Acres of Diamonds (under your feet)
Even a "Bucket List" tour reminds you of how good it is HERE!
In last week's newsletter Thinus shared the last of my 15 Blogs from the tour to Scotland that Mike Wylie and I shared. Many of you, as many as 200 of you, followed the tour and discovered more about amazing Scotland, her courses, mostly links, her food and her people along with some of their traditions. Aiding in planning and sharing in playing, John and Janellen Young, were my partners from the beginning. My relationship with them started here in South Africa when I responded to a reguest from Louis Oosthuizen's brand manager, Bertu Nel, to "look after" them as they had been so good to Louis and the Nel's in Scotland.
You know me..."it's a pleasure"
About six hosting trips later and we were welcomed into their home at the end of our tour. For all they had done to ensure a great tour, we presented them with a Grant Leversha print that we had framed in St Andrews. On the back were all of our courses and playing partners along with words of thanks. We played with John and Jenellen (he won the rabbit at Royal Troon) and played with their daughters, Jo and Kate. Kate played excellent golf at Kilspindie and Jo partnered with me, making two birdies on her own, at Bothwell Castle. Our other hosts, Justin Hughes, in St Andrews and Kingsbarns, Ronnie Hanna and Scottish rugby legend, Peter Brown, at Muirfield, PGA Professional, Alan Tait at Deer Park near Edinburgh and Ronnie Glendinning at Royal Troon all added to our memory books with stories from their courses and knowledge for play. Teaming up with locals added greatly to the overall experience.
from the great Clubhouses to the great courses to the great moments!
Special Note: we often host special people here on a friends recommendation. If you are keen to share the stories of St Francis Links and the area, we would love to add you to their itinerary.
This brings me to my point. I played Dawn Patrol this morning in the clean, fresh air of St Francis Bay. I flew to JHB on Wednesday and addressed the delegates at the 2017 Golf Summit at Silver Lakes. Attending were people representing all different elements of the golf industry - from tour agents to golf media to managers and representatives from government and SATSA (South African Tourism Services Assoc). Soweto Golf Club was there to add their experience to the tourism bouquet.
My subject, Leadership, Innovation and the Reinvention of Club Management, was well received by all in attendence. The conference afforded me the time to meet new people, as well. I seized the opportunity to market St Francis Links and use our great team as part of my presentation.
In the panel discussion that followed, it also gave me the opportunity to share my feelings on tourism and our growth in the international market. While so many look at Scotland, Ireland and Spain as holiday destinations, we have some pretty darn good "bucket list" opportunities here in our own back yard. We offer great golf and golf experiences with so much more on the side. Here in South Africa we excel in outdoor activities, backed with great transportation (airports and highways), featuring clean air, great food and drink, fabulous destinations and scenery - land and sea, all complimented with helpful smiling people at amazing international rates. Golf is expensive and our weak rand makes it hard for us who live in Rands. But for those we can attract with pounds, euros and dollars in their pockets, our country and especially our region, can and should greatly benefit from their spend and time here.
I was quoted (and tweeted) as saying, "to be accepted, we need to be more accepting" - nationally and internationally. This refers to all who are in our industry. The acres of diamonds are under our feet - here in the St Francis area and throughout SA. The bucket list tours should be coming to SA and not just focused on the big 3.
To overcome the lack of knowledge in the international markets, SATSA and Toursim are creating a public-private partnerships with specific measurable events coming to better expose our golf industry and promote us as a tourism destination.
We can be proud of what we offer here at St Francis Links and St Francis Bay. We have the outdoor bouquet of options that will attract good travelers from everywhere (and we need them to grow). I am proud of our facilities and our team - next bucket list trip - here for your friends!
More to remember!
This was our best year to date in almost every way:
- We finished our 116th home on the estate (57 are permanent residents)
- Four more homes will be underway in the next two weeks
- 10 homes are under construction
- 26 homes are in the planning or application stages
- We are financially sound with great lifestyle choices for the entire family
- Our golf rounds featured golfers from more than 20 different countries - from Wisconsin to New South Wales
- We moved up in the nation ratings to No. 7 in Golf Digest
- The UK rates us No. 6
- The Swedish press rate us No.4
- With our members, No. 1
Don't stop yet! New Events are listed below!
Will be our sponsors for OPEN Wednesday (2nd Wednesday) with meat and added prizes. Invite your friends to enjoy SA’s best with special rates for golf, snacks after the game and great prizes – Hey, Curry Night follows – stay or take away!
Monday Roll-up! Pitch up and play (9 holes or 18 Par-3 from 2pm) let's add you to the What's app group
All day Saturdays-Morning and afternoon fields - the afternoon field will be booked from 12 noon backwards with emphasis on "ready golf" - Prizegiving and Happy Hour at 17h00
Sep 9 Rugby - SA vs OZ (12h05)
Sep 12 ITEC Open Wednesday - Special rates with special prizes, snacks and more
Sep 17-23 The Vodacom Origins of Golf (course closed for play)
Sep 22-24 The Calamari Classic (St Francis Bay GC)
Sep 22-24 Nautical Festival (St Francis Bay and Port)
Sep 23 Rugby - SA vs NZ (9h35)
Sep 29-30 The President's and Links Cups
Sep 30 SA vs OZ (17h05)
ST FRANCIS LINKS “MAJORS” AND “SPECIAL EVENTS” FOR 2017
Jan 2-3 Men’s Member-Member, St Francis Bay wins by .18 of a point! Well done!
Jan 7-8 The Pam Golding Annual, Derek Ryan and Scott Keevy, Champions
Mar 11 Greensomes over 18 holes (NEW) Sandra Marais/Ingvild Stiansen; Mauro Nettl/Yan Coesens
Apr 28-30 Club Championships - Ralph Richardson and Helen Bridges, Champions
May 7 Inter-Estate Challange (St Francis Links)
May 18-19 Woodlands' Dairy Golf Days for HOSPICE R400 000-00 raised for Hospice
May 20 Stulting School Day R280 000-00 raised on the day
May 27 Foursomes over 18 holes (NEW) Margot McGregor and Dr Lynn Slogrove, Champions
Jun 3 Ladies' Invitational Dr Lynn Slogrove and Noeline de Ridder, Champions
Jun 10 Sanlam – Links Qualifier
Jul 2-3 National Junior Order of Merit Wilco Nienaber, Champion (ranked No. 3 in SA)
Jul 20-23 Men’s Invitational Derek Ryan and Pieter Jerling, Champions
Jul 23-25 The Annual "Road Trip" Brian Wessels, Individual and Pards Cup Champion
Aug 6 Sanlam Cancer FINALS at St Francis Links
Aug 8-23 Spring Programme – Course and Clubhouse Closed
Sep 29-Oct 1 Links Cup
October 5 Els for Autism at St Francis Links (finals at Highland Gate)
Nov 11-12 Pam Golding Ladies OPEN Weekend
Dec 2 Ladies' Member-Member
Seasonal packages are now on offer
It's also the time of year for golf travel. We join others in advertising our course countrywide. The are are a couple of subtle differences between what you pay and what you receive in a golf package. We pride ourselves on over-delivering with personal services, additional opportunities, special events, shoot-outs and so much more. We'll supply the braai or what you need to do it yourselves; we'll serve your meals here or recommend the area establishments who will exceed your expectations (and of course, we'll do the booking for you). Why? Because we can and we want to!
Why not sign up for the special events coming up in the future and expand them into a few days of play! Play in the Inter-Estate Challenge, enter the Ernie Els for Autism in June, start planning for the Invitationals - ladies and men; Invite your friends in for the best golf in SA (and beyond).
Every Great shot starts with a SMILE