A weekend with Johnnie Walker at the Gary Player Invitational
As I mentioned last week, I was fortunate to get an invite to attend the Gary Player Invitational at Zimbali from the guys at Johnnie Walker. Yoh ! What. A. Weekend. Amazing to say the least :)
I got to Zimbali on Saturday around lunchtime and quickly checked into the awesome Fairmont Zimbali Resort. Seriously, if you ever get an opportunity to stay in this hotel, grab it. The place is another world. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and the rooms are HUGE. I stayed in one of the Villa apartments, which is probably bigger than my house. Each room also gets their own Golf Cart to run around in.
So, after a quick check-in, I headed up to the country club to get sorted and start watching some golf. Headed down to the 9th green and managed to watch a couple of guys come through. There were loads of celebrities & pro golf players in the field, so was quite cool to see some faces you only get to see in the papers & on TV.
At round 3ish, the first group with Gary Player finished their round on the 18th. We then headed down to the putting practice green, where Gary Player gave us some putting tips. Keep your head down, and keep your head still. Easy. Not quite. A few of us from the “media” (bout 6) were then allowed to have a quick one on one session with the man himself, with some personal coaching.
To say this was daunting was a bit of an understatement. Here, this legend, has been a Pro Golfer for over 60 years ! Sixty.Years. Wow !
So I stepped up for my 3 practice putts, and needless to say, I sucked. Hahaha. All 3 of my shots were too hard, and the coach wasn’t happy. But all in good fun. We then proceeded to a putting competition, and the winner, who was closest to the hole would win a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue. My shot was to hard again, and I overran the target. Eventually Ben from FollowTheBounce won the bottle (read his recount of the weekend here), and got it signed my Gary Player himself. That’s probably gonna be worth a bit in a few years time. Awesome prize.
We then headed back to our rooms to get sorted for the evening’s event, more commonly known as “The Saturday Night Party”.Very Apt. After a couple of speeches and some great dinner, the entertainment for the evening was Johnny Clegg, who is beyond amazing. That guy is a legend in his own right. And he really got the crowd going. Then after that a few(few) Johnnie Walker Black Labels were consumed with a lot of dancing with Gareth Cliff on the decks. All in all a VERY VERY cool evening, and a lot of sorry looking faces at breakfast the next morning.
We headed down to the 9th green again to see the golfers come through. We were quite lucky to see the whole field come through, and saw a couple of great putts. One day, I will be able to putt like that.
So, all in all, an awesome & inspirational weekend ! Some great golf, lots of really cool people, and really well organised event. A huge HUGE thanks to the team from Johnnie Walker for the invite. Def THE highlight of my year so far.