One of Botswana’s premiere golfing tournaments, the Orange Classic Golf Championship, is back.
The annual tournament, which is Botswana Golf Union (BGU)’s last major tournament of the year, will be held over the next weekend at the Phakalane Golf Estate and Resort.
Speaking in an interview, BGU Secretary General Mpho Kelosiwang said unlike the past tournaments which were played over two days, this year’s tournament will be played over three days.
“The tournament will start with the championship Division playing 18 Holes on the afternoon of Friday 18th and they will be joined by the rest of the players on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th,” the BGU Secretary General said. “This Championship Division is composed of men players with Handicap of 7 or better. This is the group where we select the national team,” Kelosiwang continued.
On what prompted the BGU to move the start of play for the championship division from Saturday to Friday, the BGU Secretary General said this was to cut the time restraints that came with playing as many holes over two days on a golf course full of players.
“They (championship division) used to play 36 holes on Saturday and this meant that we had a very long day on Saturday with a very early start and late finish. This also meant that if we have an inclement weather on Saturday it became very difficult to complete the tournament early on Sunday and also to fulfil the conditions of the R&A for the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
The introduction of the Friday afternoon play for the Championship therefore is meant to reduce these risks,” Kelosiwang explained.
For this year’s tournament, as has been with the past edition, the BGU says it is expecting between 120 and 150 players, both men and ladies to take part.
“This tournament has proven to be extremely popular; it usually attracts over 150 entrants from within and outside Botswana. The entries are open to both Men and Ladies as long as you have a Handicap of less than 24 for men and less than 30 for Ladies,” Kelosiwang said. On how the tournament will be played, Kelosiwang said the men’s division will be divided into three categories, namely the championship division, the A Division for players handicapped between 8 and 15 as well as the B Division for players handicapped between 16 and 24.
Concerning the ladies division, the BGU Secretary General says they will be divided into two divisions, the championship division, which will be made of players with a handicap of 1 and 10 and the A Division which will be made of players handicapped between 11 and 30.
Though there are no cash prizes for the tournament as it is an amateur tournament, the BGU says golfers will have a chance to walk away with other prizes.
According to Kelosiwang, 46 prizes will be on offer during the tournament, with 17 reserved for the ladies division while 29 will be set aside for the men’s division.
Kelosiwang says the tournament, which boasts of Orange Botswana as its main sponsor has a sponsorship value estimated at P70 000. The BGU says of the total sponsorship value, P50 000 is in cash while the rest of the sponsorship is for merchandising and advertising.
Other sponsors include O3 who will be sponsoring the event with water.