Golf thriving at South African club

Growing Golf
St Francis

“We’ve never had a better chance to bring people into the game worldwide than what we have right now,” says Jeff Clause, CEO and PGA Director of Golf at St Francis Links in South Africa.

Like many countries around the world, Clause’s club, a gated estate on the Indian Ocean coast about an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, has seen a significant increase in people playing golf as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.“We had a lockdown here in South Africa and the courses were forced to be closed,” explains Clause.

“When we reopened, we had an absolute boom. We really smashed it. Members who played twice a week were playing four times a week.

“The biggest thing has been people working from home. People who came here during lockdown stayed here.”

Clause, a Texan who has lived and worked in South Africa for 30 years, says another club in the region was so busy, golfers who struggled to get a tee time there would drive an hour to St Francis Links to play.

“Humewood got hit so hard that people were coming here because they couldn’t get on their own golf course.

“We’ve got a junior programme that’s expanding, we’ve got ladies playing more, I have three PGA professionals and they’re all booked up. It’s brilliant.

“If we don’t seize this in golf right now then we’re missing the boat.