Mediclinic has been serving as the official medical services partner to pro golf’s prestigious Sunshine Tour, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Tour professionals, staff and spectators throughout the season.

Mediclinic and the Sunshine Tour have formed a successful partnership that will continue until October of this year. As part of the partnership, Mediclinic is using its vast experience in supporting world-class sports events to assist the Tour. Mediclinic has been providing on- and off-site medical doctors and emergency medical services at all Sunshine Tour events, as well as Challenge Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned events that take place in South Africa.

“The Sunshine Tour sees safety and medical care as top priorities,” says Dr Darren Green, Corporate Events Manager at Mediclinic South Africa. “They asked Mediclinic to be their designated medical service provider so as to reassure international athletes, who include the best golfers in the world, that a reputable international brand would be associated with their events.” 

High-profile events

The agreement covers 26 to 29 major golfing events. “Eventing medicine is all about scaling the risk around the event appropriately,” Dr Green says. “For the Sunshine Tour, we’ve designed standard operating procedures (SOPs) depending on the level of competition.”

A Level 3 event like the co-sanctioned Alfred Dunhill Championship, for example, has a €1.5 million prize purse and lists Majors winners such as Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, and Justin Rose among its recent winners.

“These high-profile Level 3 events have a dedicated sports physician on site, backed by a pre-hospital paramedic team on the ground who are responsible for looking after both players and spectators,” Dr Green explains. “The team for a Level 2 event will be smaller, but the standard of care is the same. Whether you’re playing in KwaZulu-Natal, St Francis Bay, Joburg, or Limpopo, it’s the same infrastructure, which means the players feel comfortable.”

Mediclinic’s SOPs are the first of their kind in world golf. In the days leading up to any given Sunshine Tour event, the medical team will be on site, running drills and familiarising themselves with the terrain.

Two decades of experience

While golf may be a zero-impact sport, injuries do happen – to both players and spectators. “Anything could happen, from headaches and sunstrokes to heart attacks,” says Dr Green. “Our job is to monitor the risk. What’s the weather going to do? What’s the heat stress index? What’s our plan for lightning? All those considerations go into a medical operational plan (MOP), and no major event may take place in South Africa without a MOP being signed off by the relevant provincial government.”

For Dr Green and the Mediclinic events team, it’s all part of the job. “We bring two decades of eventing experience to the Sunshine Tour,” he says. “And we draw on what we’ve learnt from other events, like the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Cape Epic, and so on. We’re niche specialists at setting up a high level of specialised care in the field. At the Cape Epic, for example, we set up an intensive care unit (ICU) in the bush.”

With that level of experience, the rolling lawns and clubhouses of pro golf’s elite events are well within the expert capabilities of Mediclinic’s Sunshine Tour team.