By Alvin Reeves
Courtesy of The Herald
It’s been around for just over three years, but St Francis Links has managed to crack Golf Digest’s Top 10 ranking in its first attempt. The announcement was made at a banquet held in Johannesburg last week. This was the first year that St Francis Links was eligible to be rated since opening in December 2006 and the estate entered the rating at No 9. The Jack Nicklaus-designed layout was also the leading newcomer course of the 10 new or remodeled courses now eligible. It was rated as the “Best New Course” in South Africa in 2007 and now it seems the legend is continuing to grow.
The announcement should have a positive effect on the development and Eastern Cape Tourism, as the ranking will bring awareness to the area and attract even more enthusiastic golfers to one of the most challenging and spectacular courses in South Africa.
St Francis Links has also just recently been recognised by Compleat Golfer magazine as a recipient of the “5-Star Golf Experience Award” for the fourth consecutive year.
St Francis Links chief executive Jeff Clause was thrilled with the announcement when I spoke to him this week.
“We at St Francis Links are over the moon about the Top 10 ranking in our first year eligible,” said Clause.
“More than 100 panelists rate the courses countrywide and a large number of them made their way here to see how the Jack Nicklaus creation in Mother Nature’s magnificent dunes had evolved,” he said.
Clause also said the changes made to the course and the new tees have improved playability and enhanced the golfing experience in the ever-changing coastal conditions.
“The Top 10 ranking will enable us to attract even more golfers to the area and, hopefully, some more championship golf tournaments.”