Length of Course: Men 5532 metres Ladies 4896 metres
Type of Course: Coastal links
Visitors: Welcome any day
Club Professional: Vaughn Tucker
Practice Facilities: Putting and chipping green
Hire Facilities: Drive carts, rental sets available
Catering: Bar, halfway house, conference facilities
Location: Eerste Rivier area in the Eastern Cape
General Manager: Vaughn Tucker
Postal: P.O.Box 46, Oubosrand, 6303
Phone: 042 285 0321
Fax: 042 285 0302
A SECRET NO LONGER
‘Fynbos is the best kept secret in South Africa.’ This quote by Gary Player and a recommendation by Jeff Clause of the St Francis Links Golf Estate convinced me to visit this (up until now) little-known 9-hole golf course situated between Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth.
With the Tsitsikamma Mountains as a backdrop, the estate overlooks spectacular rocky inlets, breathtaking coves and seaside cliffs. This canvas creates a wonderful envelope for the golf holes and the first impression is that you will be playing a links layout. Indeed this is so and it is no wonder that three of South Africa’s professionals in each of their fields combined to transform the former country course known as Dirk Fourie into what is destined to be regarded as one of South Africa’s top 9-hole golfing venues.
Mark Muller, renowned golf course architect in tandem with John Bland and Mark Wiltshire have succeeded in creating a spectacular layout that is fair and enjoyable to any golfer whatever his or her standards are. Yet it is a course challenging enough to compete with any 18-hole comparisons in similar locations.
Gould’s Special Note
At the time of writing, application to build two new holes has been submitted.
The charm and quality of the centrally located clubhouse is as surprising in its standards as that of the golf course and a bonus is that there are 7 delightful rooms to let above the clubhouse facilities, for those wanting to stay over. Without doubt, many will want to stay for a while (or invest in the more permanent options available throughout this 195 hectare estate) as, apart from golf, this seaside location offers rock angling, deep sea fishing, nature and mountain bike trails. The club is close to the entrance to the Baviaanskloof Mountain Reserve Wilderness Conservancy.
The course is characterised by well-defined tee boxes, tiered landing areas and bunkers guarding spacious paspalum grass greens, ideal for coastal conditions. Vaughn Tucker who, with his wife Di, runs the club, describes the feature hole.
‘The third hole is a great test for any player, including PGA Tour Player Louis Oosthuizen who started his golf here. Stroke 1 on a Par 5 is not common but you have to position your drive on the fairway between two large bunkers to then carry the wetland to a raised green. Any miss-hit or fade will be swallowed up by the fynbos. It is better to play it as a 3-shot hole and collect your three points with an accurate approach to a dome-shaped green. Breathtaking Langkloof Mountains form the backdrop and from the green the entire course and clubhouse with the sea in the background make this a special place. Fish eagles are common above this green with their distinct African call.’
From Cape Town, take the N2 and approximately 100 km past Plettenberg Bay, turn off at the Eersterivier/ Kareedouw exit, then right at the Eersterivier sign. Travel for 8 km along the dirt road to the sea, following the Fynbos signs from the Oudebosch Farm Stall. 125 km from Port Elizabeth with a Fynbos sign on the N2 at the Eersterivier/Kareedouw exit.