Dear Members, Clients and Friends,

In Memoriam - Eben Archer - 10 March 1947 to 26 June 2019

It is with a heavy heart that I must begin this newsletter with the tragic news of the passing of an ex-captain of the club and a big personality, Prof Eben Archer. "Prof" as we all knew him, unexpectedly passed away on the 18th green yesterday during the Wednesday competition. He had been a member of our club since 1976, served on the committee for many years and captained the club in 1993 and 1994. He leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter as well as a grandchild, as well as his golf club family! Eben was also a well known and respected figure in the wine industry. 

Prof, thank you for your enourmous contribution to the club, your friendly smile coupled with a joke on Saturday mornings before your round (as we knew him, he would have been the first one to make a joke about not being the first member or ex-captain to pass away on the 18th hole!), and always going out of your way to greet and chat. We will miss you tremendously.


Vision Cup success in Ireland, and the blind leading the crippled!

I am pleased to report that Stellenbosch Golf Club member and top-ranked visually impaired golfer in SA, Prof Garrett Slattery, with myself being lucky enough to guide him once again, helped the Rest of World Team (of which Garrett was the team Captain) defend the trophy by a handsome margin (15.5 to 8.5 points) against the North American team. This all happened at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vision Cup event which took place at the Portmarnock Hotel & Links, about 15km north of Dublin, Ireland, last week.

We won all three of our matches (2 x foursomes matches and 1 singles match). Eveything worked out so well, including the weather - I had been following it beforehand - the previous week it was pouring constantly, then it cleared up just in time for this event. We could see it raining around us but we only got a few drops the whole week. Then, 5 minutes after the last group had come off the course, the heaven's opened as if there's was no tomorrow, a true blessing!

Garrett Slattery (left), yours truly and the beautiful Vision Cup

I will try to let the videos and photos below do most of the talking. This was by far the most touching of the events that I have been priviliged enough to have attended with Garrett. How the Irish folk care about their communities, together with their great hospitality and friendliness, is something to behold. And then off course the visually impaired and totally blind golfers just keep on being such an inspiration. They simply keep on refusing to let their impairments get them down, and the game of golf plays a huge role here.

Many of them fall into severe depression once they lose their eyesight or when it has deteriorated drastically, and for them golf literally offers them a lifeline, together with the support of their guides and their families. Some of the Americans had already been playing golf at collage or other high levels before they started losing their sight, and it was most evident when seeing them swing the club! 

A truly tear-jerking part of the week was going to the nearby Kinsealy Driving Range, where Vision Sports Ireland, Ireland's organization aiding not only visually impaired childen, but also persons with intellectual disabilites, brought a group to the range so that the Vision Cup team players could interact with them and give them a few tips.....many a lumps were in many throats that morning!

Another highlight was having the Captain of the R & A Golf Club of St Andrews, Chris Hilton, starting all the groups on the final day. Please spare a few moments to read an article about this and more 
by clicking here.

Next to the logo of the PGA of South Africa is a caption stating "Touching lives through the game of golf". I really felt that statement in action over that week!

Video showing totally blind golfers, American Chad NeSmith and Italian
Andrea Calcaterra, teeing off with the help of their guides/coaches.
The beauty of the course location can be seen in the background. 

Touching interview with totally blind American Chad NeSmith 

Garrett Slattery's Captain interview for the local television
station after round 1 

And finally for the part about the blind leading the crippled - unfortunately I don't have a video of this, but try picturing it and enjoy! - Most of the visually impaired golfers take a cart in order to make things somewhat easier! - on the Monday morning we were to play in a fundraising day with members of the club and other locals with a shotgun start. Only problem? The extra carts they were bringing in never arrived on time so we were left with no choice but to take on the walk to (yes you guessed it) the furthest possible point on the opposite side of the golf course!

It was my 6th week post knee athroscopic surgery, and I never expected the long flight to cause so much swelling of the knee, which had not fully recovered yet! In addition to that, this type of pure links course has exteme slopes going in every possible direction! The resulting image? Garrett pulling a trolley with his bag trying to spare my knee, and me hobbling along 30 meters behind him for about 3 kilometers over the Irish links! Best of all? Only to eventually arrive at the tee box and realize they had sent another team to that tee already after a mix-up! Luckily we were able to join some friendly locals playing the previous hole.

It is extremely rewarding for me to have seen how Garrett's golf has improved over the last 5 years. We would have been in trouble on such a punishing links course if we had not all but eradicated the odd slice and shank he hit in the beginning! It just reminds me again that improvement is a journey that coach and student go on. His time does not allow him to attend lessons so often, but when he did, we kept focussing on one thing until it had improved, before moving to the next thing, all in a logical order. This is how I like to coach, and in my next newsletter I will talk a bit more about this, but if you would like to find out more in the meantime, please click here.

I have to also thank all the members and friends so much for their overwhelming support. Special thanks to Kurth Geiger, whose ongoing sponsorship of our annual Club Putting Championship is partially in aid of the South African Blind Golf Association.

Stellenbosch se onder-klubkaptein Kobus van Schalkwyk met sy  innemende geaardheid is lid van ‘n gereelde vierbal wat op Woensdae en Saterdag in die kompetisies “uitdraf“.  In hierdie onderhoud vertel Kobus my onder meer van sy speelmaats se sterkpunte.  Ook gee Kobus vir lesers ‘n kykie van uitdagings wat die klub in die gesig staar.  Hierso volg my volledige onderhoud met hom.

Keep it on the fairways,

Could you save 5 shots per round?

Setup and practice
That’s right. Get into a better setup (with equipment that allows it). Add more focus to the face angle of your putter at address and at impact; and you’ll sink more putts in the 6 to 12-foot range.
This is a bottom line investment.
That’s right. Your improvement drops immediately to your scorecard. So benchmark your current performance by taking 10x10 foot putts on a perfectly flat lie.

 Then consider at least two of three investments.

1. A putter that fits you, allowing you to get comfortably into the perfect
with assistance to make sure your face angle is square to the target line.

2. An assessment and refresher to help make sure that, along with setup
and posture, your grip and stroke allow the face to return square to target at impact.

3. Practice with aids to help make sure your face angle is as square as possible at address and at impact.
Get a check-up
Improving your ability to square the putter face at impact will likely take up to 5 shots off your scorecard. There are some simple keys to that improvement. Setup and putter are part of that equation. So come and see us.
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Enjoy the journey

“Golf is a social game of new people met, and friendships that can surprise you.”
“And journeys are always best shared. You can encourage each other. Celebrate together. And sometimes walk silently together knowing there’s a dream”.
“In fact sometimes the journey is the fulfillment not the end. Just improving and getting better and enjoying friendships is living”. 

Start a journey with friends
It’s time to live. Its time to challenge yourself. Enjoy getting better because better is great. But better together is unbeatable. Enjoy a journey with friends. Let us help you get better together.
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