The late afternoon of Wednesday January 13, 2010 remains etched in the memory of hundreds of Knysna Golf Club members. It was the day that a fire broke out.
It was a hot day with incredibly strong winds, resulting in the rapid spread of an inferno that gutted the clubhouse, pro shop, kitchen, greenkeeper’s accommodation, locker rooms…and resulted in the loss of many members’ golf equipment and clothing.
Breaking out just before prize giving in the weekly men’s competition, the clubhouse was quickly evacuated and members could only stand at a distance to witness the horrifying spectacle and the efforts of the fire crews. Fortunately there were no human casualties but the club lost all its memorabilia – including trophies and honors boards.
It is a tribute to the management, staff, committee and ordinary members that, within 24 hours of the tragedy, the club was able to devise a plan to keep the course open and provide temporary structures to serve as a green fee office, clubhouse and bar.
A Bedouin tent was erected by the (then) first tee, Mitchell’s Brewery provided a mobile bar and portable cabins were rented to provide cramped, but adequate, office, kitchen and toilet facilities. A few weeks’ later a much larger, more substantial, temporary structure was purchased that served as our clubhouse for over a year.
Happily, the club was fully insured so plans were quickly put in place to completely demolish the scant remains of the clubhouse – which, incidentally, had undergone a major refurbishment to celebrate the club’s centenary in 2009 – and rebuild from scratch.
Just over a year later, in April 2011, our wonderful new clubhouse was officially opened to the delight of all. It is quite astounding to note that the new complex was built on the exact ‘footprint’ of the original. Just as the Phoenix rose from the ashes, so did Knysna Golf Club. The result is that we can now boast some of the very best, and most contemporary, facilities in the province …if not the whole of South Africa. What started off as a massive blow to our golfing community, turned out to be a monumental blessing.
The trophy is the charred remains of a driver found in the debris. Please support the event, remember the heartache and hard work that the fire caused everyone in the club…and give thanks for the truly excellent surroundings we now enjoy.