A Royal week ahead

Jeff ClauseSanta Says


Share and Enjoy !

Where the rescue club stopped Ernie!

Back in 2004, Ernie found himself in a playoff for the Open Championship at Royal Troon with the “nomad” golfer, Todd Hamilton. Hamilton was known in Japan and Asia, however, the American was hardly a household name when he donned his rescue club around the greens for his approaches. One might say that it was the year that the rescue stopped Ernie in his quest for a fourth Open Championship.

Ernie Els
Ernie’s 1st Gold Medal in 2002 and his second in 2012.

Ernie did win his first Open Championship at Muirfield in 2002 and then went on to win another in dramatic fashion over Adam Scott in 2012. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that it was Graeme Whale and I who really started that charge with Ernie on the last nine as most of the 60 odd professionals who were here for my annual “Road Trip” were drifting away from the coverage when I yelled, “who’s going to help us bring Ernie home”. From that moment on we cheered every shot Ernie played and unfortunately for Scottie, cheered his every missed putt. 

The Open Championship is really the world championship of golf as it produces the greatest international field for it’s annual rotation of great links courses. For me, the most memorable will always be Turnberry in 1977 when Tom Watson went 65-65 on the sun-drenched fairways to defeat Jack Nicklaus who shot 65-66! 

This week, the South African’s are there in force with Ernie leading the way! He will remain my sentimental favorite while my betting hat is on for Louis and Gracie! They will be joined by Charl, Georgie, Brandon, Zander and Richard. 

Royal Trophy
The famous “Postage stamp” and the Claret Jug

Royal Troon, when the prevailing winds blow, will see the back nine separate the men for the boys as most of the demanding holes coming in, will be against the wind! 

Join us all weekend at the Club as we share the Open Championship in HD in the bar and in HD on the deck with our big screen. 


Our 3rd Nicklaus Champion of Champions Qualifier!

Sunday, July 17 (the OPEN Championship) 

Saturday, July 30 (The PGA Championship) 
Saturday, September 24 (The TOUR Championships)

The Top FOUR point-getters from their best THREE qualifiers will represent St Francis Links at Serengeti!

Entry Fee: R75 per event

Oakley X-OVER brought out our sporting best!

For the 3rd consecutive year, St Francis Links played host to the Oakley sponsored X-Over where some 17 sportsmen representing cycling, surfing, golf, MTB, running, Moto and even MMA (mixed martial arts). Ruan de Smit certainly knew his way around the Links as  PGA Tour golfer – but when he got off the fairways and on the the mountain bike, he lost all advantage! Then, after the bike, the surf board required another set of skill. The best all-rounder in the field was Butch James; the former Bok is pretty good at all three. 

Before the guys finished, we featured a little shoot-out to the practice green. John Smit, Lance Izaaks, Gareth (Soldier Boy) and Greg Minaar all hit it close. But the world MTB champion, Greg Minaar was the eventual winner. Tour professional, Ruan DeSmidt fired a three-under par, 29 on the course that featured 4 par-3’s and 5 par-4’s. 

July 121sm
The Oakley X-OVER can be seen in the near future on Super Sport. We’ll give you all a heads-up!


25 years (by choice)!

Yes, on September 1st, I will start my second quarter century in South Africa. It has been an amazing journey, looking after members and guests at Fancourt, Pezula and here at St Francis Links. I can’t leave out the 14 months at Simola where Ola Grinaker’s dream was shattered by 2 successive floods in November 1996. I was to start on Feb 1, 1997 with the first Jack Nicklaus course. It was only 8 years later that Simola opened. By then we were putting 23 000 rounds through Pezula. 

Here, at St Francis Links, we have watched this amazing estate and championship course come through hard times to good times as the recession drastically affected our early growth. Now, homes are being built at a good rate, families are growing up with great amenities and our course is regarded as one of the best on the continent. Liezl and I are loving the growth and all of the new homes that come with it. Success breeds success.

This next week, more than 50 PGA members and our favorite local Tour Players, Titch, Wallie and Lyle, will join me for three days of golf, canal cruises, camaraderie, great food and drink. WBHO and Langley Perrins (Global Golf) have been on board for years. This year, in honor of my 25 years, Hein Koegelenberg and Leopard’s Leap wines have added to the event with there best white and red. Thanks to all who have made these 25 years so special! 

Santa1176203 1415906138628710 428387374 n
                                                                                   My former self with Ben Fouchee and Vaughn Tucker – circa 1992



Proudly Sponsored – ITEC SOLUTIONS 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!

March (every Tuesday) – 10am Coffee Break for our lady members
July 15-17: The 10th Annual Men’s Invitational
July 17-20: The 25th Anniversary Pro-Pro Road T

July 30: Inter-Estate Challenge HERE – Shotgun at 11:00 (84 players)

August 9-23: Club and Course CLOSED (please scroll down) 



Note the NEW Dates for 2016:

April 9: 1st Qualifier for the Nicklaus Champion of Champions
April 23-24: Club Championships, Sean Botha and Janine VD Merwe, repeat Champions
May 29: Interestate Challenge at Mossel Bay (4th from 7) 
June 4: Ladies 10th Annual Invitational – Helen Bridges and Jean Fynn, Champions 
June 18: 2nd Qualifier for the Nicklaus Champion of Champions
July 9: Sanlam Cancer Challenge – SFL Qualifier
June 26: Inter- Estate Challenge at Oubaai
July 15-17: Men’s Invitational – Special NEW Friday event and Shoot-out

