Golf | 06 Dec 2020 | By Sun International
Sun City hosts thrilling “SA Open” for VIPs
A Golfer tees off at the VIP Golf Tournament at Sun City Resort | Photo by Zuzi Seoka
Sun MVGs from all over the country descended on the Lost City Golf Course for two days of golfing magic
Alongside the prestigious South African Open and to help fill the gap left by the postponed Nedbank Golf Challenge, Sun City hosted a two-day golf tournament for Sun MVGs at the Lost City Golf Course on 3 and 4 December.
The VIP Golf Championship saw teams teeing off over 18 holes in better-ball stableford format at Lost City. Although the tournament was played in mercifully cool conditions, the action soon saw temperatures soar as the team got to grips with the Gary Player-designed. 72-par course, and its signature 13th hole featuring crocodiles and that iconic Africa-shaped green.
While it doesn’t quite match the championship rigours of the Gary Player Golf Course nearby and has far more forgiving fairways, the course still represents a reason to take advantage of the on-site practice facilities. It doesn’t take much to lose yourself in Lost City’s desert-style course.
Adding to the excitement was the fact that the tournament was played in tandem with the South African Open – closed to spectators due to stringent COVID-19 regulations – at the Gary Player Golf Course. The deal to host the Open was brokered by Graham Wood, and Sun International’s Hospitality COO was optimistic that the second-oldest golfing tournament in the world could find a permanent home at Sun City.
“Hosting the South African Open was all about keeping pro golf alive in the country. We decided to run a parallel event and it is plain to see that they’re having a great time out on the course, with all the laughs and banter going around. Our VIP customers are important to us, and we plan to get much closer to them in 2021,” explained Wood.
"Sun City is one of my favourite places to play golf. It’s been a privilege to play the tournament, meeting old friends and making new ones. The course is in great nick, with the greens rolling through, and birdies make everything even better".
— MVG Golf Player Ren van Zyl
Wood also enthused over the launch of the Sun MVG Golf Club, centred on maximising the use of Sun International’s magnificent courses as a key brand differentiator, allowing Diamond and Platinum MVGs to get official handicaps, and hosting golf days and club champs.
Besides being a great outing for Sun International’s MVGs from all over the country, the VIP Championship was also an opportunity for the company to showcase its array of VIP and golfing experiences. And the MVGs on course were lapping up the special attention.
Ren van Zyl from Rustenburg has been playing golf at Sun City for the past 18 years and was enjoying being back out on the course after lockdown.
“Sun City is one of my favourite places to play golf. It’s been a privilege to play the tournament, meeting old friends and making new ones. The course is in great nick, with the greens rolling through, and birdies make everything even better! As Sun MVGs, we get so many opportunities to enjoy all these great facilities and events,” said Van Zyl, adding that he was keeping a keen eye on the “real pros” at the South African Open.
“The brief was to produce an event that could replace the excitement of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which won’t be held this year. I think we’ve achieved this, judging by all the delighted faces on the tees.”
— Sun International VIP Manager Karthy Padayachee
In agreement with Van Zyl, Niven “Ollie” Naidoo from Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal said the most important Sun MVG offering was making new friends and the impact this had on him.
“I’m often down at Wild Coast and take every chance to be up at Sun City, enjoying tournaments. It’s been 3 days of good fun, partying late and getting up early for golf. Whether they prefer the course or the casino, play big or small, I’d advise anyone to sign up for the MVG programme. It’s also good for business!” said Naidoo.
Van Zyl, Naidoo, and other MVGs will be glad to hear that Sun International’s newly appointed group VIP manager and 31-year industry veteran Karthy Padayachee has a lot more in store for them.
“The brief was to produce an event that could replace the excitement of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which won’t be held this year. I think we’ve achieved this, judging by all the delighted faces on the tees. It’s terrific to see so many of our esteemed MVGs coming out to support the event. And this is just the start – we will be holding other tournaments around the country, and beyond golf, we will be offering other sporting and lifestyle experiences,” smiled Padayachee.
With the launch of the Sun MVG Golf Club, a raft of tournaments around the country, the mouthwatering return of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and even the potential development of a third course at Sun City, members of Sun International’s loyalty programme are in for a smorgasbord of golfing delights going into 2021 and beyond.