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
Bob Grimsdell 1975,
042 294 0467
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.
65 by Anton Raubenheimer in 2005
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.
Short-game area and warm-up nets close to first tee.
Johan Potas & Janine van der Merwe
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.
Magnificent course that challenges you even on a rare windless day.
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