Proud Sponsors of the Ladies OPEN Weekend and the ANNUAL

July 17: 3rd Qualifier for the Nicklaus Champion of Champions
July 30: 4th Qualifier for the Nicklaus Champion of Champions
July 31: Inter-Estate Challenge at St Francis Links 
August 6: Ladies’ Invitational
August 6: 5th Qualifier for the Nicklaus Champion of Champions
August 8-23: Spring Programme – Course and Clubhouse Closed
August 21: Sanlam Cancer Challenge FINALS
August 21: Inter-Estate Challenge Simola
September 24: Final Qualifier for the Nicklaus Champion of Champions 
September 25: Inter-Estate Challenge at Goose Valley
September 30, October 1-2: Links Cup
October 30: Inter-Estate Challenge at Pezula
October 30-November 6: Vodacom Origins of Golf FINALS (Sunshine Tour – course Closed)
November 19-20: Pam Golding Ladies OPEN Weekend
November 25-27: Nicklaus Champion of Champions (Serengeti)
November 27: Inter-Estate Challenge FINALS at Pinnacle Point

December 9-11 – 10th Year Anniversary Activities (watch this space)

COURSE and CLUB Closed – August 9-23

When love and hate collide
I know the heading of my article sounds like a song, and maybe it was written for Course Superintendents as they start their Spring treatments on the course every year, the time of the year when course superintendent punch holes in their well-manicured greens that resembles billiard tables, also the time of the year when members “love to hate” the poor guy maintaining the greens, the Course “Sup” .Why would any person in their right mind want to mess up a perfect green?
I hope to answer some of these questions from a Superintendents point of view.
Why do we hollowtine?
It is hard to believe that hollowtining helps you keep your greens perfect, but this is true. The main reasons why we do hollowtining will be named and highlighted in this article.
Thatch removal is a key reason why greens and fairways for that matter gets hollow tined, the definition of thatch can be described as, “Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves and roots which accumulates between the layer of actively-growing grass and the soil underneath. Thatch is a normal component of an actively growing turf grass. As long as the thatch is not too thick, it can increase the resilience of the turf to heavy traffic. Thatch develops more readily on high-maintenance lawns than on low-maintenance lawns.” The definition sums up why it is important to remove thatch on greens.
Compaction relief, with this I mean compaction caused due to traffic moving over the green on a daily basis, whether it is the machines cutting the grass or golfers enjoying a nice round of golf .Imagine walking in a veld and ahead of you are animal paths heading in all directions, have you ever noticed that nothing grows where all the traffic is focused on? This is all due to compaction and outside stresses that are not advantageous to normal plant growth, take the traffic out of the veld and the weeds will start growing on these compacted areas and water will struggle to infiltrate the soil. Let me explain how hollowtining helps with compaction relief. A hole gets punched into the greens surface and a core extracted (or not in the case of solid tines) , immediately the tine breaks the hard crust under the surface and depending on the severity of the compaction the Superintendent can set the depth of tining accordingly. Now for the rest of this article I will focus on “Hollowtining” where we extract a core from the actual green and fill the hole with sand to ensure a smooth putting surface. By filling the hole with new sand it creates a new growing medium for the roots to move into, and the more roots you have, the stronger the plant, and the stronger the plant, the less it will suffer under the stresses of heat and disease.
The open holes on the greens give the Superintendent the perfect opportunity to get all the needed soil amendments down to ensure optimum plant growth. The open holes also promotes air movement within the soil, and like all living things, the most important components to stay alive are air, water, food and temperature. I think I have touched on most of these key components now, except water. Due to the compaction relief, water now drains freely through the soil profile where the plant can absorb the water through its roots and also due to the water movement, a lot of unwanted salts can get washed out of the soil that will usually be harmful to the plant.
The time of the year when most clubs do their tining will be dependent on weather, golf days and scheduled tournaments, but most courses do it between September and November and some courses even do it twice a year, with this I mean that they do it again in March or April. This seems a lot, but the only reason most clubs don’t do it twice a year is because of budget constraints and loss of income during and after the hollowtining.
Now you can take this information and apply this to your lawn at home, trust me, you will see some amazing results. There are contractors that specialize in hollow tining and scarifying of lawns. Ask your course Superintendent for some advice; he might just be able to put you in contact with contractors like this.
This is in short why we hollowtine and how we can keep giving you great greens surfaces for most of the year. Next time you see your Course Superintendent, have a chat with him and ask him more about the process, because the more we all know the better, and remember this “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind to get the best results”.
Greetings from St Francis Links where we hope to make a first impression a lasting impression.
Charl Blaauw.


2016 International Events


US Masters – Augusta National, Georgia – April 7-10 – Danny Willett, Champion
US Open – Oakmont CC, Oakmont, Pennsylvania – June 16-19
Open Championship – Royal Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland – July 14-17
US PGA – Baltusrol (Lower Course), Springfield, New Jersey – July 28-31
The Ryder Cup – Hazeltine, Minnesota – September 30 to October 2

I think this will be an awesome read!

Dale Hayes says he has ticked another “Bucket List” wish off!
He wrote…

Dale Hayes


Every Great shot starts with a SMILE santa


The St Francis Links Team

Share and Enjoy !