Tshwane aiming for golf destination status

Kim Helfrich

Tshwane metro’s push to make the city a sought-after international golf destination, with business and investment spin-offs, is gaining momentum.

The administrative capital of the country has already hosted one Sunshine Tour event – the R2m ISPS Handa SA Match Play championship – at the Zwartkop Country Club last month and is gearing up for the Tshwane Open at the end of February.

To further boost itself as a golf destination, metro management was part of the South African pavilion at this week’s international golf travel market in Portugal.

“The market is the premier travel event in the international golf industry with more than 600 suppliers joining 350 pre-qualified buyers and media operators for set appointments, networking and industry updates,” Tshwane’s communications director Nomasonto Ndlovu said.

“The city’s participation in the golf market is in line with the Tshwane Open announced by Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa in August.

“All told Tshwane is working hard to profile itself as a unique golf tourism destination for lifestyle, leisure, tourism and associated business,” she said.

The championship course at the Ernie Els-designed Copperleaf Golf Estate in Mnandi, west of Centurion, is the venue for the first ever Tshwane Open.

The 72-hole event is part of the 2012/2013 Sunshine Tour circuit and will take place from February 28 to March 3. It is co-sanctioned by the prestigious European Tour.

With prize money of 1.5 million euro (over R17m) on offer, as well as European Tour points, the event is expected to attract a top-class field with many well-known golfing names coming to our shores.

Speaking at the launch event, Ramokgopa said a major benefit of the Tshwane Open would be TV coverage valued at “near the R1bn mark” over four days.

“This will go into 350 million homes around the world, exposing Tshwane to millions of decision makers and encouraging investment and tourism.”

The SA Open, a premier event on the Sunshine Tour, started yesterday at the Serengeti Golf Estate in the Ekurhuleni metro.