Schalk Naude is one of those rare, talented individuals who has reached the top in more than one sporting code.
In the 1980s decade, he shone brilliantly at flyhalf for first Western Province, followed by the Blue Bulls and then Transvaal. And after hanging up his rugby boots, Schalk took to golf in a big way and now, aged 63, the sweet-swinger has represented Central Gauteng at Senior inter-provincial level for the past 11 years in a row.
And over the weekend he won our club’s Senior Championships for the over 50s for the fifth time, after a pair of 73s – the first on Bushwillow on Saturday and then, on Sunday, another one-over-par return on Firethorn as he sealed victory by a runaway six-shot margin.
“I played the first nine on Bushwillow in four-under and thought maybe I was going to equal or beat my age for the first time,” he says with a chuckle. “But this game is a great leveller and I three-putted four times on the inward loop! So that was 32-41. A terrible finish! Overall, though, I was really happy with my golf. Two years back I’d won the senior champs four times in a row. Then my game went a bit south and I didn’t know whether I’d get back to form. So to win again was pretty satisfying and proof that at 63 I’m not over the hill just yet.”
Schalk’s win comes just three weeks after his son Stefan, also a Randpark member, won the prestige Nomads North and South Junior Championships at Pecanwood on six-under-par 210 for 54 holes. One talented family don’t you think!
Back to our Senior Champs, and there were a bunch of prizes for the over 100 contestants, with – on the men’s side – scratch golfers Rouaan Bredenkamp and Trevor Labuschagne next best on gross on 152, followed by four-handicap Shane Walker one shot further back. These three players are all aged 55 and Shane has been a Randpark member ever since he was nine years old.
Rouaan’ son Johan is, like Stefan, one of Central Gauteng’s young stars plays off a plus-5 handicap, while Trevor represented Free State in his younger days. “I played against guys like Ernie Els and Retief Goosen because they were in my era as amateurs,” he reveals. So, how did he fare against the Big Easy and the Goose? “Well, I didn’t beat those two guys, but I did get the better of Rory Sabbatini, who played for KZN, in singles at inter-provincial. He was only 14 or 15 at the time, but that win is still a happy memory!”
Walker’s 153 aggregate was made up of a fine 73 on Bushwillow followed by an 80 on Firethorn. “I struggled a bit with the 80,” he says, “and a double-bogey at the last from the middle of the fairway didn’t help. But I hit some nice shots and it was a great weekend, with the rest of us just bystanders as Schalk won going away.”
So much for the men. In the women’s championship, Valda Ford took top honours with 69 Stableford points off her handicap index of 7.2. Renate Sauter was next best with 66 points, followed by Alana Bakos on 65.
The surname Ford, of course, is a familiar one at Randpark. Valda’s daughter Cara won the women’s club championships back in May for the second time. So, like Schalk and Rouaan, success at golf runs in the family. It’s been a Ford mother and daughter grand 2021 double.
“Growing up with a golf-lover like me, Cara didn’t have any option but to get into the game,” says a smiling Valda. “I’ve been playing forever,” Well, not forever actually. Before being bitten by the golf bug Valda was a hot-shot runner, representing Western Province at half-marathon distance. Like Schalk, she’s been good at two different sports.
Randpark CEO Francois Swart points out that in the four club championships held this year – the main club champs, the weekday club champs, the seniors and the juniors and graduates, entries totalled an impressive 701. That’s enthusiasm for you. That’s commitment. That’s Randpark.
Written by Randpark Member Grant Winter