An Open Letter to the Honourable Mayor of the City of Tshwane regarding Golf Events
I refer to the article in the Sunday Times dated 21 August, Tshwane’s mayor to tackle skeleton:
‘Solly Msimanga , The DA’s newly elected mayor in Tshwane, aims to rid the administrative capital of “vanity projects “and review the metro’s organogram with a view to trim the fat. The Tshwane Open golf tournament which costs the metro R40 million to host, will be first on the chopping block’.
The debate of how much money is awarded towards men’s golf ,particularly in South Africa, has shown very little return for the city’s involved and with little if not any transparency in the process of awarding contracts to the companies who would form part of the event. Less is said about community organisations who should be the first to benefit from any sporting event; especially with it being the culture of golf, corporate and community organisations sharing the spoils.
In the same breathe allocations of the monies earned being directed back into development golf and particularly women’s golf. The stats show the disparity between men’s and women’s golf in SA as being chalk and cheese. Male golfers total earnings are R32 775 000 for 2015/16 and women’s R2 800 000. With that being said, men enjoy up to 22 sunshine tour events per year and women only 9 tournaments. For ladies, this works out to about three months of competitive golf, and the rest of the year it’s basically scrapping together to get to tournaments abroad or coaching to pay bills.
This leaves one to ask several questions: why is there a massive gap in earnings when tennis and other sports show very little discrimination in earnings between male and female athletes? Is women’s golf not one of the priorities in South Africa when globally it’s like a Tsunami hitting the golfing world? Is there not enough corporate interest as is the case globally, particularly as we see the dominance of Asian women golfers on the LPGA tour? Is there no case for live broadcasting of women’s golf as is the case with the LPGA and the Ladies European tour which features regular coverage on national and paid TV? Is there not enough talent on the SA ladies tour that will attract public viewing and support as what we just witnessed at the Olympics 2016?
These are some of the points UniMedia Pro are addressing and in collaboration with many of South Africa’s female leaders in sport and in particular Sally Little, who is SA’s most decorated sport’s personality and is driving home her agenda to find the next Sally Little. We are definitely not lacking in talent and enthusiasm as currently we have 95 plus active professional players on the Ladies Sunshine Tour alone.
In the South African men’s golfing camp we have the likes of Gary Player, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and more as celebrated South African champions and to alert the world of the golfing greats being churned out on African soil. Where are the women to fill these shoes? With more than 440 plush golf courses countrywide, how can we collectively exploit opportunities in job creation, sports tourism and harnessing in on the power of sports women both in media and business?
Through the PinkStig Invitational, Unimedia together with its partners has undertaken to redress the issues at hand as stated in this letter and to bridge the gap economically and socially. Our vision, with our PinkStig initiative is to celebrate leading young aspiring female golfers, in both playing the game and inspiring other young female golfer amateurs to become professionals.
So Honourable Mayor; to get back to your question of how R 40 million is being spent on a ‘vanity sport’ such as golf, which we believe that this R 40 million could rather be invested into Women’s golf by:
- A series of tournaments for women’s golf such as our upcoming PinkStig Invitational on the 28th of November 2016, Sun City
- To use the cities as hosts and attach with it the element of local and international tourism
- To invite more international players to participate in tours to create a more competitive environment, thus preparing our pro players for international tournaments.