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Cape drought forces venue change for Investec South African Women’s Open

CAPE TOWN, 9 February 2018 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour, Womens PGA of South Africa and World Sports Promotions announced today that the 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open will move to Westlake Golf Club from 8-10 March.

Westlake Golf Club will host the R2-million Investec South African Women’s Open on the Sunshine Ladies Tour from 8-10 March 2018; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

The venue change of the R2-million Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece – co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour – was prompted by the damage caused at the original venue, Atlantic Beach Country Club, by the prolonged drought in the Western Cape.

“Unfortunately we have had to take the very difficult decision to move the Investec South African Women’s Open,” said Sunshine Tour Chief Executive Selwyn Nathan. 

“The decision had basically been made for us. In spite of the best environmental practices, the drought has taken its toll on the condition of Atlantic Beach Country Club, in particular the greens.

“Unfortunately, time is not on our side. We had to consider the long-term damage to the reputation of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, Ladies European Tour and Atlantic Beach in hosting an international event at a venue that is less than perfect.

“We are devastated for Atlantic Beach and sincerely hope that they can repair the damage swiftly in order to get their course back to its beautiful state.

“We are delighted that the tournament will be going forward and we extend our deepest appreciation to the management and executive committee of Westlake Golf Club for stepping forward to accommodate our national women’s championship.”

Lesley Copeman from World Sports Promotions applauded Westlake Golf Club for their swift response.

“We were in a serious predicament since the tourist season in Cape Town is at its peak and most of the golf clubs in the Western Cape are fully booked,” said Copeman.

“David Smith, the general manager at Westlake Golf Club, called us almost immediately. They have moved heaven and earth to re-schedule their diary to accommodate the Investec South African Women’s Open. The fact that Westlake makes use of effluent water is a big plus. They will be able to present us with a course in excellent condition.

“Our sincere thanks go out to Allen Usher, Tony Louw and the greens staff at Atlantic Beach for all their efforts. They did everything possible to prepare the course. We sincerely hope that they are able to restore Atlantic Beach to its usual pristine condition soon.”

Danni Dixon, Head of Marketing for Investec, commended all the parties for taking swift action to guarantee that the event goes ahead whilst ensuring minimum municipal water impact.

“This was certainly not an easy decision, but we are satisfied that the Sunshine Ladies Tour, WPGA and World Sports Promotions acted in the best interest of the players, Atlantic Beach Country Club, the championship and Cape Town’s water crisis. We look forward to hosting a top-class field at a world-class venue.”

Smith from Westlake said the club was honoured to step in and excited at the prospect of showcasing Cape Town and Westlake in the prestigious championship.

“The drought is a tough reality here in the Western Cape, but we are in a very fortunate position with our effluent water scheme,” he said. “It was unthinkable that the City of Cape Town should lose an international event of this stature.

“Westlake will be a different test to the links layout at Atlantic Beach, but the course has hosted many flagship national amateur events and professional tournaments and we are confident that it will provide a testing challenge for the players.

“We are proud to take over the hosting role from Atlantic Beach to ensure that the Investec South African Women’s Open remains in the City of Cape Town.”

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