The local golfing community is mourning the loss of a legend after the passing of 77-year-old Wallace Johanneson from Mitchells Plain.
The Rocklands resident died on September 16 due to kidney failure.
From a young age, Wallace was passionate about golf and played all over the country, winning multiple national titles and competing against Mzansi legends such as Ismail Chowglay, Papwa Sewgolum, Ernie Els and Gary Player.
Alida Smith, Wallace’s niece, says: “Uncle Wally lived for golf and was still playing until last year until he had to get his leg amputated.
“When he was not playing then he would still go to the course and mentor younger players while he would often play with his grandchildren as well.”
As a member of the Cape Peninsula Golf Club, he was the 2000 and 2003 club champion and he also won the club’s classic prize three years in a row from 1998.
“Uncle Wally grew up in Athlone and my mother would always tell stories of him playing golf outside with sticks and stones with his brothers
Selwyn and Peter and his sister Monica,” says Alida.
“He started off as a caddy at the Royal Cape Golf Club in Wynberg, when he was 15 and when he turned 17, he was playing in competitions and always practising.
“The field where he would always go practise is where Vangate Mall is built.
“Unfortunately, during apartheid, he could not realise his dream of playing overseas but that did not stop him from playing and soon he was just winning trophies and awards all the time.
“His house is just one big trophy case with all the awards he has won.”
Wally appeared in a number of newspaper articles over the years due to his golfing exploits, and his niece says his calming influence will be missed by his family.
“He and his brothers and sisters were always close with each other and even though some of them have passed on, he still had two sisters, Ethel and Lillian.
“He has five children, 14 grandchildren as well as two great children who will all miss him.
“Also, there will be a lot of young golfers that will also miss seeing Uncle Wally at the golf course.”