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SADGA salutes Eugene Vorster

02 Dec 2016

Eugene Vorster; credit SADGA

South African Disabled Golf Association chairman Enver Hassen announced on Friday that CEO Eugene Vorster will be leaving the organisation at the end of 2016 to pursue new interests.

“I regretfully announce Eugene’s resignation from SADGA,” Hassen said. “This is a great loss for the association, however we respect his decision.

“He has been a valuable member of the team since he started the association from a small little office in Bellville with Lily Reich back in 2000. Eugene was instrumental, along with the other founding members, in registering SADGA in 2004 and his contribution was essential to the success we have enjoyed in the last 12 years.

“We applaud his passion to grow SADGA and its First Swing Programme and his pursuit to excellence for all disabled golfers and we wish Eugene the best in his future endeavours.”

Vorster left the South African Golf Development Board in 2000 under the encouragement of former CEO Bones Nagel to launch an official body for disabled golf in South Africa.

He launched the First Swing Programme, which Reich took over five years ago, as well as provincial tournaments and raised sponsorship to grow the South African Disabled Golf Open.

SADGA’s flagship event – started by the late Nico Wentzel in 1998 – grew from its humble beginnings to one of the most prestigious championships in the world. It annually draws top disabled golfers from many countries and boasts a number of international winners, including the reigning champion Chad Pfeifer, a leg-amputee from the Unites States.

Vorster and Reich tested the water with the first World Cup for Disabled Golf just after the 2014 edition of the SA Disabled Golf Open. The event proved hugely popular and will be making a welcome return to the annual schedule in the CANON SA Disabled Golf Open at King David Mowbray Golf Club next year.

He also hosted an annual charity golf day in the United Kingdom to raise funds to sustain the First Swing Programme.

“It is with mixed feelings that we say good bye to Eugene,” said Reich. “It is always sad to lose a dedicated colleague and our consolation is that Eugene is comfortable with his decision and deems it as a step forward in his career.

“We are incredibly pleased that he will not be totally lost to SADGA as he plans to compete on our provincial circuit. We hope to see him tee it up in the 2017 Canon SA Disabled Golf Open, an event he was largely instrumental in growing into one of the most sought-after tournaments on the global calendar.

“We thank Eugene for the unconditional commitment and dedication throughout the years. On behalf of everyone at SADGA, I would like to wish Eugene the best of success in future challenges and endeavours.”

Vorster said he will be taking a long overdue vacation with his family over the festive season before he begins to pursue a new career.

“This was obviously not an easy decision, but one I agonised over for some time,” said Vorster. “I dedicated my life to SADGA for the last 16 years and I leave with no regrets and the absolute confidence that the organisation is in safe hands.

“I have enjoyed a very rewarding career at SADGA, but it is time that I redirect my attention to my wife, my children and other interests. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every partner, sponsor, board member, player and staff member for their support and backing over the last 16 years.

“I would especially like to wish Dana Eitzen and Michelle van Vuuren from CANON all the very best for the CANON SA Disabled Golf Open – your enduring support for disabled golf has been truly magnificent. May you all have a blessed festive season and enjoy great prosperity in 2017.” 

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Disabled Golf Association.

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