George - Sunshine Tour professional golfer Justin Walters will donate R100
for every birdie he makes this year to The Castle Lager Mark Boucher Legacy
Project through his own ‘Birdies for Rhinos’ scheme.
who is playing this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt, as is former
South African cricket star Boucher, talked about what led him to the decision
to make the donation as the first initiative in the Tour’s new project
‘Sunshine Tour Cares’.
“I’m a new
father, and when I was playing in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard
Creek last November, I visited the Kruger Park,” said Walters. “I was watching
some rhino and I sat there thinking I’d like to bring my boy down there to see
and I probably won’t take him down there until he’s about five because of the
threat of malaria. I was doing the maths and I realised that if we’re losing
one rhino every day, there won’t be any left. So I felt the need to get
Sunshine Tour Cares initiative has been started by the Tour to give all its members
an opportunity to get assistance from the Tour and its media platforms in order
to give both what they are doing as individuals as well as the charities or
initiatives they are supporting some much-needed exposure and publicity.
Cruickshank, Marketing Director of the Sunshine Tour, said that, while the
Sunshine Tour focused its charitable efforts on golf development, trying to set
up new chapters of the South African Golf Development Board wherever it could,
the Walters initiative marked a new turn in the Tour’s efforts.
to use Justin’s idea as an example to the players of something that can be
done,” he said. “If players have some charitable endeavour they want to
promote, they can come to us and we’d love to help. Each of our members can
choose their own charity and do something good in their own back yard, but
allowing us to help them.
great opportunity and we’re excited to get it going,” he added.
“I did a
lot of thinking about rhinos and I came up with a few ideas,” said Walters. One
of them was ‘Birdies for Rhinos’. I chatted to the Sunshine Tour about it and
they loved it immediately. Then I went and chatted to Mark Boucher about his
initiative, and tried to align it all together. I didn’t feel we needed to
create another charity but just to get behind people who are out there doing
all the hard work.
to speak to some other golfers and try and get them behind this initiative. I
think with the blessing of the Sunshine Tour, we’ll try and make as many
birdies as possible. I’ve pledged R100 for every birdie I’ll make. At the four
majors, we’ll try and persuade some golfers playing them to donate R500 for
every birdie made.”
thrilled about Walters’ initiative. “It can make a massive difference,” he said.
“If you look at all our sports in the country, golf is the stand-out sport.
It’s really succeeding at the moment. To have the golfers get together and do
something good is fantastic to see. We can make a big difference working
together. Hopefully the guys make a lot of birdies!”
thought about that too. “I think I made about R50 000 worth of birdies last
year,” he said. “I’ll backdate all my birdies to January this year, so I’m
already somewhere in the region of R7 000 personally.”