As the good weather graced the fairways of Bletchingley Golf Club in Surrey, the members of the popular online Golf Club The Social Golfer, gathered for their 14th annual major championship – The SOCIAL GOLFER OPEN 2023.
Unlike previous years, this event was also a chance to celebrate the new partnership that has been forged between the community-based website and handicapping platform, and the Afriyea Golf Academy in Uganda.
This saw both a DJ playing ‘African beats’ on the Golf Course (yes, really) and a ‘Mud Putt’ to replicate the conditions some of the kids learn to play golf in!
The partnership raised vital funds to allow Afriyea to continue with its golf programs, that teach underprivileged youth and kids with special needs to prosper in life via the game of golf.
In addition, the website will provide kids with a platform on which to record their scores and track their progress via their new unique TSG Handicap Index System.
Golf clubs including the prestigious Royal Norwich, West Hill GC, Frinton GC, Redbourn GC, Hendon GC, and Hertsmere GC donated 4-ball vouchers. In addition, Goswick Links, Croham Hurst GC, and many others added vouchers to the auction table.
The TSG Team raised more than £3.5K for the kids in Africa. However, it was also a chance for the members to donate Golf Clubs, Golf Balls, Golf Apparel, iPhones, iPads, and more.
The website management team used the event as an excuse to gather equipment to send to Uganda. Over 500 Golf Clubs were donated on the day, making it a resounding success.
The Social Golfer team plans to use some of the auction funds to send the golf equipment to Fort Portal in Western Uganda in the Autumn. Any remaining money will be used to provide a pathway for kids into the professional game of golf by 2030.
The event was streamed LIVE on Facebook and YouTube via LIVE SPORT NOW and was hosted by Ian Waterhouse.
A big thanks also go to GOGOGO Sport rangefinders who donated the prizes for the ‘Mud Putt’.
In a generous show of support for the new partnership, the Directors of the site also donated a jointly branded uniform to all the Coaches that represent the Academy in schools.
These were presented to the coaches on Ugandan National TV, demonstrating the national reach and awareness of the cause.
Finally, the Kids at the academy prepared a superb ‘spoof’ Ugandan Sports Channel video discussing the ‘potential’ winners of the day which brought both laughter and tears to the day.
Isaiah and his team have truly established themselves as leading lights in the golf world of Africa!
The field, ranging from 6 handicappers to 36, and the superb conditions of the golf course, proved to make for a hugely enjoyable contest. The unique tournament was won this year by two Kent-based golfers, Richard Scott (27 H’cap) and Judy Lilley (26 H’cap).
Whilst this was Scott’s first-ever TSG Major win, it was Lilley’s 4th time lifting the Women’s Trophy. The main winners on the day included…
Women’s Trophy – 1st – Judy Lilley 41 Pts (Kent), 2nd – Ruth Brand – 26 Pts (East Sussex)
Men’s Trophy – 1st – Richard Scott – 38 Pts (Kent), 2nd – Russel Mitchell – 37 Pts (Buckinghamshire), 3rd – Paul Houghton – 37 Pts (Essex)
Golf News Guest Trophy – Sam Cooke – 38 Pts (Kent), The Cairns Cup
Cairns Cup Comp. Team Winners – Sam Cooke, Richard Scott, Bob Syrad & Mark Crane
Yellow Ball Team Winners – Steve Slater, Barry Beard, Dave Wilkinson & Canhai Howell.
Editor of The Social Golfer said “We are so excited to partner with Afriyea Golf Academy and support their mission to provide golf programs to underprivileged kids and promote sustainability and conservation via the game of golf. I can’t applaud Isaiah enough for his work so far. We are inspired by both his story and the academy’s ambitions. We believe, with our help and support; we can make a real change to golf in Uganda and all of Africa!”
Commenting on her 4th TSG Major title, Lilley said “Thank you Ian and all the team for another fantastic day with The Social Golfers. Yesterday in particular we had a real mix of members from inception to current day and the camaraderie overall was brilliant. I loved the live broadcast, interviews and African music to welcome us to the 19th – golf should always be like this! I am thrilled to win the trophy for a 4th time and will be back again next year fighting for my fifth title!”
CEO of Afriyea Golf Academy, Isaiah Mwesgie said – “We are so excited to partner with The Social Golfer in the UK and worldwide. This partnership will help us raise the funds we need to provide golf programs to underprivileged youth and kids with special needs. We believe that golf can be a powerful tool for social change, and we are committed to using the game to help these young people reach their full potential. A DJ playing African Beats on a golf course in London, wow!”
By Ian Mullins