Africa Amateur Championship

Inaugural Africa Amateur Championships set to encourage and inspire across continent

The R&A
20 Feb 24
3 mins

The inaugural edition of the Africa Amateur Championship and Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational are not just prestigious events for the continent – they also represent a pivotal moment for golf in Africa.

As well as the glory earned by the newly crowned champions and the life-changing opportunities that come with success at Leopard Creek this week, they are also catalysts for development, provide inspiration for young golfers and offer a clear pathway to the pinnacle of the sport. “The African Amateur Championship and the importance of it to all golfers in Africa is just spectacular,” said South Africa’s Jordan Burnand. “It gives us an opportunity to play for a spot in a major (The Open) and get into other big amateur events across the world. It's just incredible. There are similar events around the world, which is incredible, but for Africa it's unbelievable. It's such an awesome opportunity for all the African players to play against each other.” Opportunities available For Tanaka Chatora, the 17-year-old Zimbabwean who is part of the Africa High Performance Programme supported by The R&A, the appeal lies in the opportunities that the Championship offers. Indeed, the opportunity to play in The Open or The Amateur Championship is an unparalleled opportunity for any amateur and having it within reach ignites a fire in the hearts of these young players. "The different exemptions on offer are really fantastic," he emphasises. “You have a chance to play in The Open, you have a chance to play in The Amateur Championship. Those are two great championships for any amateur golfer and if you can have a chance to play there anytime it's a great opportunity.” The influence extends beyond the men's game too. Kyra Van Kan, participating in the inaugural Africa Amateur Women's Invitational, echoes the significance of the event for her fellow women golfers. With role models like her emerging, young players across the continent can now envision themselves carving their own paths in the game.
Kyra Van Kan excited by the prospect of playing in the first Africa Amateur Women's Invitational.

Huge championship

"This is honestly such a huge golf tournament," she beams, acknowledging its role in attracting attention and elevating the profile of women's golf in Africa.  “I'm so happy to be playing in this Africa Amateur Women's Invitational this year for the first time. It's very attractive to women's golf. It draws a lot of attention for Africa and how great it is to come and play golf here at Leopard Creek. It’s a huge thing for women's golf and will help to grow the game as well.” Set against the stunning backdrop of the Kruger National Park, the events will provide a world-class platform for the region’s rising talent to compete against each other. The winner of the Africa Amateur Championship will earn exemptions into The 152nd Open at Royal Troon, The Amateur Championship, the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Waterfall City Tournament of Champions powered by Attacq.
The winner of the Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational will earn starts in The Women’s Amateur Championship, Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open and The Investec South African Women’s Open in 2024, and the Lalla Meryem Cup and Magical Kenya Ladies Open in 2025.

To the future

However, the true significance of these events lies beyond the immediate impact. As Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, says, "This is the start of a long journey. There are a number of players here who are extremely good and a number here who are going to develop in the next decade. “It's about creating opportunities for people and creating pathways for people. It is our job to create the environment that they can do what they believe they want to do and, if they're good enough, have that pathway to move to the next level. This is why we do it and that is what is  most exciting.” Rolex is an event partner of the Africa Amateur Championship and Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational and is committed to supporting The R&A’s professional and amateur championships. The Swiss watchmaker’s contribution to excellence in golf is based on a rich heritage stretching back almost 60 years, forged through pivotal partnerships at every level of the game, from the sport’s leading professional and amateur competitions and organisations, to players at the pinnacle of their discipline and younger talents embarking on their journey towards greatness.