shadrack Molefe, Ishmael Chowglay, Peter Mkata, Daddy Naidoo and John Mashego. TPD executive director Jimmy Hemphill announced that the nine would enjoy all the privileges until now available only to the white professionals. They would have full voting rights. “We have become a fully integrated body”, said Hemphill. “It is a big breakthrough for South African golf”.
Tournaments run by the Tournament Players Association for the non-White professionals remained a feature of the golf scene, particularly in the Transvaal. An example is the Marley Classic held at the Nigel GC in September 1983 with prize money of R12 000. Marley had done something similar the year before when Daddy Naidoo had won the professional title and Timothy Radebe the amateur. In the 1983 event Western Province was represented by Ishmael Chowglay while other main contenders were Dlamini, Molefe and Sepeng.
Mention needs to be made of the inaugural TPA Tournament in 1986, another of Gary Player’s initiatives and carrying sponsorship of a whopping R100 000. This event was restricted to black golfers only and as such drew a lot of criticism. “Apartheid in reverse” was the accusation, coming in particular from Hemphill and the SAPGA. Player was unrelenting and defended his actions and that of the TPA. The winner’s cheque was R10 000 and with it, and with second place, went air tickets to London and hotel vouchers to enable the winners to try for a European Tour card. Joe Dlamini was the comfortable winner with Solly Mogare just pipping Noel Maart by a single shot for second place. The leading scores were:
Joe Dlamini 71 66 73 73 - 283
Solly Mogare 75 74 71 72 - 292
Noel Maart 75 72 70 76 - 293
P Mkata 74 76 72 75 - 297
G Valoyi 77 75 71 76 - 299
Chinese Teams Visit South Africa (1982 and 1983
On the amateur front, a four-man team from the Republic of China (Taiwan) arrived in South Africa in March 1982, playing two test matches against the national side and also entering for the SA Amateur Championship scheduled for East London. Remarkably, the Chinese filled the top three places in the 72-hole Stroke Play Championship, Li W-S on 290, Lai C-J on 293 and Yuan C-C on 294. The fourth member of the team, Hsieh Y-S, was the leader after two rounds but fell away with final rounds of 80 and 82. The Chinese were back again in 1983 and, playing at Royal Durban GC, again did exceptionally well. In the Stroke Play Chin-Chan Yu tied with P van der Riet and D Lindsay-Smith only to lose the play-off – van der Riet was the winner – while Chin-Chi Yuan beat D Suddards 6 and 5 for the Match Play title.
With the exception of the all important matter of membership of golf clubs, amateur golf, certainly in the Western Province, was to all intents and purposes non-racial. As mentioned earlier entry to all tournaments and championships was entirely unrestricted and golfers of colour were making a greater and greater impact on the local scene. Players such as Noel Maart and then a bit later Mervyn Galant and Sammy Daniels were always competing with the best and frequently winning. Peter Zingela was making a name for himself in the Eastern Province. But the issue of membership continued to rankle. The de jure fact was that it was the provisions of the Group Areas Act, the law of the land, that prevented non-whites from joining white clubs. Complicated was the fact that mixed messages were being bandied about and even people as important and influential as Piet Koornhof, Minister of Sport, were guilty of spreading a somewhat confusing word amongst golfers as to whether or not clubs could accept non-white members.
Notwithstanding anything that might have been done to normalise golf, and certainly a lot had been done, the continuing application by the Government of its apartheid policies and its pursuance of segregation of the races was anathema to the world and sport in South Africa, not least golf, became the target of the world’s condemnation. When in 1984 South Africa was banned yet again from the World Cup due to be played in Italy, an exasperated Jimmy Hemphill came out with a strong defence of the SAPGA. “These people don’t seem to realise that the SAPGA is fully multi-racial where a player is judged purely on his performance and not on the colour of his skin. We have 105 registered pros of whom 27 are black”. But to no avail.
