THE CALAMARI CLASSIC
The Eastern Cape is home to several festival golf weeks, one of the most popular being the Calamari Classic, hosted by St Francis Bay Golf Club, this year on September 22-24, a long weekend. The success of the Mad Hatter week at Royal Port Alfred in April (started 1995) inspired the club members to introduce a tournament of their own, at a quiet time of year.
Member Eddie Lennox came up with the name, a perfect fit for a seaside resort which is the hub of the calamari industry. Chokka boats fish offshore for squid at night, their lights bobbing on the water, and many are based at Port St Francis.
The first classic was in 1998, when St Francis Bay was a 9-holer. The inaugural event was a golfer’s nightmare, gale-force winds and rain all weekend making for miserable playing conditions. But those who were there had such a fabulous time, their spirits buoyed by good food and entertainment, that it was a resounding success. Calamari donated by local fishermen was prepared and cooked in a large potjie. Sadly, the calamari potjie is no more.
The course’s expansion to 18 holes meant extra support, 260 golfers each day, so the clubhouse continues to heave with celebratory golfers and hangers-on over the three days.