KeNako SA World Juniors a Resounding Success

Boys and girls aged 19 and under; and from 19 different countries of the world participated in this officially sanctioned World Junior Golf Series event.  Feedback received suggests that this is the finest junior golf tournament ever played in South Africa, whilst many international players and their families have said that this was the best junior tournament that they have ever attended anywhere in the world!  Such high praise does justice to the huge effort that went into putting the tournament together.  Since this was our first ever event things can only get even better so roll on 2012!Highlights beyond the golf tournament itself

  • The Am-Am was very well received, both by the junior players and by the executives who participated in what was a special day.  It is the first time that any WJGS tournament has hosted an Am-Am.
  • Robin Goger of Austria, who in 2009 broke Sergio Garcia’s record to become the youngest ever player to play in an official European Tour event, was in the winning Am-Am team that also included Neels Els, father of Ernie, ex-Springbok prop Marius Hurter and Cape Town based neurologist Dr Jan Swanepoel.
  • The leading World Junior Golf Series player from 2010, Maximilian Rottluff of Germany, was included in the field.
  • Receiving special permission that enabled 11 development players, who would not otherwise have qualified, an opportunity to play in a prestigious global event.
  • Receiving an ‘anonymous’ sponsor to send three players, including the boys winner Armandt Scholtz and two development players, one girl and one boy, across to Poland for the next leg of the WJGS.
  • The Golf Village concept that was created at the King George Protea Hotel for the week was extremely well received.
  • The Evening Themes were great.  Monday’s Opening Banquet theme was ‘International’; Tuesday ‘Township’; Wednesday ‘Bushveld’; and finally the Prize Giving dinner saw a ‘Bling’ theme.
  • The participation of local musicians and acts who added much flavour to the evening events.  It was good to embrace all of South Africa.
  • Having The Retief Goosen Charitable Foundation as the patron of the tournament.  Special thanks to Retief for taking the time to send a recorded video message to the players.
  • The specially made Tassled Caps that are set to become the tradition for winners of the KeNako SA World Juniors tournament.
  • Hosting influential administrators and advisors from many countries, including Jack Newton and his wife Jackie from Australia.  Jack lost the British Open in a play-off to Tom Watson in 1975 before a terrible plane accident ended his career.  He now runs a Foundation in Australia that works with as many as 6,000 young golfers!
  • Having Dr Susanna Rosswag, Vice-President of the WJGS, and her husband and colleagues attend the tournament.  At the Opening Banquet Susanna posed an interesting question: “Players from which country have travelled the furthest distance to get to South Africa?”  The answer was Iceland.
  • Receiving the support of The Eden District and Executive Mayor Faried Stemmet and also the support of the Department of Sport & Recreation via a Message from the Minister of Sport’s office.
  • Seeing Kingswood Golf Estate in such prime condition for the tournament.  It was a great effort on their part.
  • The incredible contribution of the ‘mother of golf’ in South Africa, Erica Lefson, who helped to firstly secure the tournament for KeNako before being instrumental in ensuring the tournament’s success.  Erica was also Tournament Director.
  • Hearing confirmation from many international visitors that the KeNako Academy truly is a World Class facility. 

Finally some selected words from mails received subsequent to the tournament:

  • “This tournament has been one of the best junior events in the world from the accommodation, the affordability, live scoring, transport, cooldrinks at every third tee as well as the food.  It was a privilege to participate in this event and a lot of overseas players commented that it was their best tournament as well.”
  • “We are back in our cold Switzerland…. It was great thanks for everything and see you next year.”
  •  “….and was only just thrilled. The course was in very good condition.  The greens were perfect, the fairways mowed down nice and the semi-rough tough but fair…. The tournament gave me a lot of fun because the players are from all countries. With players from Germany, Austria, South Africa and Kenya, I was able to play and could find some friends with whom I still maintain good contact. On every third hole, there were food stands, and we had to give our score for the live leaderboard. After the round there was always something to eat and then we discussed also the one or two blows to the round…. Everything was super organized and a super great experience. I miss the time now. I would have liked to stay longer because it made a lot of fun to play in this space to talk with the players and to laugh or simply rumalbern with you a little bit….. and flew back home. In flight, I am once again went through each day and stated that it was simply perfect. The place, the weather, climate, people, organization, hotel, etc. I recommend it to anyone junior, who will sometimes play abroad and not just in their own country….”
  • “May I congratulate you and your team – what a fantastic, well organised week and functions.  Congratulations on everything!!”
  • “It was wonderful time for us, and we really enjoyed that because of all of you.  I hope that you and all others will have a good rest time and will be happy.  You are wonderful supporters for All Players and Parents from each country.  We can’t forget your kindness and smiles and these events.”
  • “Me and my son — would like to thank you very much for your wonderful hospitality, which you and your people gave him during the KENAKO SOUTH AFRICAN WORLD JUNIORS A WJGS EVENT.  He is very grateful that he could join this prestigious event.  We hope that he can go back again to you in the future to enjoy the course and your very positive personality.”
  • “I would just like to put in writing that both my son — and I were very impressed with your tournament. It was well organised, efficient and the players seemed to be catered for in every department!! In fact I heard many youngsters say it was the best tournament they had ever been to.”
  • “Just a short note to say thanks to everyone at Kenako and congratulate you all on a fantastic event.  We had a great time and made many great friends…..We are already planning for next year!”
  • “I just want to congratulate … you on a wonderful tournament. I have had nothing but wonderful feedback from everybody I spoke to.  Great! Well organized! The best in South Africa ever! Are some of the accolades that has been thrown around.”

The KeNako SA World Juniors has truly made its mark.  In years to come this tournament will become one of the premier junior golf tournaments in the world.