Our History

 

The Senior Golfers Union of South Africa (SGUSA) is a national umbrella organisation that has nine senior provincial golfers’ societies as its affiliates and a distinguished history that exhibits a steadfast commitment to the game of golf enjoyed by gentlemen who have reached, or exceeded, the age of 55.

 

In keeping with corresponding associations elsewhere in the world, SGUSA sanctions the critical characteristics that must be evident in all candidates who are proposed for membership of senior golfers’ societies: “He is a gentleman, fun to be with, during and after golf; he enjoys and respects the game of golf and its traditions.”

 

These fundamental membership criteria are unanimously endorsed by SGUSA’s nine affiliated societies which are: Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, Western Province, Border, Eastern Province, Free State, Northern Cape, Southern Cape and Northern Gauteng. The nine societies are independent entities with their own constitutions but all are committed to the common purpose of playing friendly matches and competitions together or against other senior teams.

 

The history of senior golf in South Africa is closely linked to initiatives that took place in the United States, Canada, and particularly the United Kingdom, in the early years of the 20th century. First reliably recorded accounts tell us that a visionary American, Henry Hotchkiss, pursued a dream in 1905 to stage a golf tournament exclusively for older men. Although met with some scepticism, Mr Hotchkiss accomplished his mission and the event became the catalyst for the establishment of the United States Senior Golf Association in 1917. Similar associations were subsequently formed in Canada, in 1918, and Great Britain in 1926.

 

Actively encouraged by a Colonel Francis Popham, the Secretary of the British Seniors, a Senior Golfers’ Society of the Transvaal (now Gauteng) was formed in 1935. Following a tour of the country by the British Seniors in 1936, four additional provincial societies were brought into being and a year later, 1937, the South African Senior Golfers Union was established in East London. In 1942, the name was changed to the Senior Golfers Union of South Africa (SGUSA).

 

Shortly after SGUSA was invited to become a member of the World Senior Golfers Federation in 1976, a Governing Body was formed to deal with national issues and to provide direction to the provincial societies on the maintenance of consistently agreeable golfing conventions. The Governing Body gave responsibility for its financial and administrative activities to a permanent Standing Committee which subsequently became the Management Committee (MANCOM). A major function of MANCOM is the arrangement of competitions and particularly the annual, four-day National Tournament which rotates between societies. In recent time with the increased popularity of the national competition, it has been confined to societies who are able to make available two courses for the exclusive use of participants over the duration of the event.

 

Another of MANCOM’s major duties shortly after its inception was a project to reconstruct the image of SGUSA. This was an exercise that comprehensively rebranded the national body with the introduction, among other interventions, of a new logo, a national Seniors flag, and golf shirts and blazer badges embroidered with the new logo. To the dismay of many conservative Senior golfers, the overwhelmingly popular new dress trend of short socks with short pants was approved.

 

The indomitable spirit and commitment to affable companionship that are so indelibly ingrained in the South African senior golfers’ movement are effectively captured in words penned by John Hare, a prominent member of the Gauteng Senior Golfers’ Society and a former Chairman of MANCOM. In the book Senior Moments by Talbot Cox, John wrote: “The primary quality shared by seniors is the ability to enjoy the game of golf and socialise with colleagues who share common values and appreciate the finer things of life.”

 

Peter Bunkell

Gauteng Seniors

News

Tour to UK in 2019

Published: 2017/12/05 by Allan Bulmer

Please refer to the Tours tab for information


National Tournament 2019

Published: 2017/08/29 by Allan Bulmer

The National Tournament will be hosted by the Southern Cape Seniors at the George Golf Club and the Outeniqua Fancourt course from 7th to 12th April 2019


National Tournament 2018

Published: 2017/03/03 by Allan Bulmer

The National Tournament will be hosted by the Gauteng Seniors at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club from 15th to 20th April 2018