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Kelly Slater: Making waves in the surf and on the golf course

by | Feb 9, 2022

THIS is a story about golf and surfing. In 2017 I covered the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland for several South African newspapers and websites and one of the celebrities playing in the tournament that year was surfing legend Kelly Slater. The American was 45 at the time and still competitive on the world tour against the sport’s young stars.

Slater’s professional partner in the separate pro-am that year was South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli and I followed their group around the famous Carnoustie links. Boy, could Slater hit that little white ball! I learnt that his handicap was a very competitive two and, in chatting to him, he revealed that his best round had been a sizzling six-under-par 66. “And I’ve also made four or five 67s,” he said. It became apparent to me that if this guy hadn’t been riding waves all his life, he might well have become a professional golfer. He was almost as good with the birdies as he was with the “barrels”.

“Surfing and golf,” he declared, “are a lot different in some ways; one’s super fast and the other’s, like, super slow. But they are similar in other ways and by that I mean there’s that very real fear factor in both sports. In surfing, it’s big-time physical and in golf, it’s big-time mental.”

So where is all this leading? Well, Slater turns 50 on Friday this week and this past Sunday the Californian achieved what many deemed impossible. He won the World Surf League’s Billabong Pro Pipeline in Hawaii, just five days before hitting, age-wise, the big five-0. In a sport dominated by super strong competitors in their 20s, ‘Old man’ Slater’s feat has, not surprisingly, been described as one of the greatest achievements in the history of all sports.
Former Springbok flanker Rob Louw, who has also played golf alongside Slater, said: “I’m a surfer too and I know how incredibly demanding it can be both physically and mentally. In my opinion, Kelly is the greatest sportsman the world has seen, and you can see that competitive side of him in his golf too.” Now wonder Slater’s nickname is the ‘Goat’ (Greatest of All-Time).

In the final in Hawaii on Sunday, surfed in pounding, big waves, Slater defeated the local favourite, 22-year-old Seth Moniz, with a near-perfect score of 18.77 out of a possible 20. Moniz is the son of Tony Moniz, one of Kelly’s former rivals. And Slater has now won the Pipeline eight times.

The wiry, super-strong Californian has been world surfing champion a record 11 times, He was the youngest champion when he first grabbed the title at 20. And he was the oldest when he won it at 39. Now he could make it number 12 at the outrageous, highly improbable age of 50 when the WSL moves to Australia in April and May for two legs in that country. However, Slater is an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccination and Australian officials have said there will be no exemptions given to anyone who hasn’t had the jab. Slater’s also hinting at retirement. So, who knows, perhaps golf’s Senior Tour lies in wait!

Written by Randpark Club member Grant Winter


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Golf Terms & Conditions

1. The Club reserves the right to impose a cancellation fee of up to R250 for any tee-times booked in peak times (as determined by the club) which are cancelled within 24 hours regardless of whether that actual member made the booking and /or cancellation.

2. The Club reserves the right to impose a no-show fee of up to R500 for any tee-times booked in peak times (as determined by the club) where the member failed to show up regardless of whether that actual member made the booking and /or cancellation.

3. Golf specific disclaimer: When entering the Club’s premises, the member is fully aware and understands the risk and hazards inherent to the golf environment which includes but is not limited to the risk of being struck by flying golf balls and lightning strikes. In the case of the latter, the member further acknowledges that the shelters provided on the golf course are rain shelters only and are not lightning proof and the club accepts no responsibility in respect of death or injury of persons or destruction or damage to property as a result of any lightning strike whether it occurs at or near a rain shelter or at any other place. All persons using any such rain shelters or any other shelter on the property do so entirely at their own risk. It is to be noted that whilst the Club makes use of an automated lightning detection system, the Club makes no warranties and accepts no responsibility with respect to either the reliability or accuracy of the equipment. It is further noted that a member always has the right to stop play if he/she deems any condition, including lightning, to be a danger to his or her personal safety.

