There are 32 clubs in the Central Gauteng Golf Union which adds up to thousands of golfers, many of them very competitive. So for Randpark to end the 2023 tournament schedule with three of our male players ranked in the top 5 in the Union’s season-ending Senior Amateur Order of Merit is quite outstanding.
Fifty-five-year-old Johann Nel can look back with a great deal of satisfaction as he ends the year for the over-50s in Central’s coveted No 1 spot, with Sean Quigley (53) No 4 and never-say-die Schalk Naude – still going strong at 65 – No 5.
Nel may not have won a tournament but he was superbly consistent country-wide throughout the season with a bunch of top 10s, highlights being tied for second in both the Lowveld Senior Open in Mbombela and the Limpopo Senior Open at Marble Hall GC. And he ended the season on a high note with third place in the Otway Hayes Senior Classic at Zwartkop where he shot a splendid 69 – his best round of the season – followed by a 73 for a 36-hole total of 142.
“I must say I have been enjoying my golf and have played well throughout the year,” says Nel. “I’m not so long off the tee these days but I’m straight down the middle pretty much all the time.” Up until a few days ago, when Johann shot 82 in a mixed competition, he had played 45 straight rounds with scores of 79 or better, occasionally dipping under 70 too. Highly impressive. “I was %#$@ off to shoot 82 the other day! But overall, yes, I have been very consistent which has been very pleasing.
“Sean and I usually play together on Wednesdays, with Schalk quite often joining us so there’s a lot of competitiveness, camaraderie and banter going on (and isn’t this the beauty of golf?). When I moved across from Ruimsig to join Randpark I brought Sean with me so I reckon that ‘double’ was a pretty good move for our club!”
The Marble Hall and Zwartkop events were in November so it was hot golf from Nel towards the year end. And this was also the case for Quigley who in late October took third spot in the Ekurhuleni Senior Open at long and tough Glendower (he shot 71-76 for 147). He then saved his best golf for last by winning the Otway Hayes event at Zwartkop with an excellent 137 aggregate, made up by a sizzling 67 followed by a 70.
“That was my first senior amateur win,” says Sean, “and it was very satisfying. I concentrated hard, the greens were good and receptive, and I made a few putts. Johann’s won at this level before and Schalk loads of times. So now I am part of the winner’s circle.” So, is there now much competition between the three of them? “Absolutely,” he says. “We all badly want to win. But we also encourage each other. We always want each other to do well, even when we are opposing each other. It’s special.”
Naude has been playing top seniors golf at both provincial and national levels for 15 years ever since turning 50 and the 2023 season saw five top 10s for him, his best result being tied for second in the Cobra/Puma Central Gauteng Senior Open at Modderfontein where he went 70-71 for 141, not bad for a 65-year-old! Schalk, captain of Central Gauteng seniors for many years, also led the team into second place in the 2023 SA Senior Interprovincial at San Lameer in April, while yet another Randpark man, Jock Wellington – still shooting the lights out at 72 (he was South Africa’s No 1 senior amateur for 12 straight years) – skippered Central’s Super Senior side to victory in their IPT at Elements.
Randpark, then, certainly has more than its fair of par-busting over-50s and also ending the year inside Central Gauteng’s top 10 is 57-year-old Rurik Gobel in the eighth spot in the Senior Order of Merit. Clearly, there’s plenty of old magic at our club!
Written by Randpark member Grant Winter.