This week’s Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club in South Africa offers its golfers, for the first time ever at a professional event, the opportunity to win not one, but three different Volvo vehicles, including a construction machine, a truck and a car.
Volvo has a reputation for its quality vehicles, innovative concepts and its relationship with golf. At this year’s tournament, Volvo is combining all three of these admirable attributes in its approach to the Hole-in-One prizes. This true tournament of champions in the KwaZulu-Natal district of South Africa only features champions who have won on Tour in the last year or at least 10 times in their career, attracting the best of the best.
The star studded field feature Ryder Cup stars Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie along with their captain José María Olazábal, and local heroes Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and bright new star, defending champion Branden Grace.
A combination of lavish vegetation, sand and stunning views of the Indian Ocean make this course one of the most unique and challenging in the world. One of the defining characteristics of the club is the massive undulations in the fairways, which was built on sand dunes.
In the competition, the first player to put a hole-in-one on the 12th hole wins a new Volvo V40 car from the Volvo Car Group. A compact excavator EC55B is available from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) on the 15th hole while anyone skilled enough to bag a hole-in-one on the 18th and final hole will drive away with a long haul on highway FH truck from Volvo Trucks – this last prize alone is worth over $150,000.
While the car on offer is a reward in its own right, the two other prizes are particularly innovative and never been seen during a professional golf tournament before.
In 1922, the 12th hole was played by the then Prince of Wales, who had great difficulty in stopping his ball on the putting surface. Eventually, His Royal Highness putted on his 17th attempt and the hole has been named after him ever since. Now, for the first professional who manages to beat the royal score by 16 shots and achieve a hole-in-one during the tournament, can win the car.
The 15th hole is played over a pond to a green protected at the front by three bunkers where the Volvo CE compact excavator EC55 is up for grabs. The machine is designed with productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness in mind. A Volvo excavator was spotted at the same event in 2012 by former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, who is looking forward to the event and will be particularly interested in the excavator on offer at this hole. “I saw one of these on display at the start of this year during the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt,” says Oosthuizen. “At the time I thought how useful one would be on my farm, so to have the chance of winning one for myself is a fantastic incentive.”
Perhaps the most unusual prize on offer is the Volvo FH Truck launched in September 2012. The first golfer to hole his tee shot at the 18th hole will win this unique mode of transport. “This year we have something new and very special on offer,” says Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management. “We are very proud of all three, the likes of which have never been seen on Tour before, showcasing the diversity of Volvo’s products.”
During the activities, Volvo CE has organised the ‘Excavator Challenge’ in the public village where visitors can try their hand at digging or perfecting their putting with an EC55B. “With our products on display both on and off the course, the Volvo Golf Champions gives us a perfect opportunity to showcase our products,” says Olof Persson, President AB Volvo and CEO Volvo Group.
Volvo will also host its global corporate event – The World Final of the Volvo World Golf Challenge – alongside the Volvo Golf Champions this week.
The top finishers from the two-day World Final receive an even more exciting prize, one that is truly unique. They get to play alongside the stars of the European Tour during the Volvo Golf Champions, in the Amateur-Pro Team Competition, live on television, in front of a worldwide audience of millions. Each joins a pair of the professionals to make up a team of three – this year it will be the best 17 – which is an opportunity that exists nowhere else in golf.
Text: Chloe Doyle
Picture 1: JBE Kruger on practice day
Picture 2: Branden Grace taking a swing
Picture 3: The beautiful putting green at Durban Country Club, South Africa