The origins of the St Francis Bay Golf Club date back to 1975 when Leighton Hulett, the developer of the area then known as Sea Vista, opened a 9-hole private golf course. He employed Robert Grimsdell, who also designed courses such as Mowbray, Durban Country Club and Hans Merensky CC, to design the nine-hole private course which was opened in 1975.
In December 1976 the first Committee was elected and the club was named “The Cape St. Francis Golf Club”. The first Chairman was the late Buller Pagden. In the early 1980’s the village changed its name to St Francis Bay, and the club likewise became “St. Francis Bay Golf Club”. During this period the course was also developed from sandy to lush fairways and greens (exclusively Poa Annua) to achieve its acknowledged status as the best nine hole course in the Eastern Cape and South Africa’s best kept secret.
The course has undergone many changes since the original Grimsdell design was developed by Maxwell Hulett, the most significant which was the construction of an additional nine holes. As a result of the decision taken in 1997, the Club now has a full eighteen-hole course which was finally opened in December 1999.
Since the opening of the full 18 holes, the course has continually been undergoing improvements in collaboration with acknowledged Golf Course Designers. A number of the holes have been lengthened to create more of a challenge to the longer hitters. Two greens, the third and seventeenth, have been rebuilt and repositioned making them somewhat more of a challenge. Some safety aspects also had to be looked at, and a number of screens have been erected to minimize the risk of flying golf balls hitting golfers.
Throughout the time of its existence the Club has been blessed by the unstinting and dedicated efforts of its members in giving of their time and money to bring the Club to where it is today. This would also not have been possible without the dedicated staff who have worked on the course for many a year.
The popularity of the St Francis Bay Golf Course and the “Calamari Classic” (a three-day tournament run in September each year) in particular has been evident when one looks at the list of players frequenting the Club. This list is made up of resident members as well as up-country members and visitors who travel from all over the country and abroad to come and play at St Francis Bay GC.