By Quintin van Jaarsveld
The 2015 Halfway Toyota Shelly Beach Margate Challenge has been hailed as the best ever edition of the annual event.
The three-day event, which incorporates golf, bowls and bridge, took place at Margate Country Club from Thursday to Saturday and attracted 96 golfers, 48 bowlers and 40 bridge players from across the country.
The golf was closely contested and came down to a count out, which saw Sbu Ntozakhe and Koko Zithomane edge Hennie Jordaan and Johan Engelbrecht on 146 points to claim the bragging rights and Aruba Gas Barbeque.
Helen Bownes and Unu Mclachlan counted out Riaan Croucamp and Rod Bouwer for second place on 143 points.
Excitement peaked on Saturday when golfers had the opportunity to win an Auris X 1.3 worth over R200 000 sponsored by Halfway Toyota Shelly Beach with a hole-in-one on the 16th hole, but the vehicle proved elusive.
Meanwhile, Bill Brown, Barry Herbert, Sharolyn Darcey and Dawn O’Healy won the bowls competition and R4000 cash prize on 104 points.
The runners-up were Barry Delvin, Kobie Stander, Jimmy Holtzhausen and Winnie Hess with 99 points.
Bronze went to Ollie Coetzer, Marie Coetzer, Keith Mills and Barbara Gradwell, while Peet Van Vuuren, Susan Fourie, Geoff and Tina Barbour were the plate winners.
Club manager Dereck Hirson said it was an event unlikely any other.
“This event was the best we’ve had since I’ve been manager and the support we received from the golfers, bowlers and bridge players was truly magnificent,” Hirson told eHowzit.
“The competitors had fun and enjoyed the comradeship but were also serious when they were playing.
“I believe that this was the best event that we’ve had in terms of support for the golf in particular and the prizes were magnificent as well as the organisation of the event by Rob and Meryl Ellis.
“The difference has been that we’ve had two dedicated people organising the whole event where in the past it had been myself and committee members who had tried to arrange the event in-between other daily duties.
“The other aspect is that different competitions were held for the three days for the golfers, which allowed all competitors a better chance for winning.”
Halfway Toyota Shelly Beach recommits
Hirson thanked the sponsors and had special praise for Halfway Toyota Shelly Beach, title sponsors for the third consecutive year.
“The sponsors have been magnificent, not only sponsoring the event but also paying the insurance for the hole-in-one car.
“Halfway Toyota Shelly Beach provided cars on display for the day, banners and drinks to all the players on the last day.
“In fact, they were so impressed with the event that they have committed a further sponsorship for the event in 2016.”
Margate Country Club manager bids farewell
The event was a bittersweet one for Hirson as it was his last as club manager.
Hirson, who took up the managerial duties at the club on 15 May 2010, will be leaving the club at the end of April and relocating to Durban for a new venture in the property industry.
“It’s sad that I’m leaving as I’ve met some wonderful members, worked with various chairmen and committees where I’ve seen various changes being made and also gained knowledge from them,” he said.
“The hardest part is leaving the staff who have been here longer than me but I have enjoyed working with them and shared many highlights as well as lowlights when we had to retrench staff.
“However they have been loyal and have always gone that extra mile for me and the members.
Reflecting on the highlights of his tenure at the club, Hirson said, “The Margate Challenge ranks up there; it has been hard work but very rewarding for the club in terms of money raised.
“The Boertjies and Souties events have always been good fun for me, to see the way members go out of their way to dress up for the event.
“Club Championships have been fun and although I never win any prizes, it’s enjoyable sharing the experience with members and seeing the winners.
“A major highlight has been to see our president, Ivan Curlews, win the club championships last year for a record 34th time, to see him and help prepare his 50 years as a member of this club last year and to celebrate the 40-year member milestone of Maureen Ogilvie.”
He concluded: “I’ll remember all the happy times that I spent with members, whether it was playing golf, a special occasion, enjoying the quiz nights or just sitting a having a drink and knowing that I have made many friends.”