Tom Buckle was voted in as the SAGES National Vice-President during the recent 2023 Nationals in Parys, Free State, for this national golfing society for senior club members over the age of 50.
This was in recognition of his achievements and contributions to the SAGES organisation over the last 20 years. It is a huge honour and fully deserving of a man who seriously does ‘buckle’ down to any task at hand. His strategic vision, diligence, and ability to bring people together in a spirit of camaraderie and cooperation will be invaluable assets to the organisation as it looks to expand its membership, strengthen its brand, and continue to provide its members with an exceptional golfing and fellowship experience.
Interesting to note that SAGES originated right here at Randpark Golf Club in 1974 when it was established by the late Mr Jimmy Gowans and his late wife, Mrs Erica Gowans. The branch used to be known as the Central Gauteng Branch.
The Jimmy Gowans branch now forms one of nine branches in the Northern Region, which is what had been known as Transvaal. Today there are 29 branches across South Africa including the Cape, Free State and Natal. Namibia, the fifth region, operates independently from South Africa.
There are about 2,500 members of SAGES in South Africa of which around 50 Jimmy Gowans members are at Randpark. Branches of SAGES arrange tournaments at different golf clubs within its area once a month, allowing members the opportunity of enjoying fellowship with other senior golfers.
Jimmy Gowans also has a fund-raising charity arm currently driving an initiative to install a full solar energy system at a facility of CHOC, the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa – here in Johannesburg North. At national level SAGES continue its long-standing relationship with CANSA, contributing to the fight against cancer.
Over the years Tom’s energy and enthusiasm have seen him hold various leadership positions in the Jimmy Gowans branch such as Captain, Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Consultant. The SAGES’ 2016 Nationals Tournament, of which he was Chairman, was held at Randpark and was widely regarded as the new benchmark for the society’s tournaments. Tom was subsequently consulted on many occasions for his leadership and support with respect to similar events.
The Jimmy Gowans Tee Talk Newsletter has become an eagerly awaited feature by members. Tom was involved with its publishing from June 2011 to March 2022. His commitment has seen him travel to over 10 SAGES Nationals in all corners of the country.
“My recent appointment as Vice-President of SAGES Nationally is an honour and privilege and I trust I will have the wisdom and diligence to fulfil my duties and to serve my fellow SAGES members in promoting the aims of the organisation and to extend their positive contributions to their communities. I will welcome any help with the CHOC initiative as they are struggling in the current situation with load shedding,” Tom says.
Born in 1949, Tom matriculated at Schoonspruit Hoerskool in 1966. Military service followed and he played rugby for Western Transvaal Under-20 in 1969 before embarking on a working career that would see him rise to the top of his field.
Tom started off in the Department of Justice in 1968 before moving on to become a surveyor at Vaal Reefs Mine in 1969-1970. He then worked at Rand Earthworks as a Construction Surveyor and later Site Agent from 1971 to 1975, after which he joined Murray & Roberts Construction as an Area Manager for the region from Secunda to Mmbatho until 1983.
Tom’s passion for learning led him to study through the UNISA School of Business Leadership, where he obtained his MBL in Project and Construction Management in 1983. The same year, he started his own company, Buckpro Pty Ltd, which employed up to 450 people.
From 1991 to 1997, Tom was appointed Managing Director of CONDEV, the housing development arm of Murray & Roberts, where he oversaw the delivery of up to 400 low-cost and lifestyle housing units per month in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and the Free State. He then founded and headed Devpro, a development company, from 1998 to 2008. When Firethorn was refurbished, Tom was the hard-working Project Manager of the course.
Tom’s passion for golf – his handicap ranges between 13-15 and he has had five holes-in-one – sees him on course at Randpark with the Monday and Friday School, the TATs Tuesday and Thursday School, the LEGS (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Wednesday School) and then to cap it off, the Saturday School with the Kwaggas.
That’s a six days a week commitment. Not surprisingly he plays a lot of golf. A lot! For the past decade or so he has averaged about 350 rounds a year and the year before Covid he upped this to a mammoth 400 rounds. So it was not uncommon for Tom to play two rounds a day. He used to walk the course but in 2015 after being fitted with a pacemaker he switched to driving his own cart. Last year he underwent a quadruple heart bypass so golf was put on hold for a while. But now he is very much back in action, as he ‘buckles’ down to try and make some more birdies!
Tom is married to Anne-Marie Lindeque, and they have two sons, Raymond and Laurent, two adopted children and four grandchildren.
Tom is also known for his great sense of humour. The joke goes: Why does Tom wear two pairs of pants to golf? Answer: He’s afraid he might get a hole in one …
Written by Randpark member Grant Winter