Kolkata: The Indian Golf Union has alongwith the South African Golf Association embarked on a path-breaking partnership as the two come compete in the first-ever ‘Golf Test Series’. A strong eight-member amateur team comprising Mid and Senior Amateurs from South Africa will take on hosts, India, who are led by an Asian Games gold medallist senior and an Asian Games medallist amateur, Amit Luthra, still a very active player on domestic circuit.
The three-day series to be contested from December 2 to 4, will be held at the historic Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC), the oldest golf club outside the United Kingdom and the second oldest in the world.
The series will be played on the Ryder Cup format but will feature four matches of foursomes on the first day, followed by four matches of fourballs on Day 2. The third and final day will feature eight singles matches.
Over the years, India has seen many an emerging star from South Africa feature in the highly popular and more than 100-year-old All India Amateur Championships. The likes of Major winner, Charl Scwhartzel, Trevor Immelman and others like Richard Sterne have all participated with distinction in India.
Schwartzel, sometime ago recalled that his win in the All India Amateurs ranked among his best memories of the early part of his career from where he has gone on to become one of the top global stars in professional golf on PGA Tour.
The upcoming series is a result of the efforts of the commencement of an annual reciprocal partnership between the IGU and South Africa Golf Association. The partnership is the result of the initiative taken by the golf patrons Mr. Dilip Thomas and Mr. Johann Rupert who will support hosting the annual series in their respective countries.
Recenlty, a bunch of Indian youngsters went to South Africa to compete in some prominent amateur events.
The series from the Indian side will see Amit Luthra, an Arjuna Awardee and 1982 Asian Games Gold Medallist, who is also the current winner of the All India Seniors Championship besides Simarjeet Singh (Mid –Am), who is a three-time winner of Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championships. The Indian Teams are being captained by ‘Bunny’ Lakshman Singh, himself an Arjuna Award winner and Gold Medallist in Asian Games in both individual and team events.
The South African team comprises promising veteran Shaun Stapleton, a five-time Wanderers Champion and also five-time winner of South African Mid – Am Championship with Team Manager Jock Wellington himself being eight-time Club Champion and three-time SA Senior Champion. The team also has ace players like Steven Williams and Stefan Bommaert amongst them.
The matches commence at 8am at the RCGC and entry will be free via complimentary passes for golf enthusiasts.
The event will also act as a curtain raiser for the 116th Edition of Amateur Golf Championship of India, which will begin on 5th December 2016.
The Golfing communities in the two countries are also mourning the untimely passing away of Mr. Mallette Hendrickse who moved to his heavenly abode before embarking on this trip to India.
The Indian Golf Union is supported by its partner Rolex. The event is also being supported by Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) and is organised by Protouch Sports. The iconic Oberoi Grand is the hospitality partner to the event.
South African team:
Francois Le Roux, Steve Williams, Gerlou Roux, Stefan Blommaert, Morgan Phillips, Mellette Hendrikse, Josef Fourie, Shaun Stapleton.
Players: Amit Luthra, Anil Jule, Sanjay Kolhatkar, Vijay Kumar Bhadana, H S Kang, Simarjeet Singh, Aditya Khaitan, Kailash Dhiwar. Captain: Bunny Lakshman Singh.