By Quintin van Jaarsveld
With both the men’s and women’s fields thrown wide open, a new set of champions could be crowned in the 2014 club championships at Margate Country Club this weekend.
Perennial men’s champion and 2013 winner Ivan Curlewis has been nigh-unbeatable for over three decades.
However, with the 34-time champion having undergone shoulder surgery which has kept him on the sidelines for some time, the legendary Curlewis could be dethroned.
Margate Country Club manager Dereck Hirson warned title contenders that they would write off Curlewis at their own peril.
“Ivan has been practicing and is preparing himself for club champs and I would not write him off as he has been around for a long time and knows the game and the course,” Hirson told eHowz!t.
“Last year’s runner-up Elvis Khawula will not be playing as he will be in Pretoria for another tournament, so it leaves the field open for the likes of Douglas Sima, Wanda Nxumalo and Johan Wentzel to swoop in.”
Hirson added that with 2013 women’s champion Tammy Wessels having relocated to Durban and not expected to defend her title, the women’s championship is anybody’s game.
Hirson said the excitement at the club is palpable, with organisers and golfers alike relishing the annual club showpiece.
“The club champs is great for the club and members as there is always excitement and players on edge. All week members have been talking about how they are playing, whether they should play club champs and how tough the course will be set up.”
He said one of his favourite aspects of the club championships is its galvanising effect.
“Part of what makes club champs so special is that it brings members together who generally do not play against one another during the year, so they get to interact with other members.
“It brings comradeship amongst golfers and into the club.”
The two-day competition gets underway at 11am on Saturday.