Looking back, one wonders if any of the twelve guys who braved a bitterly cold 16th June 1997 morning at Glenvista Golf Club, realised this was the start of great things to come. These twelve guys, Flori, Maruto, Mike, Paul, Paulo, Ric, Sousa, Steven, Tó, Trini, Vic and Zelo arrived at this fine parkland course south of Johannesburg to do battle. The victor on this day, Tó, took home first prize. The success led to another get together. Observatory golf course was the chosen battlefield. A course, which is notorious for its tree, lined narrow fairways. This was going to be an "obstacle" course, but the twelve guys (Paul replaced by Conrad for this tournament) were up to it. On this 16th December 1997, Zelo, rose to the occasion to win the tournament.
Apart from Tó and Mike, the rest of the guys were fairly new to the game of golf. It was clear though that they had been bitten by the "once a golfer, always a golfer" bug. There was no going back, they had contracted the disease and it was contagious.
The next natural step was to start their own golf club and on the 22nd September 1998, the Strokers Golf Club was inaugurated by the following members: Chico, Marufo, Mike, Paul, Paulo, Ric, Seraf, Sousa, Tó, Trini, Vic and Zelo. Every club needs a leader and Ric was given the honor of serving as the first president of the Strokers.
Four majors were decided upon, the first was held at the prestigious Kensington Golf Club on the 16th December 1998, won by Paulo. The second, the Easter Open at Dainfern Country Club on the 20th March 1999, won by Trini. The third major was the Winter Golf Challenge held at Bryanston Country Club won by Mike. The last, The Masters, a two round tournament which was held at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club and Lost City Golf Courses. The title of this last major was won by Tó, who went on to become our first Order of Merit winner.
Apart from these Majors, the Strokers also held open golf days between the Majors where members invited their guests to participate.
As in all battles, casualties are imminent. The first of these to be suffered by the club was when Marufo returned to Portugal at the end of 1997/1998 season. The club unanimously voted Tony in at our AGM to replace him.
For the 1999/2000 season two Majors were added, namely the Millennium Open and the PGA. A Match Play Championship was also incorporated into the open days. Here the Strokers competed with each other in a four ball, which contained two guest players. Open invitations didn’t prove to be a success and the club abolished this at the end of the season.
Our short but illustrious history, was dealt another blow during the 2000/2001 season, when three founding members left us, Trini emigrated to Madeira. To this day, he remains the only unbeaten Stroker in Matchplay duels (10-0). Vic and Ric resigned due to other commitments. It was a snag, but soon three new members, Steven, Joe and João were voted in. The club was back on course.
The 2003/2004 season was highlighted by Seraf’s success in breaking the Tó and Mike's stronghold for the Order of Merit, the club’s most coveted title. This was no fluke as he went on to repeat this feat in 2006. The middle of the 2004/2005 season saw another loss to the club, Zelo. Tony G filled his spot for the remainder of the season and was officially voted in at the start of the 2005/2006 season.
Eight years since its inception the club needed a facelift – as they say “a change is as good as a holiday” – so a new logo was introduced and with it a newfound enthusiasm and attitude for its members. All twelve Strokers were now competing on equal ground for every competition in the club. The friendly rivalry amongst members resulted in different names appearing on trophies – spirits were high and the club was on track.
On the 20th May 2007, Pecanwood played host to the 50th Major. Paul overcame bizarre weather conditions to claim the 2007 Winter Golf Challenge. A milestone from the humble beginnings at Kensington.
With our decade in existence approaching there is no better time to apply the old adage “out with the old, in with the new”. As a result of the fading interest in the Match Play Championship, the club introduced the Challenge Cup and the Tour Money list competition. The new and improved 2007/2008 Tour schedule including the two new competitions, promises to take the Strokers to new heights from its 1998 origins.