It was the vision, drive, passion and perseverance of Easterns’ Nomad, the late Dave Tod which led to the establishment of Lowveld Nomads.
Back in 1994 thoughts on initiating a Nomads club in the Lowveld were first brought to light. Dave , then Captain of Easterns Nomads (formerly Eastern Transvaal), who had been participating in the Jock of the Bushveld Tournament for the last 18 years, believed there was potential to establish a club in the Lowveld.
First order of business was to convince the Eastern Transvaal committee to run with the concept of forming a Lowveld Nomads Club and secondly, to assemble a working committee which would act as mentors to the new body.
Thus a group of Easterns Nomads comprising of Mike Tarr and Les Floyd, together with Dave Tod as Chairman, set off for the Lowveld to investigate the formation of a Nomads club in the Lowveld. Their brief was to check out with the local golfing authorities and golfing community the feasibility of such a project, with the object of clearing any conflict of interest that might arise among the various parties. The reception given to them was enthusiastic and helpful, so much so that both an Easterns and Lowveld steering committees were formed.
The two committees were faced with daunting challenges. The Easterns’ committee had to convince the National Executive to accept a departure from the established convention of playing monthly games on 18-hole courses. It had to convince the National Executive of the acceptability of forming a club where 9-hole courses were in the majority, and where distances that members would be required to travel might be considered onerous. The Lowveld committee had the difficult challenge of drumming up support and launching into a monthly programme of games. It is a matter of record that both committees achieved their objective. The support of our sponsor club, Easterns Nomads, played a massive role in achieving the objective.
So it was momentous occasion that Neale Kunhardt, then National Chairman, travelled to the Lowveld and met with the steering committee, accepted that the Lowveld was unlikely to ever have the membership numbers of the large metropolitan clubs, but acknowledged that golf development would be best served by a Nomadic presence.
At the time of the inauguration Neale Kunhardt received tremendous criticism from some of the older members of other clubs, who felt that Nomads was extending beyond its limits. Nevertheless, with all the above negotiations successfully concluded the inaugural game was held at Nelspruit Golf Club on 17 November 1996. The game was attended by 60 or so Lowveld members, all members of the National Executive and approximately 150 golfers representing what were then 10 Nomads clubs of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
In the ensuing years the club has grown from strength to strength, maintaining a strong core of founder members while continuously attracting good quality members. It has successfully implemented the Nomads objectives of furthering the game of golf, of raising funds for needy charities and of engendering fellowship among its golfing members. Since its inception the club has raised significant funds through its Nomads National Andrew Mentis Endowment Fund, the beneficiaries of which have been many of the local charities and organisations.
In the words of our Founder Captain, Gerald Bullen, when quizzed on the success of the club, he had this to say;
“I always knew we could do it! All those years ago, when we met to discuss the feasibility of a Nomads club in this area, we contacted men of calibre and integrity, men with dreams and visions, men with motivation and enthusiasm, men with high and low handicaps from all walks of life, who would each in his way, bring to the game grace, dignity, sportsmanship and humour, not to mention a sprinkling of good humour, a sense of fun and the ridiculous. The club has, over the years, been bound together by all of the above good qualities and strengthened by the love of the game itself. I am and always will be proud to be associated with the Nomads club and with Lowveld Nomads in particular.”