#ExtraTime SA golf is more accessible than ever

In #ExtraTime this week we shine the spotlight on golf and speak to Sunshine Tour Commissioner, Selwyn Nathan about how the sport has changed over the years.

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The sport is set to make its return to competitive action this week at the Charles Schwaab Challenge where the 148-player field will also include the likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.

In South Africa though, the game has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

EWN Sport spoke to Sunshine Tour Commissioner, Selwyn Nathan to find out how the sport has changed over the years and how they have been able to deal with the current pandemic.

Nathan himself has been involved in golf in one way or another for the last 50 years and said that his passion and love for the game started at a young age.

“I was brought up in Observatory in Johannesburg about 150 yards from the Observatory golf course so I spent a lot of time there. The Henning family were the pros that were there at the time so I spent a lot time watching them, playing golf with them at a very young age. As you know they went on to be big South Africans in the golfing fraternity”, he said.

Nathan has seen a lot of changes to the sport and the way that it is run in South Africa over the years but said that the main changes have only really come in the last 25 to 30 years.

“Golf clubs have made the place more accessible to everybody. Juniors have more of an opportunity to play on the weekend so the game changed, the administrators changed and people of all colours got into the game. They got into business as well, which gave us access to people who had never really been involved in the game, who are now involved and really supported what we have done over the last 30 years”, he said.

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the country, especially at an amateur level which is where most of the revenue for golf courses comes from.

Nathan said that the current pandemic is one of the toughest challenges that golf has had to face.

“Thank God we are financially stable because of the wonderful advice that we have received over the years and our chairman, mister Rupert and all the other directors that give their time and their knowledge and their ability to run big business to help us look after the money that we have developed”, he said.