The Maccauvlei saga has not been without its share of drama with many tragic, extraordinary and comical incidents having been recorded at the course over the years. Indeed the legends about the Maccauvlei Golf Course and its members are themselves legend, showing that while the Club took the game very seriously its members were people who lived life to the full and were never averse to taking up a challenge or "making a plan". They also had to deal with quite traumatic events at times.
A tragedy on the third fairway
One of the most tragic incidents was triggered by a fire at the course in May 1966. The course has been threatened and damaged by fires a number of times, but on this occasion a blaze, in front of the 3rd hole was being blown towards the 2nd fairway and was threatening to get out of control. H.B. Benade, the greenkeeper, fought valiantly to douse the flames but was overcome with smoke inhalation. Dr Trefor Roberts was at the course and applied the kiss of life, but Benade never recovered.
The tractor accident
In the 1970's there was another tragic accident. Phineas, the supervisor of the course's maintenance team, received a summons to appear in court on a charge of manslaughter arising out of the death of a child in an accident involving the Club's tractor, which he had been driving at the time. In the subsequent court case he was acquitted. He had been with the Club for 30 years when the incident occurred and completed an unbroken stint of 47 years service before going on pension in 1988.
A highly charged performance
One of the most remarkable incidents at Maccauvlei occurred in the mid seventies during a mixed four ball competition on a Saturday afternoon. A group of players consisting of Kalie Wertheimer, his partner Decima Docherty, Allen Snijman's wife Vicky, and Dr Ted de Beer could be said to have "struck it lucky" that day. A particularly heavy thunderstorm hit the area. Kalie and Decima were walking side by side immediately followed by Vicky and Ted after having left the 8th tee. A lightning bolt struck in the middle of the group and all four were knocked unconscious. The players in the fourball behind were lucky enough to escape injury and one member of the group, Bernie Lubner, ran back to the Clubhouse to summon
aid. Cars were rushed to the scene and the injured golferswere taken to Dormy House where they were attended to by doctors present. (Fortunately the medical profession is well represented on the golf course). However, it was not until 10 pm that they were finally allowed to go home.
When Kalie finally arrived at his house, he was met by an angry outburst from his wife at his late arrival. She treated with total disbelief and derision his excuse that he had been struck by lightning. However, when she read about the incident in the Sunday Times newspaper the next morning, confirming his extraordinary story in every detail, she spent the day in profuse apology for her outburst.
The most visible damage apparently happened to Decima. She was wearing a tartan skirt which had a round hole about 15 centimetres in diameter simply taken out at the back. Her one shoe was split in half from toe to heel (the inner half had completely disappeared) and her wedding ring had scorched her finger. Ted de Beer was wearing nylon socks which also 'vanished' in the strike. Vicky Snijman had a slight burn on the inside of her arm where she was carrying her iron club.
It was a truly miraculous escape, and a sobering reminder to take special care on the golf course during thunderstorms.
A love match at lucky 13
In April 1989, Maccauvlei had occasion to celebrate something other than golf when the greenkeeper at the time, Greg Leckie, who had assisted his predecessor, Ron Seiler, with many of the major changes to the course in the eighties, had one of his better matches. He got married. The wedding took place on the little island at the water hole of the 13'h green. Unfortunately the event got Greg so fired up that soon after the wedding he left Maccauvlei to become greenkeeper at Fancourt.
Moonstruck Mattheus makes a packet
Most golfers, no let's rephrase that, all golfers can bore the average concrete pillar to death explaining what a formidable challenge the game of golf is, but strangely they are always ready to make it more dificult still. Arthur Mattheus was a plus two amateur at Maccauvlei. Under circumstances never fully explained, but which may have involved a couple of beers, he was challenged by a group of fellow members that he could not break 90 playing in the dark. Bets were laid all round. The only rule (and only golf has more rules for playing in the dark) was that a torch could be shone on the ball to drive and again