The 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, will undergo a major transformation as Sun City celebrates the inclusion of “Africa’s Major” on The European Tour’s elite Final Series of the Race to Dubai.
Golf fans attending this year’s tournament at the Gary Player Country Club from 10 -13 November will witness a significant upgrade in the tournament infrastructure as well as several other enhancements to mark this new era in the event’s illustrious history.
The 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, will form part of one of the richest season finales in world golf and will have a premier place the week before The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
It is set to draw the cream of The European Tour’s global stars with the field having been increased from the current 30 players to 72 players. With no halfway cut it will also guarantee South African golf fans four days of world-class golf action.
The new status of the tournament also comes with a further three-year sponsorship from Nedbank, making this the longest running sports sponsorship in the bank’s history.
“The tournament has changed dramatically and grown immensely, and we are making several changes to reflect this at Sun City,” said Dan Sevel, Sun International’s Sports Marketing Manager who will from 2017 take over as head of the $7-million tournament for Sun International.
“The new initiatives around this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, have been designed with its elevated global status in mind and to create a more holistic experience for the golf fan.
“I think the fans who have been coming to this event for the past several years are going to be blown away by its new look.
“When you look at the tournament itself we’re changing the way the whole event is set up and laid out, and the offerings that we’re putting together.
“There will be a totally new fan experience from the main gate and when entering the Gary Player Country Club. As you enter, in previous years you walked through a main expo building to access the Gary Player Country Club, and it did have some experiences for the golf fan. But Tournament Director Alastair Roper and his team have come up with an entirely new way to present this and add brand new life to this entrance.”
According to Roper, who has overseen a staggering 19 editions of this tournament, the new entrance will showcase will be a much more personal experience for the golf fans.
“Now, instead of walking into one big structure, the golf fan will be able to enjoy individual experiences all along the way of what will be a golf boardwalk, so to speak. And it’s going to add incredible value to the sponsors and partners who do take up these spaces.”
“One of the other big changes to the traditional set-up will entail the flow and fan experience around the ninth and the 18th greens.
“The way we are setting this up will present a very different view to the golf that people won’t have experienced before at this event.
“The increased field size presents us with a wonderful opportunity to widen the focus across all of the holes, and not just focus on the ninth and 18th holes,” said Roper.
The tournament catering is also set to reflect the new trends around golf and healthy living.
“We’ve revamped the type of meals we will be serving golf fans to keep pace with what is served at major tournaments around the world. I think we’re all trying to lead healthier lifestyles these days, and the modern golfer certainly portrays the concept of a healthy athlete. So we will be reflecting this in our catering at the event,” said Roper.
“We have made it easier for fans to come in and enjoy good quality and healthy food at the tournament, but while encouraging the kind of grab-and-go culture the golf fan is looking for.”
According to Sevel, one of the major upgrades at Sun City that will also feature in the week of the 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, is the new Entertainment Centre.
“Sun City has needed this change and the Entertainment Centre has gone through a dramatic change that is more modern and in keeping with the current trends. It is a well-lit space in keeping with all of the modern offerings people expect, and more.
“I think overall, the golf fans are definitely going to notice the changes at this year’s tournament and we’re very excited about it.”