South African professionals were refused visas for Sweden and by mid-1983 were banned from three European Tour events. Even Gary Player was starting to get worried. Wherever he went he was greeted by angry anti-apartheid demonstrations - Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the US. In contrast to his comment some years before when he said he “didn’t meddle in politics”, in 1985, with the country in the grip of a state of emergency and his future career under threat, he launched a scathing attack on the Government and its race laws. “South Africans must not cry because they are being isolated. Apartheid should be abolished in its entirety. South Africa is doomed as long as apartheid exists. I feel the South African Government should admit it erred by adopting these race laws. It should say sorry to the world and formulate a new policy for the future”. But not even Gary Player could force a change of thinking.
The Twilight Years: 1985 – 1991
In spite of, in fact probably because of, the isolation of South Africa’s sportsmen from the rest of the world, golf on the home front continued on its own steady way. Events such as the $1,0 Million were affected in that the leading professionals refused to make the trip to South Africa but this only opened the way for local professionals such as David Frost to cash in. The national and provincial amateur championships, men and women, continued from year to year and champion golfers such as Ernie Els and Retief Goosen were coming through the ranks. Isolation on the rugby and cricket fields seemed to worry South Africans far more than the problems facing a few of our golfers wishing to play abroad.
Of the non-White professional golfers Joe Dlamini in particular was enjoying some success. He won the 1988 Marley Classic, an all black event under the control of the Tournament Players Association and played over 54 holes. Leading scores were:
J Dlamini 73 73 68 - 214
T Manyama 76 72 70 - 218
H Mashego 72 71 76 - 219
M Gallant 73 73 73 - 219
N Maart 70 74 78 - 222
Other good scores came from S Sepeng, S Mogare, J Nkatswang, S Molefe, P Mkata, A Modiba, G Putsoe and R Mogoerane. These are all names with which we have become very familiar. In June 1989 Dlamini won the Mitshushiba Pro Shop Swazi Pro-Am title over the Royal Swazi course with a 20-under total of 268, winning R3000 for his efforts. There was a strong field representative of most of South Africa’s leading professionals.
On the side of amateurs, Sammy Daniels played wonderful golf to win the 1987 Boland Open Stroke Play Championship, certainly the first time a non-white golfer had won a 72-hole provincial title and then in 1990, in partnership with Michael Michel, he won the inaugural Western Province Foursomes Championship. In the 1990 Natal Amateur Championship B Naidoo was the leading qualifier. But the major achievement of a non-white golfer was that of 18-year-old Lewis Chitengwa who became the first black to win the SA Amateur title. In 1992 at East London he beat Hugo Lombard 4 and 2 in the 36 hole final. Chitengwa was from Zimbabwe.
Sunshine Tour Boycott by Black Golfers - 1988
The impression is that the SAPGA and the TPA had reached an amicable working arrangement with respect to the status of the non-white professionals but this was not exactly the case, so much so that all but one black golfer boycotted the 1988 Lexington PGA Championship which was played at the Wanderers GC under the banner of the SAPGA. The black players claimed that there was still widespread racial discrimination in golf. Their major complaints included the fact of an excessive influx of overseas players being allowed to participate, the fact of their not being allowed to play on white courses during the week and the fact of few blacks being invited to play in the pro-ams before each tournament. Jimmy Hemphill warned that the boycott would lead to the players losing their playing cards and having to go through the tough PGA Tour School if they wished to rejoin the circuit the following season. The boycott was supported and encouraged by the TPA and remained in place to the resentment of members of the PGA who pointed out that for many years the PGA had been non-racial and that black golfers competed on exactly the same terms as their white counterparts. And so the struggle to reach equality continued. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder and the reality of the situation as viewed by the two bodies, the SAPGA and the TPA, was quite different. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that access to white courses for the black professionals, indeed for all black golfers, was a major issue and one that would need to be addressed when and if unification talks got underway.
Unification – Exploratory Talks (1991)
The possibility, desirability and implications of the unification of the bodies controlling white and non-white amateur golf had for some time occupied the minds of everyone involved with golf administration, whether at national, provincial or club level. The political mood in South Africa was changing, had changed, and clearly the days of apartheid, not least in sport, were coming to an end. On the golf front it was inevitable that the SAGU and the SAGA would have to get together to plan the way ahead and the first such meeting, albeit on an informal basis, took place at Elangeni in January 1991.
