Schuhknecht gears up for Canon South African Disabled Golf Open
Widely considered one of South Africa’s best disabled golfers, Reinard Schuhknecht is gearing up to compete in his eleventh consecutive Canon South African Disabled Golf Open in Cape Town in May 2017. The event, now in its 19th year, is hosted annually by the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) and attracts the world’s top golfers with disabilities; most of whom boast handicaps of 18 or lower. Schuhknecht himself plays off an impressive 5 handicap.
The 25 year old, who is the golf operations manager at San Lameer Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal, survived a dramatic 11 000 volt electric shock at the age of 14 which resulted in his right arm being amputated above the elbow in 2006. Never allowing his disability to get him down, he completed his schooling in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng where he grew up and strived to lead an active lifestyle. Golf became a focus and a passion for him and one year after his amputation, he entered his first South African Disabled Golf Open. He competed in the D Division for players with a handicap of 19 to 24 and took first place, as well as second place in the Overall Junior Stableford Division.
The following year, he took first place in the Junior Division at the South African Disabled Golf Open, with a margin of 10 strokes, and third place in the Arm Amputee Division. Later that year, he took part in the Vodacom Ryder Cup Challenge at Vodacom World of Golf at Woodmead where he was crowned champion of the day after 18 short holes, a magnificent seven birdies and a winning with a margin of 4/3.
There has been no stopping him since. He represented the Vaal Triangle team for schools at Potchefstroom Golf Club in 2009, and SADGA’s Gauteng Team in the Inter provincial Tournament at Arabella Golf Club in Cape Town. By 2011, he was playing the international stage and participated in the Swedish Invitational in Malmo and Bokskogen, Sweden and was also part of a four man team in the World Team Handi-golf Championship where South Africa came fifth. In 2012, he played in his first Sunshine Tour at Zwartkop Country Club – the ISPS Honda Classic – where South Africa’s top ten disabled golfers competed and he came fifth.
In 2013, he received his Central Gauteng Colours for Disabled Golf and in 2014 he was awarded Protea Colours for Disabled Golf at the prize giving ceremony of the SA Open Championship. That same year he helped South Africa to a second place in the Disabled World Cup and disabled golf’s version of the Ryder Cup, The Fightmaster Cup.
Last year, Schuhknecht continued his winning streak at the South African Disabled Golf Open and took first place in the Arm Amputees Division (0 to 18 handicap). He also participated in the One Arm World Champs in London, coming second in the Strokeplay and winning the Longest Drive Competition with a distance of 366 yards. He also had the opportunity to play in the Nedbank Golf Challenge Pro Am held at Sun City in November 2016 when he played with Andy Sullivan, a professional golfer from England.
Aside from golf, Schuhknecht has many interests including scuba diving, skiing and wakeboarding. He also completed a 900km quad bike tour from Ballito to Johannesburg with other disabled bikers. But his dream is to be a professional golfer. “I want to become a professional golfer and compete at an international level in both the disabled and able body categories. I would love to play on the Sun Shine Tour,” says Schuhknecht, who is also the Brand Ambassador for SADGA (South African Disabled Golf).
The Canon South Africa Disabled Golf Open, offers a platform for disabled golfers to pit their skills against some of the best in the world in a credible competition that has at its heart the goal to inspire and unite players, and acknowledge their achievements. South Africans have historically dominated the tournament, with Ben van Zyl winning the event from 1998 to 2003; Pieter Jansen in 2004; Nico Wentzel in 2008; Iglin Grobler in 2009 and 2010; and Daniel Slabbert from 2011 to 2013, and again in 2015.
Canon South Africa, which has been a proud sponsor of SADGA for many years, has proudly taken the reigns as the official sponsor of the South African Disabled Golf Open for 2017.