When nearly 200 amateur and pro pairings tee off at Fancourt in South Africa's Western Cape province, cheered on by an army of supporters, marketers and corporate networkers, it's clear that the annual Dimension Data Pro-Am has become as much a highlight on the business and social calendar as it is a world-class golf tournament.

The impressive size of the field – 156 men's pairings and 40 women's pairings – is matched by the scale of this incredible tournament itself, which sprawls beyond the greens to include cultural and charity activities, evening functions and even a trail run.

Over the years, our Dimension Data Pro-Am regulars have formed deep friendships, even though some see each other on the greens only once a year. There's a real sense of community. You could even call it a family reunion of corporate South Africa.

The men's and women's tournaments were played at the same venue for the first time this year. In another first, the women's event, played on the Montagu and Outeniqua courses, was also televised, with commentating by pro golfer Tandi Mc Callum.

And, because of our commitment to creating a more equal playing field in sport, we made a big investment in the professional prize fund for the Ladies' Pro-Am, in partnership with Standard Bank, raising it to ZAR 2.5 million. Congratulations to our professional winner Moa Folke and the Better Ball winners' pair Ngwako Ramohlale and Kristyna Napoleaova.

Oliver Bekker won his second men's Pro-Am title in front of his home crowd, while Peter Schlebusch and Renato Paratore took home the Better Ball win.

At the Dimension Data Pro-Am prizegiving ceremony, with Moa Folke (second from left) and Oliver Bekker (right)
At the Dimension Data Pro-Am prizegiving ceremony, with Moa Folke (second from left) and Oliver Bekker (right).
Main image: professional player Clément Berdado. Photos: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour

A team effort

You can't help but be awed by the diversity and the scale of the tournament: no one can explain to you how special it is until you get there, and once again I was proud to be part of the team that worked behind the scenes to make it a reality.

The entire Dimension Data marketing team unites to deliver this event – from packing boxes to handling public relations – and, of course, we can't do it without the support of our fantastic partners and sponsors:

Standard Bank, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, Europcar, Windhoek, Pringle of Scotland, Mercedes-Benz, New Way, F5, Juniper Networks, VMWare, Boschendal, Dell Technologies, First Distribution, Obscure, and Seacom

And, as much as the event was a huge success for the avid golfers who included captains of industry from Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the US, some of my favorite memories of the 2023 Dimension Data Pro-Am relate to our fundraising achievements. I love that it's  also a platform to drive social change.

Making a difference

Cycling is an expensive sport, so it's not easily accessible to people in underserved communities. This year, we partnered with the Rocacorba Collective, founded by procyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, to raise funds in support of grassroots development in cycling for girls in these communities.

At the gala dinner on the Saturday evening, we auctioned off cycling jerseys, including Ashleigh's UCI Esports World Championship jersey. She had won this accolade – a first for South Africa – for online bicycle road racing with Zwift, the virtual training app for cyclists and runners. The ZAR 625,000 we raised will provide 41 bikes for girls in South Africa.

The Rococorba Collective's esports training center provides both training facilities and a safe space for children to focus on their schoolwork and other educational needs. It's all about healthy minds and healthy bodies, with an opportunity to foster professional cycling talent at the same time.

And that's not all: once again, the Dimension Data Pro-Am players donated money for every birdie they made to support Birdies 4 Rhinos, an initiative that raises funds for the protection of rhinos from poachers. This year, the tournament raised nearly ZAR 300,000 for these endangered mammals.

digital environment that showed the locations of various celebrity players on the courses at any given moment

Technology for the future

Apart from the fundraising and the action on the courses, we also showed off some of Dimension Data's technology. We love making sport a connected experience, and our parent company NTT's sponsorship of the Tour de France is a great example of how data and technology can come together to create an immersive, real-time experience for riders and fans alike.

At the Pro-Am, we created a smaller version of the digital environment that showed the locations of various celebrity players on the courses at any given moment. It demonstrated how a simple IoT solution held the potential to become an engaging, data-enriched experience at future tournaments.

We're setting our sights even higher for the women's event next year, elevating it to European Challenge Tour status with an even higher prize fund. We'll also keep expanding our network of Dimension Data Pro-Am tournament partners to allow more organizations to connect with this audience and drive societal change.

And, of course, a higher profile for the Dimension Data Pro-Am means we can make an even bigger impact in our communities and bring to life the kind of incredible cultural, social and sporting experiences that make the tournament special.

Read more about the 2023 Dimension Data Pro-Am.

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