Just the Beginning for the Kellers…but we’ll miss you!
Why did I come here 7 years ago?
I knew that working with Jeff Clause and at St Francis Links will be the steppingstone my career needed, I did not expect to fall in love with the people and the area.
Our family received so much more than we bargained for. Little Thinus (9) was two, and still in diapers when we moved here in April 2015. Little Hayley (6) was made here, she is a piece of St Francis Links I will always have with me, a constant reminder of our wonderful time here.
We moved from Pretoria where we stayed 5 years after getting married, before that it was New York and Palm Beach Gardens.
Life on the Estate
After living in busy cities, I needed a change, a place to hide and get away from it all. We moved here and there was only 1 house on the street, we were surrounded by Fynbos. Heaven. Now I live in a busy street with building sites all around, it is so nice to be part of the growth and success of the links. This is the result of confidence people have when they buy, build and choose to live here. Back in 2015, a Wednesday and Saturday field maxed at 30 players, this is not the case anymore and it is positive. My kids get on their bikes, shout: “see you later Dad “and off they go, only to return when it gets dark.
My favourite hole: Number 17, St Francis Bay. I have never played a golf hole that gave me such a feeling of hope and excitement. I am lucky enough to have had 2 Holes in One here, with special people. My first was with Charl, Yan and Hein… to win the match. My second was with Jeff, both times with a 7 iron. Both came during alcohol bans 😊.
My favourite memory: Mowing the golf course during lockdown level 5. With 20 minutes of training, I was let loose on the course. The satisfaction of cutting grass, and taking care of this course is a feeling I struggle to explain.
The Staff/ The Team
The membership is lucky to have such hard-working and smart teams – Exco, what a special group of people. They are all different and together they make the best team I have ever worked with. To make members happy you need happy staff. Jeff is excellent at creating an environment where this is possible. Members, remember, if you treat the staff well, they will treat you well in return.
Thank you to every department for your teamwork throughout the 7 years, you made the working environment easy.
To my golf team. Thank you for your dedication and hard work. You are part of my success, without you I can not be this good. Never forget that hard work gets rewarded. I received awards, but I have always thought of them as our awards.
I am going to miss you. Thank you for treating me well and with respect. I have formed relationships here that are better than I have with my own family. I guess this makes some of your family. I am going to miss our golf lessons, I do enjoy helping others improve. The swing does not have to be complicated. Focus on the basics and you will be better.
I want personal growth. My day-to-day responsibilities became easy, I was comfortable… too comfortable. 3 months ago I changed my eating habits and this helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I started with self-development and it changed the way I viewed myself and my future, planning for retirement.
I look forward to leading my own team, making difficult decisions and planning the future of a golf club. This is why I came to St Francis Links, to learn, grow and move on.
The Future Part 2- The Links
Will I come back? YES
I am leaving here in a way that keeps the front door open. When the time is right I can consider coming back – When I come back I will be better. However. I do not want to return when Jeff retires. No person can do what Jeff does. Someone will try but that person will not be me. I will come at a later stage.
Em, Thank you for your support. Not once has she complained about the hours I spend at work. When I say I need to work she supports me. She understands. The old saying goes: “Behind every successful man…”
To my Kids, thank you for your unconditional love and also your understanding. It really helps that I come home and go to work Happy. We are moving to JHB for a better future and I will make sure it is worth the trouble and uncertainty. I love you all.
To end off
Jeff, you are my mentor and friend. I am so lucky to have spent years with you, personally and professionally. I have learned from you more than I realize at this stage. One time Liezl was upset with me and she said: “ You are just like Jeff”. My reply was: “Thank you for the compliment.” I meant it. Liezl, we challenged each other and I am thankful for it, you pushed me to become better! I have also learned more from you than I realize. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family over the past 7 years. I love you both.
I am ready to leave here to become one of the top leaders in this industry. I am still on my path to success and the timing is right for me and my family. I am glad to inform everyone that I am HAPPY, what more can anyone want.
A testimonial to the teaching professional!
