Published by : Stuart McLean - 26 April 2023

Former Sunshine Tour commissioner Arnold Mentz has emerged from retirement to once again involve himself in the golf industry.

On January 1 this year the long-serving PGA club professional was appointed Golf manager at the Wild Coast Sun, replacing Benjamin Leonard who moved to the Middle East.

Mentz, who became a teaching professional in his late 40s, had returned to the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast after retiring as club pro at Stellenbosch GC at the end of 2010.

“Over the last 12 years I had spent my time coaching at Port Shepstone Country Club and Wild Coast Sun, helping out with golf development, and pursuing my passion for fishing,” said Mentz. “Now I’m enjoying my new position, overseeing improvements to the playability of the golf course and its conditioning, and standing in for Fred Beaver in the pro shop while he recovered from his illness and operation. Fred’s right leg was amputated, but he has a prosthesis which he calls “Speedy” and he comes into the shop most days of the week. He’s been the club pro here for 40 years.

Arnold Mentz is Golf manager at Wild Coast Sun.

“If the Covid pandemic hadn’t struck in 2020 my wife and I would likely be living in the United States with my son. We stayed put in South Africa during lockdown, and then our efforts to travel were blocked by Covid regulations. So we decided not to emigrate.”

Mentz has quickly made an impact at the Wild Coast Sun, a former Top 10 course (from 1998 to 2012) which has slipped in the rankings to No 36. With assistance from Beaver and consultant Gary Barker the paspalum greens are looking healthy and putting better than they have in recent years while the fairways again have excellent coverage after being generously fertilised. Much of the broadleaf and foreign grasses in the fairways has been eradicated through spraying with a herbicide.

Arnold Mentz and winner Mark McNulty at the 1998 Vodacom Players Championship at Killarney.

Mentz was the club professional at Southbroom from 1991 through 1995 before being asked by chairman Johann Rupert to join the board of directors of the PGA Tour of Southern Africa, which was undergoing significant restructuring. In his previous career before embarking on life as a club pro, Mentz had worked for the Department of Trade & Industry, serving as economic secretary at the RSA embassy in Washington, and trade counsellor and consultant in Buenos Aires and Istanbul.

In November 1996 he took over as commissioner of the Sunshine Tour from Brent Chalmers and led the tour out of financial and operational difficulties to a position of strength among other world tours. He was in the post for almost three years before resigning and being replaced by Louis Martin.

Mentz then became executive director of the new SA Golf Development Board, and a founder and trustee of the Ernie Els Foundation.

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