4. A member is not entitled to a refund of golf fees in the event a competition or round is cancelled due to weather.

5. The notional base number of rounds for a CLUB10 and CLUB20 playing cards is 10 & 20 respectively regardless of any reference to an unlimited playing card. When these golf round thresholds have been completed the cost of the playing cards has been consumed. The rounds cannot be carried over to the following financial year, and thus lapse on 31 March.

6. Unlimited golf is subject to booking restrictions as per the specific membership category. The rounds cannot be carried over to the following financial year, and thus lapse on 31 March.

7. Graduates may book for a Sunday PM two weeks in advance via the booking ladies and 11 days in advance on the online platform. Bookings for the weekend will open on a Thursday (2 days before) at 06:00 am. We will introduce a graduate booking sheet which will allow graduates to add their names for a slot which the booking ladies will fill closer to the weekend. Saturday morning games will be charged at R500.00 – all other periods include the Unlimited ticket.

Membership Terms & Conditions

1. Upon the club receiving this application form, signed terms and conditions, letter of good standing from previous club and credit check approval, an invoice will be sent and membership will only become active upon full upfront payment of all applicable fees and/or signature of a debit order arrangement and payment of first instalment. If a debit order arrangement is signed, the first instalment of membership is payable via EFT, there after the debit order arrangement will take effect.

2. Membership at Randpark is subject to approval by committee. A probation period of 3 months will apply to all new applicants. In this time Randpark reserves the right to refund unsuccessful applicants.

3. Family Membership is subject to membership of principal member.

4. Club membership would without interruption continue year on year but is subject to the payment of an annual fee as determined by the club.

5. The membership may be terminated by the member giving the club twenty business days’ notice in writing of his/her intention to do so.

6. The Club reserves the right to impose a 10% cancellation fee on a member who elects to cancel his/her membership during a financial year; however, no cancellation fee will be charged if a member gives notice not to renew his/her membership at the end of the club’s financial year.

7. There is a 3 month "cool off" period applicable if a member elects to cancel his/her membership. If a member reinstates his membership within this period the Club reserves the right to charge an entrance fee.

8. The Club may cancel a member’s membership if the member is in material breach of his/her obligation to pay annual subscription fees and the Club has given the member twenty business days’ notice in writing to remedy this breach and the member fails to do so.

9. The Club may suspend a member that is in default on his membership fees paid on debit order if that debit order is not successful. The Club will inform the member of this and the member has 3 business days to rectify his/her account. If the 3 business days lapse without any payment of outstanding amount the club reserves the right to suspend the member.  Membership will only be reinstated upon receipt of amount in arrears. If a member has 3 consecutive failed debit orders without arrears being paid up, the Club may cancel his/her membership given twenty business days' notice in writing to remedy this breach and the member fails to do so. When a member is suspended he is not deemed to be a member.

10. Any levies e.g. Capital Development Fund or special fees payable on an annual basis or as lump sum for a period are non-refundable and not related to usage of the Club.

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12. The Applicant hereby agrees and consents to the Applicant’s personal information being processed by, or on behalf of the Club for the purposes set out herein.

13. It is understood by the member that it is necessary for the Club to communicate with its membership from time to time and that by signing these terms and conditions a member gives the club his/her express permission for the Club to communicate with him /her via any means of Club communication unless he/she has informed the Club in writing that they do not wish to receive such or all communication. As mentioned in Section 69 of the POPI Act.

14. By signature hereto, the member expressly acknowledges he has read, and understands, the following disclaimers from the Club Constitution and the Club Bye-Laws.

15. General disclaimer: Randpark Club does not accept liability or responsibility whatsoever in respect of death or injury of person or destroying or damage to property or loss of any nature, whether arising from negligence or any other cause including lightning, which is suffered by any member or any person who enters the club premises and/or uses the golf course or any other amenities or facilities provided. Members and other users of the Club facilities use the facilities at their own risk and are advised to insure themselves for loss and injuries they may suffer and for claims against themselves.

16. A member is not entitled to a refund of golf fees in the event a competition or round is cancelled due to weather.

17. Vouchers which may be given to a member upon joining are given on a complimentary basis and do not form part of the subscription.