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St Francis Bay

St Francis Bay - Eastern Cape

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Manager: Justin Roux
Greenkeeper: Gordon Dennett
Club captain: Ken Nieuwenhuizen
Chairman: Brian Lane
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 63.3 out of 100
Conditioning12.8 / 20
Playability13.5 / 20
Aesthetics10.5 / 15
Design Variety9.5 / 15
Shot Values8.0 / 15
Memorability9.0 / 15

Course Summary

Three tees / Par 71

White 5647 metres, CR70.8/123
Blue 5213 metres, CR68.7/122
Red 4930 metres, CR67.3/119
Women’s blue, CR74.3/126
Women’s red, CR72.5/121

Visitor green fee

Affiliated R370
Non-affiliated R470

Course designer

Bob Grimsdell 1975,
Golfscape 1999

Contact

042 294 0467
www.stfrancisgolf.co.za

Previous ranking

90

St Francis Bay is a once-hidden gem which receives greater appreciation from golfers since the opening of the Jack Nicklaus-designed St Francis Links in 2006. The two courses in the village complement each other, and have made this a golfing getaway destination. 

It’s a fun layout yet this is no “holiday course,” even with five par 3s. Visitors are surprised to hear it was once a 9-holer. The course was rebuilt in 1999 by Danie Obermeyer and Phillip Basson from Golfscape with a new routing, although several older holes were retained. Five new holes – 11 to 15 – are on property close to the sea, split from the old nine by a public road. The rest are in the heart of the village, with houses on the perimeter.

With its sandy soil, the course has a strong links feel to it, particularly the bunkering and greens, and indigenous bush lining some fairways has similarities with the Humewood links in PE. Attractive design features have resulted in an interesting variety of holes. The 11th and 13th share a double green. A rare water hazard guards the par-3 eighth.

It can be windy along this coastline during summer, yet St Francis Bay remains playable in difficult conditions.

The original 9-holer was conceived by Maxwell Hulett, brother of Cape St Francis developer Leighton Hulett, and opened in 1975 for private use. The growth of the area in the 1990s, and more permanent residents, made the construction of an 18-holer inevitable. It was built for R1 million by Golfscape. In 2006 the club hosted the SA Country Districts tournament.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

65 by Anton Raubenheimer in 2005

Feature Holes

The 381-metre ninth is a magnificent linksy hole, a dogleg right around coastal bush, that could have come from Ireland or Scotland. From an elevated tee you play to a rumpled fairway. The newer back nine ventures close to the beach, and 12 is a creative short par 4 with a blind approach through the dunes to a hidden green. Two good par 5s at 15 and 18 make up a strong finishing stretch. The 480m 15th is the longest hole adjoining the main road, with a cleverly shaped green, while the 438m dogleg-left 18th is narrow off the tee before widening up to encourage a bold second shot to a long, narrow green.

Practice Facility

Short-game area and warm-up nets close to first tee.

Club Champions

Johan Potas & Janine van der Merwe

Did You Know

1/ Many golfers in St Francis Bay are keen surfers. St Francis Bay is a popular surfing mecca, and featured in the 1966 movie The Endless Summer. Cape St Francis has equally superb waves at Seal Point, and featured in another 2014 movie, The Perfect Wave.

2/ The village and canal system marina at St Francis was developed at the Kromme River mouth in the 1960s/70s by Leighton Hulett. Cape St Francis is a nearby village adjoining the historic Seal Point lighthouse (1878), and Port St Francis has a safe harbour which hosts vessels from the squid industry and recreational boats.

3/ The club hosts the 3-day Calamari Classic in September.

4/ Sunshine Tour player James Kamte was assisted by SFB members and won the club championship three times (1999-2002). His brother Ivan won in 2018.

5/ The Eastern Province Senior Open has been played at St Francis Bay in July for 20 years, with 66 the lowest tournament round by past champions Francois le Roux and Zola Konzani.

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Range
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
An underrated course which is enjoyable and extremely playable.
Sandor Kovacs
06 April 2021

Magnificent course that challenges you even on a rare windless day.

Anzet Schoeman
14 February 2021
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Great layout with a distinctly links feel that makes for an interesting round. If the wind is up it can be challenging. A fantastic vibe in the clubhouse thanks to the friendly staff.
Amy Laird
20 January 2021
The little sibling to St Francis Links has a relaxed atmosphere, and interesting holes make this a course well worth playing. The course was very dry but that adds to the enjoyment of playing a links type layout.
Tara Swart
19 January 2021
A favourite Eastern Cape course, fun to play, with some great holes and a routing that makes for a huge amount of variety. I love the holes that wind through the coastal bush. The fairways are not always as consistent as some other courses in the region, but they work in line with its coastal setting. Greens slow but consistent.
Chris Wood
17 January 2021
These days several coastal (and inland) courses other than Humewood (the genuine article) claim to be a "Links." But if any layout deserves that classification it is St Francis Bay. This unpretentious and well-conditioned layout has several holes straight out of the links playbook. There's none of the dramatic holes you find at St Francis Links, yet the fairways undulate in a linksy fashion, and the terrain has that seaside look to it. In fact, the 12th green is so close to the ocean that the club is concerned for its future. You can also run the ball into greens, allowing you a greater variety of shots.
Thomas Souness
30 October 2020
One of the special hidden gems we have in South Africa. A linksy course which exudes character and charm. On a breezy day it's a challenge, yet like the Humewood links in PE it is eminently playable. Some very good holes, and plenty of variety. The greens are modern designs, with sensible slopes, although the short 17th is treacherous! The 15th is one of the best par 5s in the Eastern Cape. You don't want to be hitting a long club into that splendidly designed green. I like the way the course wanders through the St Francis village, and there's a friendly vibe in the clubhouse which can keep you at the 19th far longer than you intended..
Stuart McLean
14 September 2020
An underrated course and a treat to play. A challenging and varied layout. Several blind shots but it rewards good golf. Greens well looked after and easy to putt on.
Sandor Kovacs
28 April 2020
A fun course, with good greens all year round, and a friendly club. Layout short but interesting, the wind usually adding the difficulty factor. Very playable for the average golfer.
Ivan Palframan
20 February 2020
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