Louis De­stroo of Stel­len­bosch Golf Club.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

You will find Louis De­stroo’s of­fice on the top floor of the club­house at Stel­len­bosch Golf Club. Even here in the heart of the Cape Winelands, the build­ing is high enough from his cor­ner of­fice that you can see Ta­ble Moun­tain in the dis­tance.With­out ques­tion, the di­rec­tor of golf has one of the best 360 de­gree views of any per­son in golf man­age­ment in the coun­try.

It re­sem­bles not so much an of­fice as the bridge of a ship. From his desk, De­stroo can look over the first and tenth tees, large tracts of the course, and be in com­mand of his sur­round­ings.

“Be­ing in this of­fice is a big ad­van­tage for some­one in my po­si­tion,” says De­stroo, who is vice-chair­man of the PGA of South Africa.“When I in­vite clients into my of­fice, and they see the mag­nif­i­cent view, it’s rel­a­tively easy from then on to sell a cor­po­rate event.” Plus, there’s an out­side deck with a braai fa­cil­ity. In­side the of­fice is a bar fridge, and with the leather couch and all the mem­o­ra­bilia around you, it’s more like a den than an of­fice.

De­stroo, 40, has been at Stel­len­bosch Golf Club all his work­ing life, but only re­cently has he been el­e­vated to the top floor with the gen­eral man­ager, fol­low­ing a ma­jor up­grade to the club­house. Most of his ear­lier years were spent down­stairs in a dark of­fice con­nected to the pro shop.

Born and raised in the univer­sity town, he stud­ied sports sci­ence at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity, but opted for a ca­reer in the golf in­dus­try when the SA Open came to town in Jan­uary, 1999.

“I got a job at the club dur­ing that Open, and after that be­gan my PGA ap­pren­tice­ship un­der club pro Arnold Mentz,” he says. De­stroo was a good stu­dent. He was named Ap­pren­tice of theYear in 2002, hav­ing passed the R&A Rules exam at the same time. By 2008 he had be­come chair­man of the Western Prov­ince PGA, and the club’s di­rec­tor of golf in 2010.Three years later he was named the PGA Club Pro of the Year, the first per­son to add that award to Ap­pren­tice hon­ours.

Among his mem­o­ra­bilia is a SA Open flag from the 1999 SA Open, signed by cham­pion David Frost, and also by four for­mer World No 1s who com­peted that week – Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Bern­hard Langer and Ian Woos­nam.

Prom­i­nent in his of­fice is a gold medal

from the Web­ster Cup, an event which salutes the ca­reer of for­mer Stel­len­bosch club pro and past PGA chair­man Gra­ham Web­ster. It’s com­peted for in an an­nual Ry­der Cup type con­test be­tween two teams of 12 PGA club pro­fes­sion­als from the In­land and Coastal re­gions.The match was res­ur­rected at Stel­len­bosch last April, and the home team tri­umphed un­der the cap­taincy of Jeff Clause.

Stel­len­bosch has evolved into one of the busiest and most suc­cess­ful golf clubs in the Western Cape.The course, ranked No 73 in Golf Di­gest’s Top 100, is one of the favourites of for­eign vis­i­tors dur­ing the sum­mer months.The last fis­cal saw a record 53 000 rounds recorded, and the club­house is well sup­ported by mem­bers and vis­i­tors. On the day I was there, run­ners were ar­riv­ing for a trail run around the edges of the prop­erty.

De­stroo sees his path to the top floor be­ing an in­spi­ra­tion for those young­sters who are good golfers, yet un­de­cided about their fu­tures. “The mod­ern evo­lu­tion of golf clubs has taken the game for­ward from the days when clubs were run by a sec­re­tary and club pro,” he says. “Golf clubs to­day are run by highly qual­i­fied peo­ple, from the green­keeper up to the man­ager, who are well re­warded. It shouldn’t al­ways be about play­ing on the Sun­shine Tour. Suc­cess­ful jobs lie else­where in the golf in­dus­try. I am proof of that.” – STU­ART McLEAN

Are you a golf club man­ager or golf di­rec­tor with an in­ter­est­ingly dec­o­rated of­fice you would like to share with Golf Di­gest read­ers? Please con­tact the ed­i­tor.

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