Some History Linked to The SA Amateur Championship

As part of the great Kimberley Exhibition of 1892 the Kimberley Golf Club decided to host a golf tournament, which was intended to be the first South African Championship. Invitations were sent to the golf clubs around the country but since it was a new concept only a few entries were received, with none from the Transvaal or Natal. The inaugural Championship was played as a Matchplay tournament.The winner was Denholm Walker of the Cape GC who beat local Kimberley golfer H J Mackay by one hole. Walker was presented with a gold medal on which was mounted a large uncut diamond (probably from the Big Hole Diamond Mine in Kimberley)! Players from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth made the journey to play in that first tournament.

After the successful inaugural event in Kimberley, the golfers in Port Elizabeth took it upon themselves to host the event the following year, so in 1893 Port Elizabeth GC played host to the South African Amateur Championship for the first time. As things turned out, Port Elizabeth was to play a leading role in the staging of major events in the years before the establishment of the SA Golf Union in 1910. The Union Steamship Company presented a Silver Trophy, the Challenge Cup, to the Club for competition in the SA Amateur Championship and this added weight to the importance of the occasion The title was won by D G Proudfoot from Graaff Reinet who went on to win the title eight years in a row from 1893 through to 1902. The tournament was not played during the Anglo Boer War years of 1900 and 1901.

The records suggest that the format was stroke play, played over 36 holes. In 1893 Proudfoot scored 84 84 – 168 with H J Glennie, like Proudfoot a golfer from Graaff Reinet, second on 90 95 – 175. No further results are on record until 1902 when Proudfoot is credited with a score of 361. Apparently the Championship in the ‘Proudfoot Years’, notwithstanding the inaugural match play event in Kimberley, was decided by stroke play, initially over 36 holes and then later over 72 holes.

Work commenced on the Humewood Golf course in 1929 and it was opened for play in October 1931. It hosted both the SA Amateur and SA Open for the first time in 1934. The SA Amateur was played at Humewood Golf Club in Port Elizabeth from 19 – 24 February this year. The 2017 SA Amateur will be the 11th time that Humewood has hosted South Africa’s most prestigious Amateur Tournament. Humewood has also hosted the SA Open 5 times.

KeNako Academy, Some History Linked to The SA Amateur Championship.