In the mid 1970s, developer Leighton Hulett transformed part of the Sea Vista area – situated to the south of where the River Kromme reaches the ocean – into a 9-hole course designed by legendary golf architect Bob Grimsdell. Danie Obermeyer subsequently expanded the layout to its current 18-hole configuration in 1999, providing holiday golf of a very high standard.
The links-like fairways of the course are laid out on gently undulating, sandy-soiled terrain, and dense patches of coastal fynbos bound many of them. Greens are, in the main, lightly bunkered and relatively small in size. Four of the holes – the short par four 11th to the par five 15th – are routed close to the coast on a separate little patch of ground.
Well known for its hospitality, the club has, since 1998, been organising an annual competition for amateur golfers every September called the “Calamari Classic” and this three day event now attracts an entry of more than 250 men and women from all over the country.
An ongoing development program, which has recently resulted in the repositioning of two greens at the 3rd and 17th holes, ensures that golfers will continue to return here to enjoy the course for years to come.
Caroline Kettlewell, who was part of the committee at the time when St Francis Bay was extended from 9 to 18 holes, kindly contributed the following:
It had long been the desire of the members at the time to extend the course and when in the early nineties the club was made custodian of public open space adjoining the course to be used for the purpose of extending the course but for no other purpose with a proviso that the ground may never be sold, the wheels were set in motion to make the dream a reality.
To cut a long story short, the committee sought the advice and expertise of Danie Obermeyer who, if I remember correctly, was part of Golfscape, a company in George specialising in golf course design.
Danie did the original design layout with particular reference to the greens. The club could not afford to employ a golf course construction company and so with funds supplied by members who bought into the development by way of life memberships, the club developed the new layout over approximately two years and finally opened as an 18-hole course on 22 December 1999. The original layout – due to the land constraints – had five par threes and five par fives with a par of 72. Later the 2nd hole was converted to a par 4 and the par is now 71.
We are still justly proud of the fact that we did the development ourselves without borrowing a cent from any financial institutions. I was the club treasurer at the time.