In Die Skroewe met Pat Pretorius
Deur Riaan Gerber

Pat Pretorius describes herself as “a golf fanatic.”

She has been a full member of the Stellenbosch since 1985 and has made many friends at the club through the years. Herewith my interview with Pat.

QUESTION:  What school did you attend?
PRETORIUS:  I attended Hottentots-Holland High School in Somerset West.

QUESTION:  In what sports did you excel at a youngster?

PRETORIUS: At school I participated in just about every sport - including athletics and tennis, but of course my passion was hockey where I was very fortunate to have Mr Mossie Mostert as my coach! I eventually played Boland Schools Hockey of which I was very proud!

QUESTION:  How did you start playing golf?
PRETORIUS: In 1968 I joined the former Stellenbosch Farmers Winery Limited where I was employed for 34 years, but with hockey being a winter sport I arrived home in the Strand very late for practices and eventually had to give up my hockey, although I still participated in social hockey for the Strand Hockey Club.

QUESTION:  What year did you join the Stellenbosch Golf Club?
PRETORIUS: I joined Stellenbosch Golf Club on 1 January 1985 as a Full Member as Stellenbosch was then the ONLY CLUB that allowed Ladies to become Full Members. I however started my Golf at Somerset West Country Club and I was also a Lady Member of the Strand Golf Club where I used to play on Sundays with the late Bridget Wise,  Aroon Papas and Maggie Gow.

QUESTION:  Tell us about those days.
PRETORIUS: My husband and I used to go to St. Michaels-on-Sea for our annual holiday and unbeknown to me, he arranged for Jeannette Burd the Springbok golfer to give me a golf lesson! She was at that time the Professional at St. Michael's Golf Club! She walked 9 holes with us and what a pleasure it was to see her in action! Something I will never forget in my lifetime!  My first set of woods that my husband bought me were Jeanette Burd woods made by Slazenger! Jeanette told my husband that if I hit the ball the way I did at the time, I must not consider changing my hockey grip!

QUESTION:   In those days there were not many ladies members at the Stellenbosch Club, but there were quite a number of characters amongst the ladies members.  Can you share some of your memories of those colourful members? 
PRETORIUS: The lady members I still remember were Nicky Kotze a left-hander, Barbara Jones, Betty Nelson, Joan Fish, Bunny Spottiswood who was quite a character, Elsbeth Nardone, Yvonne Lightheart, Wynda van Eyssen and Yvonne Maree. All I remember was that if you stood where you should not have stood whilst Nicky Kotze the left-hander was playing a shot, you would have got a good BLAST! Several of the above members were members of Mowbray, Rondebosch, Durbanville and Parow Golf Clubs, who joined to be able to play on Saturdays as they were also working girls!

QUESTION:  Did your hockey background assist you to improve your golf?
PRETORIUS: Yes, it certainly did - I still have my hockey grip and I often hit the ball straight down the middle of the fairway! I must just have a few putting lessons to be more accurate!

QUESTION:  Tell us more about the decision of the Stellenbosch Club to allow women players to become full members of the club and what it meant for serious women golfers?
PRETORIUS: I, unfortunately, do not know much about that, but I am sure that the majority of men were happy with this regulation, as they often partnered us ladies in competitions! Those days when a gentleman partnered you in a competition on a Saturday afternoon,  he always presented you with a golf ball before you tee'd off!  I know Pikkie Blommaert always did this when I was his partner! What a gentleman he was!

QUESTION:  How did the men members react when women players were allowed as full members?
PRETORIUS: Unfortunately I do not know, but I think they got used to it! Don't think they really had an option I would say!

QUESTION:  You have played with many good women golfers at the Stellenbosch Club - who stood out for their ability?
PRETORIUS:  Barbara  Hughes and Nicky Kotze were good women golfers those days. It is only a pleasure playing with our Lady Captain Leonie  Malherbe and Lauretta Maree who are playing good golf at the moment! Lauretta and I have won a competition or two recently at Stellenbosch, which was a wonderful surprise for us two SENIORS! Benita Louw who is also a good golfer, is the one that always encourages me to come and play golf!

QUESTION:  Looking back  - of what achievement in golf are you the proudest?
PRETORIUS: When I was chosen to play for Boland at Stellenbosch, when I was a 10 Handicap! A memorable occasion that was indeed!
Recently I discovered a Lead Crystal Whisky Glass in a cupboard of mine which had the following engraved on it: Stellenbosch Golf Club - Pat Pretorius - 87-21-66; - SENIOR LADIES' CHAMPION - 29.09.06.   This was probably one of my better rounds at Stellenbosch,  and I really was excited about this when I found it that morning! Brings back wonderful memories!

QUESTION:  Tell us about your experience as a league player and also a competitor at club champs?
PRETORIUS: I played League for both Stellenbosch and the Strand Club at different times, but due to an old hockey ankle injury I do not play competitive golf anymore as I have to make use a Club Car! I do recall winning my Section of the Club Championships in the past! I am still a Member of WP senior women’s golf, but unfortunately don't find time to participate in many fixtures!

QUESTION:  You must have observed many funny moments on and off the golf course.

PRETORIUS:  One day many years ago we were playing the 5th hole which was then a Par 4, with a big dam on the left!  I hit my ball into the edge of the dam and insisted on playing out of the water! I managed to get my ball onto the green, but was covered in mud from head to toe! 

QUESTION:  In the 1980's and 1990's tall trees flanked all the fairways of the 18 holes of Stellenbosch Club before the storms in the early 2000's that flattened a large number of the trees.  Tell us about playing golf in those days with the tall trees all around you?
PRETORIUS: Yes, it was a very sad occasion losing all those wonderful trees, but I think many members found the course much easier! Thankfully the course recovered well after that, and is in immaculate condition presently!

QUESTION: The number of ladies members at Stellenbosch have increased strongly in the last years - what are the reasons for that?
PRETORIUS: I think firstly the Course is in great shape and we have a wonderful group of Ladies who are members there! Our club house and other facilities at the Golf Club are also FIVE STAR!

QUESTION:  What are your favorite yearly events/competitions as a member of the ladies club? 
PRETORIUS: I always try to participate in the Cancer Day, Club Championships and a few Alliance Competitions, when my ankle allows it, but only a month or so ago I had the pleasure of playing in the WP Interclub Foursomes Championships at Hermanus for three consecutive days! Fortunately, I was able to make use of a Club Car! What a wonderful 3 days with lovely golfing friends at Hermanus! Thanks to Linda Harris, Nicky de Jager and Maretha Laubscher for all the golf arrangements and wonderful accommodation we had!

QUESTION: Current handicap?

QUESTION: Lowest handicap ever?

QUESTION: Have you made a hole-in-one?
PRETORIUS: I have never had a hole-in-one, but have been very close on 4 occasions! However, I was in the company of 3 Stellenbosch Members who had holes-in-one! Two at Stellenbosch and one at Paarl Golf Club!

QUESTION:  What does golf mean to you as a person?
PRETORIUS: I am a golf fanatic, and whilst working for SFW I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to undertake two overseas tours one to Algarve in Portugal in 1984 and the other to Penang Island in Malaysia in 1998 with the SFW social golf club, where we played on different courses every day! We also played night golf at the well known Glenmarie Golf Club just outside Kuala Lumpur where my partner and I were lucky to win the Competition! I also served on the SFW Golf Club Committee for many years!