Classic times on coastal courses

Legends of SA golf: Dale Hayes (right) with recent Southern Africa Hall of Fame inductee, John Fourie, who now lives in Port Edward. Dale, one of South Africa's best former pro golfers, is well-known in golf circles, thanks to his involvement with Compleat Golfer magazine and on SuperSport.

THE comments at the recent Jenta Classic prizegiving confirmed what many in our region perhaps don’t fully appreciate.

And it’s this: That the South Coast provides great value for money when it comes to golf. And that its courses are a lot more fun to play than a lot of other ‘bigger name’ courses around the country.

“Really, you should be bragging more about your area,” said golfing personality Dale Hayes, who was the emcee for the prize-giving held at the Wild Coast Sun.

Dale continued: “I don’t think you can get better value for your golf anywhere else. The golf in this area is really fantastic and you get treated very well.”

He also urged locals to make an effort to play with visitors, especially the foreigners.

This from a man who has played and commentated on golf the world over. He would know.

The tournament was played over three days, at Southbroom, San Lameer and the Wild Coast.

It was presented by Jenny Havenga Lifestyle Developers and attracted golfers both local and from far afield.

The winners were from Brits and Hartbeespoort Dam, namely Joseph Malekutu, Malombo Abrams, Jerry Lerapyane and Simon Masilo.

In second place were Port Edward’s John Fourie (more about him later), Anton Schlebush, Martyn Nagtegaal and Roelf Craig.

The overall winners won golf bags as main prizes and were sponsored by Jenny Havenga Lifestyle Developers and Sun Vacation Holidays to a trip to Miami in the USA.

Justin Mackrory, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism, felt that from small things could come big things, and congratulated the organisers and players on their efforts.

He mentioned that, in terms of golf tourism, visitors were not only coming to play golf but were also looking for ‘that clubhouse experience’.

“We are spoilt for choice, have convenience of access and have more ‘exclusive accommodation’ venues emerging,” he said.

Meanwhile Jenny Havenga, who was involved in the Silver Beach development in Port Edward, spoke briefly about her three passions: golf, property and health/wellness.

She felt that golf combined with upmarket property developments – like the Blue Gold concept of luxury lifestyle living for over 50s, could provide a boost to tourism and the local economy.

Thrilled: Desiree Heine (left) of Sports and Promotions, and Jenny Havenga (Jenny Havenga Lifestyle Developers) congratulate the winners of the Jenta Classic, played at Southbroom, San Lameer and Wild Coast last weekend, namely Simon Masilo, Joseph Malekutu, Malombo Abrams and Jerry Larepyane. The golfers are from Hartbeespoort Dam and Brits. Part of the prize includes a trip to Miami, USA.

Thrilled: Desiree Heine (left) of Sports and Promotions, and Jenny Havenga (Jenny Havenga Lifestyle Developers) congratulate the winners of the Jenta Classic, played at Southbroom, San Lameer and Wild Coast last weekend, namely Simon Masilo, Joseph Malekutu, Malombo Abrams and Jerry Larepyane. The golfers are from Hartbeespoort Dam and Brits. Part of the prize includes a trip to Miami, USA.

Interview with a Hall of Famer

JOHN Fourie (75) may be one the coast’s best-kept secrets in terms of golfing ‘legends’.

After a stellar amateur and professional career, he retired to the South Coast, and now lives in Port Edward.

He was recently inducted in the Southern Africa Hall of Fame.

John was born in Johannesburg.

He turned professional in 1970 and spent his career playing mainly on the Southern Africa Tour and the European Tour.

He won 10 times on the Southern Africa Tour, including one win as an amateur.

In Europe he won the 1977 Callers of Newcastle tournament and twice finished in the top 20 on the European Tour Order of Merit.

He joined the European Seniors’ Tour in its 1992 debut season, and won the Senior British Open and the Belfast Telegraph Irish Senior Masters on his way to winning that tour’s order of merit.

He continued to play on the seniors’ tour into his mid-sixties.

Dale Hayes interviewed him at the Jenta Classic prize-giving, asking him some questions about his career.

John started playing golf when he was about 12 years old.

“I went along with my father one day to see what it was all about. I had a few shots with a 6-iron and that was it,” he said.

John went on to play for South Africa, before turning professional.

He was known as an excellent chipper.

“That came from spending hours in my mother’s garden, just chipping all day,” he said.

While he made a name for himself as a top amateur, it was when he won the Dunlop SA Masters in 1970 (as an amateur) that people really took notice.

Denis Hutchinson had won the SA Open in 1959 as an amateur.

“Gary (Player) said an amateur would never win another pro tournament,” chuckled John.

“I shot 65, 68, 65 and 68. I played with New Zealander Bob Charles (who won the Open in 1963) in the final round. I heard him say ‘get up, get up’ as my putt neared the hole on the 17th. He was so nice. I don’t think I would have won if I had played with Gary.”

Dale elaborated on John’s short game wizardry. “Whereas some guys would go on about their drives or irons, John was always so positive about his chipping and putting,” he explained.

John’s own philosophy was uncomplicated.

“I believe that chipping helps get the putting stroke going. I wouldn’t practise my putting that much. Never got involved in those betting games on the practice green. Just believed that you put your best stroke on it – if it goes in, it goes in, if it misses, it misses. Trying too hard never helped.”

If the 1970 SA Masters was an early highlight, then his win at the Senior British Open in 1992 was certainly another.

In one of the rounds, he was paired with Arnold Palmer. After John produced yet another par saving scramble, ‘Arnie’ walked across and said “Man, you can chip!”

“He was so easy to play with, such a gentleman,” said John.

John now plays most of his golf at the Wild Coast Sun and Port Edward. He’s off a seven handicap, but regularly breaks his age.

 

  AUTHOR
David Rush
Sports Editor

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