18th May 2022 | Big Easy Tour
Mavundla targets full season thanks to Altron Big Easy Tour
Thanda Mavundla says he is excited at the prospect of playing a full season for the first time in many years, thanks to the Altron Big Easy Tour, and as such he has relocated to Gauteng for this purpose this year.
Having turned pro in 2015, Mavundla has always shown glimpses of the good golfer he is but due to a lack of financial support, he often found himself having to return to Qualifying School to earn his playing privileges. After securing his Sunshine Tour card – via the Altron Vusi Ngubeni Tournament – for the current season, Mavundla was faced with an all-too-familiar problem: lack of funds to go to tournaments.
“I had to return to Qualifying School because I didn’t play enough tournaments last season,” says Mavundla, “I just didn’t have the money to travel around. Now I have my card again but I couldn’t play in the Lombard Insurance and I can’t play the Zimbabwe Open because I don’t have the funds to travel.
“But, luckily for me and maybe other players who are in my position, now we have a full schedule of the Altron Big Easy Tour and it’s really competitive. So, I decided this year that I should move to Gauteng so that even when I am unable to play all the Sunshine Tour events, at least, I can play a full season on the Altron Big Easy Tour.”
Mavundla says the return of the Altron Big Easy Tour and the formation of the new Sunshine Tour Transformation Class which aims to provide a sustainable solution to the development of the professional careers of historically disadvantaged golfers and promote greater inclusion in the game, presents a great opportunity for golfers whose financial struggles prevent them from playing regularly.
“The initiative of the Transformation Class, together with the playing opportunities the Altron Big Easy Tour, means one will not stay at home now,” notes Mavundla who hails from Inanda in KwaZulu Natal. “it means even without sponsors, I am going to be playing a lot of tournaments, mainly on the Big Easy. That is what most players want; to be able to go to tournaments and compete.
Like many of his peers, Mavundla believes Altron, as the title sponsor of this circuit, will transform the Big Easy Tour into more than just a developmental circuit of the Sunshine Tour, but a competitive tour that many developmental tours fail to become.
“The event at Blue Valley was evidence of what we can expect this season,” he says with a smile, “because of how professionally it was all set up. It felt like you are playing a Sunshine Tour or DP World Tour tournament with all the support a big tour can have. The competition will be even tougher because most of these guys are season competitors and some have won many things before.
“The fields are going to be impressive and the level of golf will be high up there. That’s what we saw at Blue Valley and we know things will continue this way. I think now that Altron is the sponsor, this Tour will be even stronger and we can’t wait to go out there for the other events that are on the schedule.”
Mavundla says he hopes that more corporate partners invest in the Altron Big Easy Tour so that talented players like him don’t sit at home because of financial struggles. The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout among its former Order of Merit winners.