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United States of America

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 15:22

Welcome to Miami!

Does that not just roll of the tongue? And what a place to arrive in when visiting the land of milk and honey, also known as the United States of America.

I’m happy to be back in our beloved country and I always realise after a trip like this that even with all the problems we face, it is still the best place to live in. It is beautiful and more importantly, affordable. No wonder we are such a happy nation!

I had the opportunity to play three real all-American private country clubs. My opening round was at Riviera Country Club in Coral Cables, Miami. The club just spent $40 000 000 on a brand-new club house. Once the new club house is completed, the old club house will be knocked down. They also did a little nip and tuck on the course by spending $ 10 000 000 on it.

The message from all over the world is that golf clubs must be an all-in-one one-stop. Why be a member of so many clubs, they ask? Just become a member of the club and we will provide it all - Gym, restaurants, tennis, pica-ball and even golf! This is where the family comes for the day, or where business men meet. Kids that grow up in these clubs are introduced to the sport and for me, more importantly, exercise. And one day they will also become members of golf clubs like this.

I had the opportunity to play with Nick Job, a Hennessey Cognac Cup player. These days a director of ELIGO, who echoed the sentiment of the Yanks, saying that it is happening at all the top clubs in the world. Quick question, who of you know the Hennessey Cognac Cup and it’s significance?

Next in line was my old favorite, Trump International, West Palm (although in the US Trump is not a big favorite at the moment). How is this for a 4 ball: David Frost, Huge Baiocchi, Trever Dodds and Mel Sol! I had dinner with them before a round of golf with David, Nick Job and Ivano Ficalbi. After the round I just had to do it and bought myself a "Make America Great Again" cap. Not as easy as it sounds, because I am not an American, but this story I will tell you all at another time. For now the cap has found its new home in my office.

My third and final round before all the meetings and the show started was at Interlachen. Quite frankly the most difficult golf course I have ever played. This is also the home course of South African Masters winner Trevor Immelman, where I had the privilege of playing with the Vice President of the Golf Channel - a man by the name of Phil Piazza. Joining us was the Chief Executive of the PGA of Canada, Kevin Thistle, a very interesting man…But I must just say, most people don’t like the President, but everyone is a President or Vice President of something, they love the title! Back to Interlachen. A course with water/lakes on 14 of the 18 holes and playing it off the tips made for a challenging day, by far also the fastest greens I’ve had the pleasure to putt on.

Next stop: the 2019 PGA Show! Once again a highlight on the golf calendar with mostly everyone in golf coming together for 4 days. From the newest equipment to listening to the gurus in golf, it’s an eye opening, exiting couple of days. The best part? Leaving the show on a positive, knowing that golf will always be played and enjoyed!

Riviera Country Club Club House, with its two pools and even a super slide for the young ones Not a bad view, and a brilliant course to play and enjoy

First day at the PGA Show with fellow golfer from Stellenbosch, David Frost It’s self service in the US…

Now this cap has a story behind it, and is not to easy to get hold of! Great company for the day, Nick Job, David Frost and Ivano Ficalbi. Check the waterfall in the backround!

Meanwhile, back in sunny South Africa...

On that controversial Wednesday, just before I left, we played the first of the two round King of the Tips followed by the King of the Skirts later in the year. Up for the challenge and winner of the day was Niel Botha, scoring 42 Individual points. Great round Niel, let’s see what he can do from the Red Course later in the year!

Our King of the Tips, Neil Botha, with Mduduzi at prizegiving

On Saturday, 19 February, our first trophy competition was played and winning the Danie Schoeman Cup was the awesome foursome of Jannie Franzen, Nico Ferreira, Rohan Wambach and Deon the dentist Joubert with 91 points, winning the count out on the day. The following Saturday, 26 January, the annual Marnham Cup was played from the Alliance to Individual Stableford. The best player on the day was no one else than my gym buddy, Jurie van Graan, making 44 Stableford points on his own. I could not think of a more fitting place to take the photo than at the gym. If you would like to play better golf, start exercising, it seems to be the answer…

Danie Schoeman Cup winners Nico Ferreira, Jannie Franzen, Rohan Wambach and Deon Joubert (missing) My gym partner and champion of the Marnham Cup, Jurie van Graan

After I arrived in South Africa at 23h00 on Saturday evening after leaving my hotel room at 10h00 on Friday, I got to peg it up in the first of 10 Mix Competitions for 2019 with its Mexican theme on Sunday. With a fresh set of clubs (as the airline in SA lost my golf clubs) I had a good first round back and a great evening with all 128 members and guests who joined us for the great day. The day was sponsored by Karoo Classic, Stellenbosch Pro Shop and Manitoba Spur and playing the best on the day was the four ball of Yottie Botha, Lente Botha, Linda Harris and Fritz Haeberli with 88 Stableford points. From Mexico we are off to Mauritius for our February competition on the 24th. This promises to be a very special day with a few guests from the island joining us. As I mentioned at prize giving on Sunday, I will be sponsoring a prize for the best dressed 4 ball. So lets get into the Mauritian Island spirit, an evening of rum and fun!

Wilbar Roberts (sponsor) and Ladies Captain Leonie Malherbe Ricklia Roux, our 2019 winner of the Bunny Spottiswood Competition on Tuesday with +6 (Bogey Plus)


As we head into the second month of the year 2019, we are also getting ready for league golf at the club. A league meeting will be held on Monday 4 February at 18h00 at the golf club. If you are interested in playing for the club, please come and join us. Stellenbosch GC has a proud and some very powerful league sides, lifting the trophy numerous times at the end of the year.

More rules

Before I end of this week, I would like to highling a misunderstanding/confusion in my last newsletter regarding one of the changes in the New Rules. Embedded Ball 16.3: When is relief allowed? Relief is allowed when a ball is embedded in the general area (player needs to understand the definition of the general area). But if your ball is embedded on the putting green you may mark the spot of your ball lift and clean it, repair the damages, and replace your ball on its original spot.

Exceptions – When Relief Not Allowed for Ball Embedded in General Area: When your ball is embedded in sand in any part of the general area that is not cut to fairway height or less, or when interference by anything other than your ball being embedded makes your stroke clearly unreasonable (for example, when you are unable to make a stroke because of where your ball lies in a bush). Your ball is embedded only if it is in its own pith-mark made as a result of your previous stoke and part of your ball is below the level of the ground.

So NO, there is no relief if your ball plugs in a bunker or any sandy area on the golf course!


It’s not only on the professional tours where the Stellenbosch members do well, I would like to congratulate the following members who all made Boland Invitational Sides.

Well done Rynhardt van Zyl & Tynan Vermeulen, they will be representing the Boland U/13 team, for the U/15 James Joubert will be teeing it up. On the Senior front we have three members playing in a three-way match against a team from Germany and the Western Province, Pieter van Coller, Stephen Loubser and Jackie Snyman will be representing the Boland side. Once again congratulations to all of you – play well!

Ending off on a high note with a low round of 63 from Justin in the Dubai Dessert Classic, finishing tied 7th and the best of the South African contingent. Oliver Bekker finished 25th in the Bahamas in his second event. The wind did not only blow the players away, it did the same with their scores, not easy conditions Ollie – well played to both of you.

A sad farewell

Ruhe in Frieden – Margaret Stute, a member for over 21 years, passed away last week. Margaret and her late husband supported the club often over two decades and will be dearly missed. I have some great memories of this special lady.

Au Revoir,