RUBY Bright, who won the first of four South African Women’s Championship titles just six months after taking up golf, was one of six players inducted into the Southern Africa Golf Hall of Fame this week.
Simon Hobday, Tony Johnstone, Rae Hast, Joe Dlamini and Arthur Walker were others honoured at the fifth induction gala in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.
The six were victorious across the better part of a century, starting in 1908 with Port Elizabeth-based Bright, as she was known before getting married.
Walker dominated the local amateur golf scene from 1956 to 1959, and in 1957 also won the English Amateur and reached the semifinals of the British Amateur.
Dlamini, a Swazi golfer, learned to play the sport with a knobkerrie. He turned professional at 37 and went on to win more than a dozen professional tournaments, including four on the Sunshine Tour.
Hast, whose achievements included winning the South African Strokeplay and Matchplay crowns in 1982, turned professional overnight after being barred from the 1983 British Amateur Championship because of anti-apartheid sentiment.
So she played a professional tournament instead and finished third. In 1984 she was fifth on the Ladies European Tour order of merit.
Johnstone, from Zimbabwe, and Hobday, from Zambia, both enjoyed success on the European and Sunshine tours.
Hobday, who went on to win the US Senior Open in 1994, was one of the great characters of the game.
There are many stories about him, like when he was stopped for speeding by a cop in a southern US state, who told him: “Boy, I’ve been waiting for you the whole day.” Replied Hobday: “I’m sorry, officer. If I had known I would have got here sooner.” Also honoured on the night was businessman Raymond Ackerman, who was presented with the Harry Brews Award for his contribution to the betterment, improvement and growth of the game of golf.
In 1978 he got permission from then prime minister BJ Vorster to open his Clovelly golf course to all races — if 92% of the members of the club agreed.
Ackerman recounted that 93% or 94% of the members agreed and the club was opened, although Vorster had also made him promise not to trumpet this in public.
The South African Golf Heritage Trust, responsible for the Hall of Fame, is hoping to start a golf museum in Cape Town.