St Francis Links - Eastern Cape - South Africa

St Francis Links,
1 Jack Nicklaus Drive,
St Francis Bay 6312,
Eastern Cape,
South Africa


  • +27 (0) 42 200 4500

  • Jeff Clause

  • Jack Nicklaus

  • Not known

“True Links,” the excellent George Peper and Malcolm Campbell book that was first published in 2010, lists only 246 links golf courses worldwide and it features only one South African course, Humewood, a fine old layout established by Colonel Stafford Vere Hotchkin back in 1931.

The esteemed authors have, by their own admission, used very strict criteria when defining a “true” links course and it cuts no ice with them if a seaside layout (like, say Pebble Beach or Old Head) appends the term “ Golf Links” to its name – if it’s not a bona fide links in their eyes then it doesn’t warrant inclusion in the book.

Now the new St Francis Links course lies an hour’s drive along the coast from Humewood in Port Elizabeth and its owners obviously believe it to be a links course but Messrs Peper and Campbell think otherwise, citing an absence of bent and fescue grasses for its exclusion from their book.

In actual fact, the course at St Francis Bay lies a little inland from the coast and it displays many links traits with fairways laid out on rugged, tumbling, sandy terrain but – disconcertingly for some – substantial bodies of water have to be negotiated at several holes and stands of trees and clumps of bush are found throughout the property, all of which greatly impair the course’s claim that it’s an example of a pure links layout.

Regardless of its exact definition, the Nicklaus-designed St Francis course offers as links-like a game of golf as you will experience anywhere on the continent of Africa – and even if it doesn’t quite tick every box to gain membership of the exclusive “true links club” it still offers enough to satisfy even the most hard to please links golfer.
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Description: The course at St Francis Bay lies a little inland from the coast and it displays many links traits with fairways laid out on rugged, tumbling, sandy terrain... Rating: 6 out of 6 Reviews: 2

This is a super track. In my opinion this is the best example of a links golf course in SA. The holes are all unique and memorable and the clubhouse is perched perfectly above the rolling dunes and fairways. I played this course twice on my holidays in 2009, and having played all the top courses along the Garden Route I must say that this course was the most fun to play. The bunkers on the course are very well positioned and look very authentic. I would recommend renting one of the houses for at least 3 days so as to play the course at least twice. Only regret is not having played the course off the back sticks, as I can only imagine the rewards that that may bring from a golfing perspective,
6 / 6
St Francis Links
December 08, 2012


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St Francis Links is no Gem. In my opinion, this is the best golf course in South Africa. And I am not alone in my opinion. When asked whether it was the best course he ever designed, Jack Nicklaus stated that it is the best course that he has ever seen! Enough said. As to the course, it is as true a links course as the great ones in Britain, and the conditioning is marvelous. A beast in any kind of wind, it is always a pleasure to play, regardless of the conditions. As far as hospitality is concerned, the Director of Operations, Jeff (Santa) Claus may well be the best golfing host in the world, and he always makes sure that touring parties are well looked after. Great selection of par threes, fours and fives – play it a few times if you can! Kem Westdyk, Johannesburg, South Africa
6 / 6
St Francis Links
May 02, 2011


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