Golf champion Ballito trades a successful swing for a simpler life

Seven-time Sunshine Tour golf champion Warren Abery traded his silky swing for a simpler life on the North Shore.

Now co-owner of Ballito-based House of Golf, he has played professionally for nearly 20 years, competing all over the world.

Born and raised in Durban, Abery played his first rounds at the Royal Durban Golf Club, forming a deadly club team with the Sabbatini brothers.

Golf wasn’t always his favorite sport and he didn’t start playing regularly until he was 13 while at Glenwood High School.

“I loved most sports but recognized I wasn’t going to make it far in rugby being on the small side. My parents said I had to focus on one sport and golf seemed like a choice natural,” he said.

With the full support of his parents, who allowed him to practice daily, Abery had a successful start in competitive golf.

As an amateur, he won back-to-back Natal Amateur Championship titles in 1994 and 1995, also winning the South African Amateur Championship in 1995.

The following year, he was selected for the South African team taking part in the historic Eisenhower Cup in the Philippines.

His professional career started the same way, winning tournaments in his second year on the tour.

“Along with 3 other players, I spent a few years traveling across America and Canada trying to get on the PGA Tour.”

Carrying his own bag and driving a station wagon through lesser-known parts of the United States, Abery experienced the less glamorous side of the gentleman’s game.

Back in South Africa however, Abery had his best year ever in 2005, winning the SA PGA Championship, a win he describes as his fondest golf memory.

It earned him his first card on the European Tour and he rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s best, playing at the British Open the following year.

“Playing at Royal Liverpool has been an incredible experience. Playing at a major is obviously a career goal for every golfer and I was delighted to tick that box.

Abery would earn another European card in 2011, by which time he had already started a family and realized a change in his priorities.

With 2 young children at home and a new house under construction in Simbithi, he realized his time as a professional was coming to an end.

He played his last tour event in 2016, ending a distinguished career that saw him break into the world top 200, while winning 2 of 3 ‘triple crown’ tournaments in South Africa – The SA

PGA and SA Masters.

In November, he opened a golf equipment and accessories store in Ballito with partners Graham Wood and Micky Hough.

The North Coast, he says, is a suitable home for him, having already scored a career-high 59 at the Umhlali County Club many moons ago.

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Michael C. Ford