When Janet and I arrived at St Francis Links in January of this year, I had absolutely no idea how difficult the course could play. I had come from a parklands course in Australia where you were not always punished for slicing the ball off the tee box. And ……… I had a terrible slice that was really exacerbated when hitting into the wind (yes, it sometimes blows here). For a while, I thought that there would never be enough replacement balls in the pro shop.
I must confess that after about 8 weeks of golf and hitting into sometimes stupid amounts of wind, I became pretty despondent and had serious misgivings about playing golf. I started to look at fishing rods and tackle thinking that In would be a much happier chap if I just went down to Cape St Francis and attempted to see if I could get fish to evade my attempts to catch them.
No amount of range practice would correct the slice and the longer the iron and all of the woods seemed like they were possessed with an evil slice spirit that was determined to drive me mad. It was then that I asked Thinus for help and booked a couple of lessons. My request was simple – please help me fix my slice before I end up in an asylum.
And so it was that TK set about the arduous task of correcting everything wrong with my swing. Years of bad habits and coming outside / in were ingrained and everything Thinus was telling me seemed totally alien and contrary to what I thought I should be doing. I went to TK asking that he help straighten me up and to hit more fairways and I was expecting to grab the driver out and get on with it. Silly me…..
First, we worked on the grip (it was too strong). Then we worked on alignment (apparently it helps to send the ball towards the intended target). Then we worked on ball position, feet, shoulders, takeaway, swing path, head position and follow through. Of course, all of this just put a million swing thoughts in my head and my golf went back even further. Prior to commencing the lessons, I had shot an 87 and then after starting the lessons I went around regularly around 110 shots. As I said, I was slowly going insane.
Despite his best efforts, TK could not get me to comprehend the need for discipline in the swing path. Come over the top or outside in and you will slice it was the mantra. Those who frequent the range know that I am one of its most regular visitors and of course, practice makes perfect (unless you slice it as I do). Then after about 5 lessons, TK suggested that I do something radical and face front onto the range and then hit the club from behind my body in an attempt to hit it straight. It was a radical attempt to get me to understand what the right swing path felt like. Long story, short – it worked and I finally clicked as to what it was I was supposed to be doing.
Only then did I begin to hit the ball straighter and straighter. Many more hours on the range trying to get the muscle memory to accept the new swing. With practice and confidence in the set-up, a lot of the elements of the swing became second nature and now I really only have two swing thoughts. I am no longer afraid to take the driver or the long irons out of the bag and also feel that I am ok hitting into the wind, safe in the knowledge that my swing will reduce the side spin that caused so my slice. The days of hours long-range practice and blisters finally seemed behind me.
Last Monday, I had the very good fortune to play 9 holes with Jeff and Thinus. We went off the Blues and had a wonderful time. I found every fairway, pared 4 holes, birdied the 13th and ended up with a 41 off the stick. The most pleasing part of the afternoon was when I drove off the 15th tee, and I hit the ball with a slight draw. The happy look on TK’s face as the ball landed on the fairway with a draw said it all. We had changed the swing!!!!
I am sure that I will still continue to slice the ball from time to time and that it will annoy me a lot. At least I now know why it happens and how to correct it for the next drive. I could not have done it without the patience, guidance, and encouragement from Thinus and I will be forever grateful. I wish him all the best for the future and hope that his next “basket case” student is a little easier to fix.
Nico Malan’s Metric Farewell was a Family Affair
For two days prior to the big night, Moms and Dads were busy dressing up the Links from the entrance and throughout. The rain managed to hold off until all the special guests were inside. It was all capped off when the balloons fell from the ceiling over the dance floor in the Lighthouse restaurant.
This Week’s Golf Results
22 June – Easy Life Kitchens – Gary DeBruin and Vlam Michau
24 June – Selective Lighting / The Fireworks – Neil Mulder and Micah Van Eyssen
25 June – TK TK TK salute – Kwikelec – Graham Botha, Dirk Groeneveld, Archie Bell and Kevin McNaughton
29 June – Pam Golding / SuperSpar – Alliance
15 – 17 July Men’s Invitational sponsored by
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Don’t miss out on special events
Thank you all for caring about your course – #leading the way! Adopt a hole (AAH) works.
The 2021 Calendar and results