St Francis Links Golf Course

St Francis Links Golf Course

ST FRANCIS LINKS Golf Course

St Francis Bay – Eastern Cape

CEO: Jeff Clause
Head pro: Norman Riley
Greenkeeper: Charl Blaauw
Chairman: Chris Kelway
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 81.3 out of 100
Conditioning15.9 / 20
Playability14.5 / 20
Aesthetics13.0 / 15
Design Variety13.1 / 15
Shot Values12.2 / 15
Memorability12.6 / 15

St Francis Links Golf COURSE SUMMARY

Four tees / Par 72

Gold 6553 metres, CR76.5/149
White 5945 metres, CR73.3/145
Blue 5353 metres, CR70.3/133
Red 4791 metres, CR67.3/122
Women’s blue, CR75.8/142
Women’s red, CR72.2/133

Visitor green fee

R1 190, walking allowed
R990 referrals
Par 3 Course R395
Golf cart R420

Course designer

Jack Nicklaus Signature 2006

Contact

042 200 4500
www.stfrancislinks.com

Previous ranking

4 (2023), 4 (2022) & 5 (2021)

St Francis Links occupies one of the finest links sites, built in high rolling dunes overlooking St Francis Bay and the Indian Ocean. The dunes stretch for kilometres and you could have built as many links here as there are at St Andrews.

Jack Nicklaus excelled himself as a designer with his varied challenges, short and long, wide and narrow, uphill and down, each hole complemented by exquisite greens complexes with bent grass surfaces that hold their own mysteries. The course asks for brave shots and inventive ones. With cool season grasses it might not be a firm and fast-running links, yet it shouts links terrain of a magnificent quality from No 1 to 18.

The scene is set with a remarkable opener, requiring a drive over the edge of a bunker in a dune to a hidden fairway. Four different sets of tees make the course enjoyable for everyone, and forward tees are even the sensible choice for low-handicaps on a windy day. Some bunkers are deep and severe, yet the course has become more playable in recent years with fairways widened.

This is a True Links, although some purists might not appreciate the water hazards, unavoidable due to the Sand River running through the property. A large dam on the upper part of the course frames holes 13 to 15. It guards the left side of 13, shortest of the par 5s. And at the dramatic par-4 18th, played from a high tee, another prominent hazard left of the fairway makes for an intimidating tee shot.

Each hole is named, and some aptly describe what lies ahead. The par-3 fourth, Double Vision, has two separate greens, one on a lower level used most of the time, and another more difficult target higher on a dune. Eye of the Needle at No 8 is just that: you thread your tee shot through a gap to a narrow fairway. No 11 is simply called Eish! That’s what many golfers exclaim standing on the elevated tee when they first see this spectacular par 4 carved through the dunes.

The double-storey clubhouse occupies a scenic position above the 18th green. There’s a fine-dining restaurant, and is a popular venue for functions.

St Francis Links was named South Africa’s Best Golf Course at the 2021 World Golf Awards in Dubai.

Read: RIDING THE GOLFIE AT ST FRANCIS LINKS

Read: ST FRANCIS LINKS RECEIVES TOP COLLIER AWARD

The PGA Championship trophy has found a new home at St Francis Links through to 2023.
ADDITIONAL COURSE FACTS

COURSE RECORD

63, Steve Surry, 2021 SA PGA Championship

Seven birdies and hole-in-one at No 7 in first round

63, Ruan Korb, 2022 Vodacom Origins

10 birdies and eagle at 6 in final round to win title

63, Jens Dantorp, 2023 SDC Championship, 10 birdies

SA PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

St Francis Links hosted this Sunshine Tour event for three years from 2021 to 2023, the first time the PGA Championship has been at a coastal venue. Winners: Dean Burmester (2021 on 271); George Coetzee (2022 on 273) and Rupert Kaminski (2023 on 280).

FEATURE HOLES

Of the 229 holes-in-one at St Francis Links, 114 have been at No 17, where Nicklaus designed a Redan-style green in the dunes playing between 190 and 125 metres. Golfers of all abilities have improved odds of a hole-in-one if they hit the green, which slopes towards the back, where the pin is always placed. It has become a fun hole where groups are entertained with sundowner shootouts. Several other holes stand out as equally unique creations. The opening par 4 over a dune; the risk-and-reward short par 4 at No 5 with its array of bunkers; the wide fairway and hidden green at 12. And then there are a quartet of demanding par 4s at Nos 9, 11, 15 and 18, each with its own individual character.

ACCOMMODATION

Luxury self-catering homes are available to rent through the estate’s website. The St Francis Lodge has 10 guest rooms close to the clubhouse. A new sectional title development by Mantis Group features two-bedroom en-suite units (with double garage) overlooking the 18th hole with ocean views.

PRACTICE FACILITY

Spacious 280-metre range with grass bays some distance from clubhouse. Short-game area adjoins clubhouse.

DID YOU KNOW

1/ St Francis Links was where Par-3 golf began locally. CEO Jeff Clause had the bright idea of converting the course into 18 Par-3 holes – “The Ultimate Par 3” with its own scorecard – employing temporary tees 75 to 130 metres from each green. It makes for a quick round using carts, and is popular on windy days. There is even a club championship.

2/ Voted Golf Digest Best New Course in 2007, and a constant presence in the Top 10 since then. Walking is allowed, yet many use carts.

3/ The estate has grown to 220 completed homes, out of a projected 540. St Francis Links has experienced an increase in property sales since Covid as young families move into the area.

4/ Numerous elite tournaments, pro and amateur, have been played here, including the DP World Tour in 2023 with the SDC Championship (won by Matthew Baldwin on 270).

5/ Jordan Duminy, 16, set a new amateur record of 65 (nine birdies) in winning the SA Under-17 title in 2019.

6/ The clubhouse is a popular wedding venue, the course hosts numerous charity days, raising more than a million rand annually, and a Park Run is held on the estate every Saturday morning.

7/ Dr Lynn Slogrove has won 43 club championship titles in the East Cape, at Humewood (24), St Francis Bay (13) and St Francis Links (6).

CLUB CHAMPIONS

2024 Pieter Zietsman (record 68-70=138) & Isabella Obray
2023 Constantin Unger & Isabella Obray
2022 Michael Buckham & Isabella Obray
2021 Michael Buckham & Lynn Slogrove
2020 Michael Buckham & Rita du Plessis
2019 Boetie Zietsman & Lynn Slogrove

COURSE AND FACILITIES RATING
CONDITIONING RATINGS
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
FACILITY RATINGS
Pace of Play
Practice Facility
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
COURSE REVIEWS
The Links is in fantastic condition. As the course matures it keeps on getting better. A year since my last visit and the maintenance team have added new features that highlight the attention to detail you come to expect from a Top 5 destination. They have inter-seeded all greens and this practice will ensure the overall health of the greens. Having played this course for years, I still get a Wow feeling multiple times during the round.
Thinus Keller
19 April 2024
The course has matured wonderfully since I last visited a number of years back. It is a tough test especially if the wind is up. The course was in good condition. The fast, undulating and large greens are a challenge.
Mark Lynam
15 November 2023

Payment Options

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RESERVATIONS

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Reservation Email

Booking URL

Address & Contacts

Address

1 Jack Nicklaus Drive, St. Francis Bay, South Africa, 6312

GPS

-34.1630539, 24.8156216

Telephone


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