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Gary Player the Golf Legend

Updated on October 4, 2014
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Natasha Pelati has published three books of poetry and writes on real-life experiences with the help of psychology.

Gary Player - The Early Years

Gary Player was born in Johannesburg in November 1935. He was the youngest of three children and his mother passed away from cancer when he was eight years old. His father worked on the mines and he took out a loan to buy Gary a set of golf clubs.

At the age of fourteen, Player won his first game of golf and parred the first three holes. When he was seventeen he became a professional golfer.

Gary started playing at the Virginia Park golf course in Johannesburg and from the late 1950s to the 70's, he was known as one of the "Big three," as golf became popular all over the world.

Player married his wife in 1957, four years after becoming professional and they had six children which they took on all the golf tournaments, along with a nanny and a tutor.

Gary and his wife Vivien have 21 grandchildren and are still happily married today.

His oldest son Marc, represents his father in all his commercial activities.

When Gary wanted to become a professional golfer his father thought that he was crazy but he got him the clubs anyway. After starting golf, three years later he became a pro.

Player was never afraid of what other people thought and believed that he could accomplish anything.

The black knight was not from a rich family and he had a very difficult time at the age of eight, when his mother passed away, his brother went to war and his father worked on the mines.

His desire to help those who are underprivileged stemmed from his childhood.

He started practicing at six every morning and finished at seven every night and would work hard all day, keeping fit and determined to succeed. Gary stated that, "to become a champion you have to sacrifice a lot of things."

Player does have one regret and that is not spending enough time with his family but he also said that you have to fill your life with love in order to get love and respect in return.


Gary Player

Mr Fitness, The balck Knight and the International Ambassador for golf
Mr Fitness, The balck Knight and the International Ambassador for golf

Gary Player in 1965

Mr sportsmanship, Gary Player
Mr sportsmanship, Gary Player
Gary Player The Legend
Gary Player The Legend

Gary Player "The Black Knight"

Player is a golf legend and is known as one of the worlds greatest golfers of all time.

In 1965 he won the U.S. Open and became the only non - American to win all four majors which is known as a career grand slam.

1966 awarded him with the "Bob Jones" award, the highest honour given by the American golf association for sportsmanship.

1974 placed him into the "World golf hall of fame."

We are aware that he has over 160 tournament wins as they are listed below.

Gary Player is legendary because of his sportsmanship, his values and perfectionism. Not only has he been a golf legend but a humanitarian, businessman and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Wins and Championships

Tour Victories:

• PGA Tour: 24 • Champions Tour: 19 (163 tournament wins worldwide)

Major Championships:

9 • Masters: 1961, 1974, 1978 • U.S. Open: 1965 • British Open: 1959, 1968, 1974 • PGA Championship: 1962, 1972

Awards and Honors:

• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame • Recipient, South African Sportsman of the Century award • PGA Tour money leader, 1961 • Captain, International team, 2003, 2005, 2007 Presidents Cup

The Black Knight
The Black Knight

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Players' company logo
Players' company logo
Gary Player Foundation
Gary Player Foundation

Gary Player The Black Knight

His nickname the "Black Knight," came from his love for wearing black on the golf course.

Gary's company is called Black Knight International and its logo identifies all of his companies.

The architectural firm has built over 325 champion golf courses around the globe and it is considered to be one of the most successful golf architectural firms.

Designed in luxury and renowned for its ecological approach using natural lakes, marshes and sand dunes, these courses have been listed as the top 10 to play.

Gary Player foundation is a non profit foundation which was established in 1983, works to supply educational opportunities for underprivileged children around the world.

Education, medical care, nutrition and athletics, was what Gary Player aimed to achieve for children in small places around Johannesburg. This foundation went global with over $35 million already donated.

The Gary Player Invitational charity tournaments are held four times a year in Europe, China, U.S.A. and South Africa with professional golfers pairing up with celebrities and businessmen.

Player Real Estate designed to enhance luxury resorts in planned communities with a golf experience included, along with the Eco friendly designs in natural surroundings.

Black Knight Enterprises focuses on luxury goods, clothing, event management and publishing, with the Player Magazine highlighting partnerships with Rolex, Callaway, Coca - Cola, SAP, Verizon and many more, giving global awareness and synergies.

