April 2013

Viljoen steps down with fond memories

Ken Viljoen has retired from the SAGDB after nearly a decade and a half in golf development

After nearly fourteen years in golf development, Ken Viljoen retired as Managing Director of the SAGDB on 1 April. He handed over to the board's former Technical Director, PGA coach Grant Hepburn.

"I know I can step down with confidence that the future of our organisation is secure," Viljoen said. "Grant's dedication and belief in what the SAGDB stands for are beyond question, and no one is more capable than he is of building on what we have already achieved."

Viljoen has been with the SAGDB since it was formed in August 1999. He was initially appointed as Financial Director, and served in that position until becoming Managing Director in May 2006.

He has led the SAGDB through turbulent times, but leaves the organisation on a strong footing.

"The SAGDB has been a significant part of my life for nearly a decade and a half, and I have felt just about every emotion imaginable in that time," he said. "But the moments that will really stay with me are those when I was lucky enough to see our boys and girls out on the course, playing their hearts out, winning friends, becoming champions and making all of us incredibly proud. When I look back at the gains we have made over the years I know that I have been blessed to be a part of them."

"I would like to thank our President Mr. Johann Rupert, the Board of Directors, South Africa's golfing bodies, all of our sponsors and my loyal staff for everything that they have put into the SAGDB over the years. I have been very fortunate to have enjoyed the support of so many committed companies and individuals."

Speaking on behalf of the SAGDB Board of Directors, John Loftie-Eaton of the Rupert Foundation thanked Viljoen for his service to the sport:

"The Board would like to thank Ken for the tremendous contribution he has made towards the SAGDB since its formation," he said. "His hard work and dedication to the SAGDB have made it possible for us to hand over the stewardship to a new Managing Director knowing that a solid foundation has been laid."

As the incoming Managing Director, Hepburn also commended Viljoen for the leadership he has shown over many years:

"I have been involved with the SAGDB for almost as long as Ken, and I know that he has steered the Board through some challenging times," Hepburn said. "He has always had the SAGDB's best interests at heart and has been totally dedicated to it's cause."

"Ken's passion has ensured that under his guidance the SAGDB has produced some wonderful results. In recent years, graduates from the programme have represented South Africa, some have gained Sunshine Tour cards and more than 140 of our players have gained provincial colours at all levels. Clearly he has had a successful reign."

SAGDB Chairman Selwyn Nathan also added his thanks to Viljoen for his service to golf development.

"We truly appreciate what Ken has done during his tenure," he said. "He leaves in place a team that can continue to drive the SAGDB's work and build even more on what we have already accomplished."