This year marks the second annual Standard Bank Pro-Am Invitational. The golf tournament was launched last year in Gauteng and has already become a staple in the professional women’s and amateur golf calendar (both men and women). But the tournament is more than a showcase for top-quality women’s golf on South African shores, and is just part of how Standard Bank is promoting the development of women in the sport.

Supporting the growth of women’s golf

This year, the tournament went national with additional regions such as the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West Province in the series. This creates more opportunities for professional women and amateur golfers to improve their skills, increase their playing time and win impressive prizes.

In particular, the Western Cape is working to formalize equal respect for women in sport, according to the Western Cape Ministry of Sports. To create access to the sport for young girls through golf clinics and increase playing time for professional women, Standard Bank launched the province’s first Standard Bank Golf Development Program this year.

“The development program is one of many initiatives sponsored by Standard Bank to encourage the growth and support of women in sport,” says Schalk Kotze, Head of Wealthy Clients at Standard Bank.

“Although women’s golf has come a long way in the country, we continue to strengthen the circuit and encourage girls from all communities to try their hand at the sport and pursue their career dreams. Because great golf is great golf no matter who plays it.”

Standard Bank’s golf development program in the Western Cape began in April with weekly one-hour lessons at Durbanville Golf Club. In these classes, a group of 15-20 girls are introduced to the sport and encouraged to develop the basic skills needed to play the game. Thanks to specialized and effective training methods from professional trainers, young beginners have the opportunity to succeed from the first lesson.

“After just a few months at the clinic, the girls have already learned so much about golf and how they can build a career in one of the most lucrative sports in the world,” says Jenny Havenga, founder of Lifestyle Golf and Standard Bank promoter. Golf development program. “They obviously enjoyed every minute of their time with the coaches. We hope the clinics will help instill a love of golf, as well as a determination to pursue any sporting dream.”

Talented female golfers in action

While the Standard Bank Golf Development Program supports the development of passionate young golfers between the ages of 6 and 17, the Standard Bank Pro-Am Series gives local women professionals the chance to play for significant prize money. The second leg of the Standard Bank Pro-Am event took place at Atlantic Beach Golf Estate in Melkbosstrand in early June.

The competition featured teams of four, each consisting of three amateur golfers (female or male) and one professional golfer. Competitors competed for R160,000 in prizes sponsored by Standard Bank, including a R100,000 investment account for a hole-in-one, as well as R10,000 in UCount points for hitting closest to the pin.

The second stage of the event was a one-day professional tournament, where professional golfers with a scratch handicap competed for a prize fund of 600,000 rubles. Pros in attendance included Cape Town local Tara Gribbenau, win-hungry Thandie McCallum, precision hitter Francesco Couturi and four-time tournament winner Ivanna Sama.

“Standard Bank’s sponsorship of the Pro-Am Series and Development Program underscores the bank’s commitment to providing support, services and lifestyles that go beyond banking. We continue to work with new players to develop initiatives that will enrich people’s lives on a meaningful level and encourage more than simple ‘transactional’ relationships,” Kotze concludes.

The bank’s commitment to promoting equality and development extends beyond the Pro-Am Series. These Standard Bank initiatives are linked to wider social issues such as the gender pay gap and the disenfranchisement of women in South Africa – issues that the institution is constantly struggling to address.

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