Gary Player Academies where Gary shares his unique approach to golf where players can strengthen their swing and learn the mental and physical skills to improve their golf.



Gary Player Country Club Interior

Nedbank golf challenge, Gary Player country club
Nedbank golf challenge, Gary Player country club
Gary Player loves his stud farm
Gary Player loves his stud farm

Gary Player Stud Farm

Along with everything else Player has on the list, he also owns a stud farm which he loves. It is on the list of leading breeders nationally.

Gary bought the farm in 1974 and it is in the Karoo. Player has been known to be a perfectionist and with everything he does, he does well and successfully. The stud farm is no different and his management and staff have the same attitude and positivity that Gary Player has always been known to have.


ESPN "Body Issue"  Gary Player in the nude
ESPN "Body Issue" Gary Player in the nude

Mr Fitness

At the age of 78 Gary Player posed nude for ESPN, "The body issue" where he decided to pose to warn people about obesity.

"People who are my age, they dead." "Many people my age have simply given up on looking after themselves." If I can encourage the youth of today to focus on health and fitness, I will count that as a great victory."

Gary travels seven months in the year, he works his farm, he does golf course design and works in his company on a daily basis. Player says that you need to keep moving and sitting on the couch is a sure way to a short life.


Gary Players Exercise Routine

Gary stays fit by stretching every morning and the rest of his work out depends on where in the world he is. If he is on his ranch in the Karoo, he climbs the mountain which has steps added to it. His wife, Vivien also climbs it slowly, at the age of 76. After he climbs the steps he then goes to the gym.

He never takes an elevator and walks whenever he gets the chance.

Player said that he used to do 1000 sit ups a day and he now does 1200. He does core exercises and whilst lying down on the medicine ball, holds a weight whilst rocking from left to right. Crunches with a 100 pound weight on his chest and sit ups wit his legs up. Player states that core workouts are very important and what encouraged him to be fit was the advice his brother gave him before he went to war; exercise as much as you can to be a sportsman. He said that the advice given to him by his brother was given because he thought he might not return from the war, which he did. Gary continued to exercise and trained hard, today is no different.

Mr Fitness says that he exercises everything from his head to his toes and has done so ever since his brother went away. He also said that he never gets an ounce of pain anywhere on his body, thanks to the healthy lifestyle that he has always led.




Exercise is important, says Gary Player
Exercise is important, says Gary Player
Gary and Vivien Player
Gary and Vivien Player

Gary Player and his Diet

Mr fitness avoids animal fat and is 70 percent vegetarian. His diet consists of plant based foods and each morning starts his day with a vegetable juice.

Should he go out, chicken in small portions is what he will eat but he is happy to be a vegetarian.

Lots of fruit, vegetables, garlic, onions, unsalted nuts, wholewheat bread and a snickers bar every now and again.

Player allows himself one cup of coffee per day and he says that he loves chocolate but everything must be in moderation.

As a rancher he has seen what people do to their cattle to make them fatter and he said that our bodies are built to live to 100 but with the preservatives in the food, we are shortening our lives.

Gary and his wife also live by the belief that medicine is no good and they have never taken any supplements, vitamins or any medication . Many people have died from the medication more so than a disease.

Inspirational Gary Player

We had the privilege of meeting Gary Player at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, where the golfers play on the Gary Player Golf Course. He sat watching everyone play in his country club, where he politely smiled and greeted everyone humbly. He is a genuine person and was only too pleased to give out his autograph and have photo's taken with everyone that asked.

At the age of 78, I can honestly say that he looks fit, healthy and is a role model to everyone. He has recently appeared naked for ESPN and with regular exercise and a healthy diet, Gary Player does not look a day older than 60.

Player is a humanitarian and a true ambassador with a long list of achievements and an inspiration to anyone that wants to achieve a goal.... anything is possible.

A true legend who has dedicated his time and efforts into helping others achieve their goals and at the same time, a committed family man and successful business man.



Gary Player with South African Singer Leon Rautenbach at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Sun City
Gary Player with South African Singer Leon Rautenbach at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Sun City

Player's last Masters

Gary Player Gives some tips

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