At that time the composition of the South African Golf Association was as follows:
President: Henry Govender
Vive-Presidents: Robert Ntshingila
Treasurer: Martin Pinto
Organising Secretary: Lucas Ngoasheng
Assistant Organising Sec: J R Pitse
Members: George Murison
Secretary: Soobry Maduramuthu
Affiliated Associations / Unions
Griqualand West Golf Union
Transvaal Golf Association
Natal Golf Association
Border Golf association
Central OFS Golf Association
Orange Free State Golf Union
The composition of the South African Golf Union was as follows:
President: M R Watermeyer
Senior Vice-President: G J Shuttleworth
Second Vice-President: C G Wells
Border: D Davenport
Eastern Province: C A L Fowles
Natal: F Michaux
OFS & NC: A Booth
Transvaal: P Bridges
E A Luckhoff
Western Province: N du Toit
P N Sauerman
Karoo & Southern Cape: B Charles
Members / Affiliated Unions
Border Golf Union
Eastern Province Golf Union
Karoo Golf Association
Natal Golf Union
Orange Free State and Northern Cape Golf Union
South West African Golf Union
Transvaal Golf Union
Western Province Golf Union
Following these initial contacts at Elangeni and on the occasion of the opening of Natal Golf House at the end of January 1991, Michael Watermeyer issued a statement:
“There has been a frank exchange of views about the administration of amateur golf in this country and the need to unify the administration under one body.
“The representatives of SAGA explained the problems which their members faced in joining or being able to play at certain clubs, and the first step along the path to unification, in their view, would have to be some sort of accommodation by clubs and provincial unions.
“The office bearers of the SAGU undertook to take back these views to their Executive in March. It was agreed that these exploratory talks had been successful in creating an atmosphere of trust and understanding and a willingness by both parties to work together to form one body.”
“The first step to unification would have to be some sort of accommodation by clubs and provincial unions.” This was the nitty gritty of the matter and the potential stumbling block. Following the meetings of the SAGU in March and September 1991, a letter was sent to all clubs stating: “We have held protracted talks with officials of the reputable and long-established SAGA which, to the best of our knowledge, is the only other national amateur golfing body in the country. They have made their position very clear. They will not consider unification until all clubs have taken active steps to integrate SAGA members into membership.” The letter went on to request that clubs with a closed membership increase their numbers by 5% so as to bypass waiting lists. “In the interest of golf and the wider interest of this country clubs are asked to accept applications from members of SAGA equal to at least 5% of their ordinary membership.”
Many clubs had by now accepted non-white members elected through the usual channels of proposer and seconder and were, as a result, up in arms at the request by the SAGU that normal structures and procedures should be bypassed to give members of the ‘black’ SAGA short-circuited access, even to the point of waiving entrance fees. The fact was that the SAGU was in no position to dictate to the clubs and was, therefore, in some sort of a Catch 22 situation. Later in the year Watermeyer made another appeal to the clubs. “It is imperative that the clubs are seen to be taking positive action in sharing facilities with those who have been denied these opportunities for so long. This is the new South Africa and these things have to be done. I am acutely aware that we cannot dictate to clubs and I am appealing to them for their support.”
Other concessions sought by SAGA were (1) recognition of SAGA membership cards on the same basis as SAGU cards (2) acceptance of block bookings by groups of SAGA card holders at member’s green fee rates plus 25% (3) staging two tournaments per annum in each Province to be run jointly by SAGA and the Provincial Unions, the clubs charging member’s fee rates for those participating.
To assist with this process the SAGU obtained an undertaking from the SAGA to provide them with a list of all its members together with addresses. This suited SAGA because it was adamant that only its members should be afforded these special arrangements and not all black golfers. There is no record of such list ever being submitted.
The Meeting at The Holiday Inn, Jan Smuts Airport, 9th August 1992
To assist further with the transformation and unification process office-bearers of the SAGA were invited to attend the meetings of the SAGU and at the Inter-Provincial Tournament at Humewood in September 1991 Henry Govender, Robert Ntshingila and Martin Pinto were in attendance. This was a valuable exercise and was repeated at the March 1992 meetings of the SAGU held at Royal Durban GC. Informal talks were continued on all these occasions and finally came to a head at the all-important meeting of the full executives of the SAGU and the SAGA at the Holiday Inn, Jan Smuts Airport, on 9th August 1992. This meeting was attended by 18 representatives of the SAGA and 16 representatives of the SAGU. The fact and inevitability of unification had long since been accepted and the first purpose of the meeting was merely to confirm that this was so. Thereafter, the business of the meeting was to consider a draft constitution for the new unified controlling body which was to replace the SAGU and the SAGA.
