South Africa’s premiere charity golf event The Gary Player International took place over the weekend and Chia Kougianos was there to bring you a behind the scenes look at what went on, check it out…
The Zimbali Coastal Resort played host again this year and the glamourous ensemble of guests saw the weekend come alive with the pairing of major golf champions with Hollywood celebrities, chart-topping musicians and leading businessmen.
This year saw local and international personalities such as Jack Wagner and Ashley Jones of Bold & Beautiful fame, red-headed beauty Angie Everhart who starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action-comedy Last Action Hero and Westlife’s Brian McFadden, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, Shaun Pollock, Jen Su and Patricia Lewis.
Guests were treated to an open buffet and live music with a special suprise performance by traditional African dancers. Gary Player was in attendance and smiled humbly as he expressed his gratitude over the support and generous donations of those willing to assist across the globe.
The Gary Player Invitational, presented by Coca-Cola, charity auction drew an unprecedented response from the golfers, celebrities and business executives taking part this year when a record of over R4 million was raised. This is by far the biggest contribution from the auction in the 13-year history of this charity tournament, with the proceeds going towards the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Wings and Wishes.
The auction was the highlight of the black tie gala dinner and drew incredible support from the tournament guests as well as friends of Gary Player from around the world, many of whom made generous donations prior to the auction, while some even phoned in their bids during the evening.
The top bid was the R520 000 for an exclusive Masters Experience with Gary Player, including staying in The Player Group House for the week of the iconic Major.
A life-size Gary Player Rhino, featuring images of Player’s 1965 US Open triumph and Dr Ian Player’s commitment to conservation, was auctioned for R100 000. The bid was then increased by R10 000 by a generous couple when they were informed that their original bid matched the record for a similar rhino.
As a personal thank you to Gary Player, football legend Kenny Dalglish announced a surprise item of four season tickets, or two director’s box tickets, to a Liverpool Football Club game and a round of golf at Hillside Golf Club, hosted by Dalglish. This item was sold for R57 500.
“We are delighted regarding this phenomenal response and the generous way in which so many people have contributed to the charity efforts of this tournament,” said Marc Player, Chief Executive of Black Knight International.
“To have so many friends from around the world supporting our beneficiaries this year is a very humbling experience. We are incredibly thankful for their continued support and willingness to make a difference.”
Special thanks to Cecily McLane for hosting The Socialite and to Vincent Stevenson of Maharani Hair Stylists, Blaise Richards of The Nail Factor and Bianca Warren of Bianca Warren Designs.