The Open Championship and The Men's Invitational
This week the top PGA Professionals will be teeing it up in the 147th Open Championship at Car-NASTY (Carnoustie) for what will be an amazing display of links golf. For those of you who kept the TV control moving between the tennis, the World Cup final and the European tour golf played at Gullane in Scotland, on Sunday last, your best performance by a South African DID come on grass - in fact, two South Africans performed very well on grass. Unfortunately, the grass on Centre Court didn't bring the right bounces for Kevin Anderson; the best tennis was played in the semi-finals where Anderson's' marathon match with John Isner left him lifeless against Novak Djokovik. Justin Harding, the Sunshine Tour's top player won in the first tournament he played in Asia, The Indonesia Open! Brandon Stone also won on grass, very brown grass, at Gullane where he had a closing putt for 59. His four-shot win got him back in the Open Championship this week.
Stellenbosch Pro, Justin Harding is HOT and Brandon Stone had a putt for history!
The Open Championship - Carnoustie
Back when I had a great golfing "future ahead of me", I played Carnoustie, two times on two different trips. The first was in 1985 and the second was in 2005. On both occasions the course played fast but it was green. This year's event will be different - its going to be vary fast - Tigger was quoted as saying, "the fairways were faster than the greens", and the fairwarys are properly brownd out! . Open Championship courses have yielded some very low scores where the breezes were absent. Both trips for me were played under benign conditions and it still provided all the challenge I needed. The closing holes 16, 17 and 18 were most memorable for me and they have provided some great drama in the Open Championships. I think we will witness some huge drives like the one Rickie Fowler his at Gullane on the 10th - 458 yards (watch)
Dale Hayes posted the SS TV times in his weekly mail (always worth a good read on Mondays) - if you thought last weekend was for couch potatoes, brace yourself!
I think Gracie will leads the South Africans after spending the last month in SA with family and friends. 11 other South Africans join him this year!
My picks include Gracie, then Rickie, DJ and JT from the USA, Tommy and Justin Rose from England and Rors from NORN Iron (Northern Ireland). Turn up the fans!
The 13th Men's Invitational
My first real experience in hosting the Club's main men's event for the year, came in the early days as a PGA Apprentice at the renowned Houston CC where one of my mentors, Charlie Epps, had a way of turning the the ordinary into the extraordinary. The Invitational, as it was known, attracted members and their best friends from all over the United States. It had been running more than 60 years when I was involved. Every year, the entire field was filled within hours of being announced! We played a morning shotgun for 120 golfers and then an afternoon shotgun for 120 more! It was amazing. Charlie came up with a plan to salute the Roaring 20's (Gatsby and gangsters). The players wore plus fours and we carried the guns (it really kept play moving).
The HCC Invitational complete with Plus-4's; The golf team kept it under control
Our Men's Invitational is growing by the year and if you haven't entered yet, shame on you! There are no dress requirements for this event, but when you combine local golf with the Open Championship, it should improve everyone's game (at least their attitudes). Call in to enter and enjoy a very special weekend of golf at YOUR St Francis Links. The fun starts on Friday - come to play and watch!
Links Majors and Special Events for 2018
Jan 2-3 The Pam Golding Annual (St Francis Bay wins – the overall is tied 6 games each)
Jan 5-6 Men’s Member/Member Partnership, Chris and Jandré Lessing, Champions
Jan 20 Windhoek Lager International Pairs (3rd Qualifying), Percy Owen and Norman Dyer
Jan 27-28 EP Champs (course closed) Altin VD Merwe, Strokeplay Medalist (74-68=142)
Feb 3-4 EP Champs (semi-finals and finals) Naldo Claassens, Champion; Hugo Maritz, Plate Winner
Feb 14 Couples/Mixed Golf – Valentine’s Dinner Ronnie and Sally Nienaber, best members
Mar 10 Greensomes over 18 holes Pete Maskew and John Wilson, Champions on 39pts
Apr 22-26 National Senior Inter-Provincials Central Gauteng, Senior Champions; Southern Cape, Super-Senior Champions
May 5-6 Club Championships, Lynn Slogrove and Brent Vos, Champions
May 13-16 Senior Women’s Nationals (SFL and SFBGC) , Free State wins the team title, Maggie Minnie (Boland), gross champion.
May 18-20 St Francis Bridge Invitational Everyone was a winner!
May 20 Nomads Monthly Game (11am Shotgun) 66 in the field
May 24-25 Woodland’s Golf Days 96 players on Thursday and 112 on Friday! HOSPICE wins
May 26 Foursomes over 18 holes Johann Spangenberg and Tom Grimsley; Lynn Slogrove and Margot McGregor
June 2 Ladies’ Invitational, Sandra Marais and Sonette Korff, Champions
June 16 Quarterly Couples/Mixed – US Open - re-scheduled
June 17 Father’s Day Golf and Lunch
June 21 EP Seniors
June 25-26 Nomads Coastal NOoM, Barend Botha over Aiden Senger, playoff 143 gross
July 7 The Inaugural Muirfield Day (foursomes and four balls) everyone was a winner!
July 20-22 Men’s Invitational
Aug 20 to
Sept 4 Spring Programme (Club Closed) FINAL DATES - PLEASE TAKE NOTE
Sep 23-29 Vodacom Origins of Golf (regional Finals) NEW
Sep 28-29 formerly Links Cup / Ryder Cup (Paris) (new date TBA)
Oct 6 Quarterly Couples/Mixed Golf
Nov Pam Golding Ladies’ Open Weekend (date – TBD)
Dec 1 Ladies’ Member- Member Partnership
Dec 8 Par-3 Championships
Dec 14-15 Pam Golding Annual (SFBGC host)
Dec 17 Kromme Trust Amazing Race
Dec 20 Food and Wine Festival
Dec 22 Year-end Couples/Mixed – Pro Shop Sale
Jan 3-4 Men’s Member-Member Partnership
More to Come!
Itec are 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"
Monday Men's Book Club - 5pm in Jack's Bar (no reading required)
Ladies' Tea (and Coffee) - Every Tuesday at 10am on the Veranda
20-22 July The Men's Invitational
8 August ITEC Open Wednesday
Every Great shot starts with a SMILE!
Santa and the Links TEAM