Henry Govender opened the proceedings with the statement that, while golf was a game for the privileged as well as the under-privileged, nevertheless the facilities, clubs and courses, almost without exception belonged to the SAGU and that the SAGA were the people without. This was the all-important issue that the new constitution needed to address. Michael Watermeyer referred to the meeting as being an historic occasion and to the fact of unification being the only way forward in the interests of golf. He mentioned the initial talks at Elangeni in January 1991 and the mutual trust and understanding that was established between the two bodies. The responsibility now rested with the members of the executive to ensure that unification went through to provincial level and down to the clubs. As his term of office was ending in September, he was sorry he would not be involved in this process.
It was decided that the name of the unified controlling body was to be The South African Golf Federation (SAGF) and that the members were to be the Provincial Unions plus the ‘new boy on the block’, to be called The Golf Association. The Association was to have six representatives on the Executive and was to have a further three delegates at the AGM. The Provincial Unions were to retain representation as previously. Membership of the Federation was to be withdrawn in the event of the number of that member’s affiliated golfers falling below 1000. The matter of office-bearers was resolved by the addition of a Deputy President for the first two years, the Deputy taking over the office of President in the second year. He and the Second Vice-President were to be nominated by the Golf Association. It was later agreed that after the second year one of the Vice-Presidents would always be an affiliated member of the Golf Association as long as it was a member of the Federation.
And, most important and somewhat controversially, it was agreed that Clause 10.1.4 of the new Constitution should read: “Golf clubs affiliated to members of the Federation should provide for at least 5% of their membership to people of colour without going onto a waiting list providing they have been recommended by the Golf Association.”
The Final Chapter
The final chapter in this long history was written at the September meetings of the SAGU which were held at the Kimberley Golf Club, venue for the Inter-Provincial that year.
At a meeting of the Executive on 20th September the President, Michael Watermeyer, reported on the meeting held at the Holiday Inn on 9th August and stated that it had been agreed that a South African Golf Federation should be founded to replace the SA Golf Association and the SA Golf Union. He announced that a Special General Meeting was accordingly being called, to be held on 23rd September, for the purpose of dissolving the SAGU.
At this SGM the motion was duly passed: “That, subject to a new National golf body having been previously formed to take over the rights and commitments of the South African Golf Union, the Union be dissolved on Saturday 26th September.”
The meeting to found a unified National Body to administer Men’s Amateur Golf in South Africa was held on 24th September and, with minor amendments, the draft constitution of the South African Golf Federation was duly passed and the new body formed. The way was now open for the dissolution of the SAGU; a new era had begun.
The office-bearers at the inauguration of the SAGF were:
President (Year 1): G J Shuttleworth
Deputy President (Year 1) and President (Year 2): H Govender
Senior Vice-President (Years 1 and 2): C G Wells
Second Vice-President (Year 1 only – deceased) R Ntshingila
Second Vice-President (Year 2): M Pinto
The final meeting of the SAGU was held on 25th September 1992, a sad day perhaps for an organisation that had been in place since 1910 but a major leap forward for golf in South Africa. Speaking on behalf of the SAGA, Henry Govender complimented the President and Executive for the untiring work that had been done together during the previous 21 months. He also congratulated Michael Watermeyer on his leadership and added that the unification between the two bodies would go down in the annals of golf history in this country.
In accordance with the resolution passed at the meeting held on 23rd September, the SAGU was dissolved on 26th September 1992.
The struggle was over.
All sport in South Africa, including golf, fell under the aegis of the National Sports Council and the constitutions of the various controlling bodies had to meet with their approval. Where the SAGF was concerned, the Council was not happy with Clause 10.1.4, the 5% clause, and this was duly deleted. Nor were they happy with the name Golf Association which was used to describe the previous non-White group and in 1995 the name Development Golf Union was substituted. At the AGM in September 1997 on a motion put by the Natal GU, the name of the Federatiopn was changed to the South African Golf Association.