No spectators are going to be allowed at Randpark Golf Club when the prestigious Joburg Open is held there from November 19-22, but there will be plenty of entertainment for golf fans at the club both before and after that with the installation of the new InRange ball-tracking facility at their driving range.
InRange is a system designed by engineers in Stellenbosch who were global leaders in the field of tracking technology for radio telescopes and radar, who turned their attention to tracking the flight of golf balls. The result is not only a package that is used by leading professionals, golf clubs and coaches, but which also has tremendous entertainment value.
Golfers previously going through the motions on the driving range can now track each and every shot and can play under added pressure in the system’s game mode that allows multiple players to compete against each other in contests such as Longest Drive or Bullseye. With four buckets of balls costing less than R400 for a foursome, this sounds like great fun for a group of golfing mates.
The technology is also available on an app, allowing individuals to enjoy the experience at a cheaper cost.
But for the weekend of November 19-22, Randpark will become a place of national importance and closed to the public as the European Tour and their top international golfers arrive to participate in the Joburg Open. As Randpark GC chief executive Francois Swart explained, they simply cannot risk any Covid transmission occurring, especially with South Africa hosting the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and then the South African Open at Sun City on the following weekends.
“It’s very important that the safety protocols are adhered to and we have to manage the bubbles and ensure the safety of the players, not just for this tournament but for the next two as well. I think not having spectators is the better call and unfortunately not even our members will be allowed at the club. It’s the right call because it’s a big investment.
“The players are the ones who have the most risk and if any of them get exposed then they’re out for the rest of the tournaments as well. Not having spectators is normal practice at this time on the European Tour and they have had a lot of input because they have staged big tournaments already this year. They’ve given us valuable insights and I have all the confidence in the world that the Joburg Open will go off beautifully,” Swart told The Citizen.