From Millstones to Milestones

Despite all the problems of the seventies, the decade also produced one of the highlights of the Club’s progress. Although the Maccauvlei Golf Club was run independently, the links with Anglo remained strong. The Club allowed Anglo to use the course for their “Gold”” and “Coal” days, and from 1972 to this day, the Coal Day is an annual event. In 1972, Anglo gave a donation of R50 000.00 to keep it going.

Maccauvlei Jubilee – black tie turns to gold
Further evidence of the close ties, literally and figuratively, was the Club’s golden jubilee held on the 27 March 1976. An ox braai was held at the Club to celebrate the event. A large marquee was erected in front of the Clubhouse, a dinner dance affair costing R8.00 double. Nicholas Oppenheimer was the guest of honour. On that night a beautiful golden tie with a navy blue maccau was presented to Nicholas and the three oldest members being Eric Lavenstein, Allen Snijman and Hugh Paton. No further such ties have been presented, and Nicholas is now the only survivor of the exclusive group.

Bob’s your uncle in the cartooning business
In the late 1950’s it became tradition for captains to have a character sketch done by Bob Connolly the newspaper cartoonist of “Rand Daily Mail” fame. This was quite an honour and many business leaders including Louis Marks also had their cartoons done. The tradition was maintained for many years and successive captains are thus depicted in these sketches which are displayed in the bar. Sadly, Bob Connolly died in 1981, and since then various other artists have been used. The first captain of the post Connolly era was Dereck Mocke, who recalls that he actually had an appointment with the great cartoonist for his portrait, but Bob died before it could be done.

Grandfather clock causes a ticking off
In the lounge stands a grandfather clock, which was originally in the home of Sammy Marks’s partner, Isaac Lewis. He owned a double storey house erected in 1909 on land purchased from the Vereeniging Estates Limited. His property comprised what is today the Vereeniging Country Club and Riviera Hotel area, and his home still serves as the premises of the Vereeniging Country Club. When Lewis died in 1927, Louis Marks succeeded him as Chairman of Vereeniging Estates and the company bought back the property. In 1937 when the expropriation of the Vereeniging Golf course was imminent, Allen Snijman’s wife, Vicky, arranged with Louis Marks to transfer the clock to Maccauvlei. It has been resident in the lounge ever since. Esther Cutler recalls once entering the lounge to find the clock lying on the floor. She asked the secretary Brian Pullen, what was going on. He replied that Allen Snijman had bought the clock. “Oh no he has not!” Esther declared, and immediately phoned Louis Marks. Marks replied “if the members don’t want it, we’ll take it back”. Esther won the day and the clock remained. To commemorate the incident, a little plaque was made, which is still on the clock.

Ancient tribute to a Maccauvlei stalwart
When the Club’s former President, Dr William Chapman, died in 1962 his stature was such that the secretary tabled a letter from the Captain and members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, expressing their sincere sympathy. His memory is kept alive at the Club by the William Chapman Trophy competition. It is a four ball knock out competition introduced as a major event on the Maccauvlei golfing calendar and was first played for in 1959.

1957 Handicapping Committee shows deep insight
In laying down guidelines for achieving consistency in handicapping the Committee noted, under the heading ‘Grumbling’: “Golfers will ever grumble about their handicaps. That is perhaps to be expected, but the handicapping committee must not allow themselves to be influenced unduly by the Grumblers, otherwise it will be found that the player who grumbles loudest and most often will be getting what he wants and receiving a handicap not in keeping with his true form. There is the “Grumbler” and there is the “Golf Ball” golfer – but there can be only one yardstick for both.