Gary Player – The Black Knight of South Africa

Gary Player is a professional golfer from South Africa. He is known as one of the greatest players ever. On his career, he has won 165 tournaments around the world and became the only non-America to achieve the Career Grand Slam.


Player was born in 1935 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His mother died when he was 8. His father, who was a gold miner, managed to buy him a set of clubs to play golf. He soon loved golf, and at the age of 17, he turned into a pro.

Married to Vivienne Verwey, Gary Player has a big family with 6 children, 22 grandchild, and 1 great-grandchild.

The player is also known as a golf course architect with over 325 design projects and credited for 36 golf books.

Beside golf career, Gary owns some businesses. Interestingly, he is a supporter of Arsenal and Ranger FC from Scotland.

Professional Career

Gary Player is a successful golfer. Together with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, he is one of “Big Three” in the flourishing era of golf from the 1950s to 1970s. With the winning the 1965 US Open at his twenty-nine age, he received the “career Grand Slam,” which is given to golfer that won all for major championships in golf in the US.

Player was successful in five continents. In total, he won 165 tournaments. He holds the most winnings in South African Open with 13 victories and Australian Open with 7 victories. He also won several times in the British Open in 30 years.

Legends of Golf in Savannah, GA April 19, 2010

Other activities

In addition to a pro golfer, Gary Player is also known as a businessman, golf course architect. Black Knight International, owned by his son Marc, represents him in all businesses. It includes Gary Player Design, The Player Foundation, Player Real Estate, and commercial activities related.

Gary and his Player Design have conducted 325 golf course projects in five continents. In 2016, Gary Player Design was chosen for golf competition of Summer Olympics. He is a co-author of 36 books on golf.

The Player Foundation provides education for disadvantaged children around the world. From its establishment in 1983, it has donated over 60 million dollars to charities and supports educational opportunities to children all around the world.

Legends of Golf in Savannah, GA April 19, 2010


Gary Player received the Bob Jones Award, the highest award of the US in golf. For what he had achieved in his career, his name was added into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.

In 2000, Gary was listed in the greatest golfers of all time by Golf Digest. Within that year, he was “Sportsman of the century” in South Africa.

In 2012, Gary Player was awarded the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award and became the first foreign person to receive this.


Gary Player was not only an excellent golfer but also a dedicated contributor to many fields. Though there is some controversy, he, together with his career and contributions is admirable.


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