St Francis Links Villas – Interview with Adrian Gardiner and Jeff Clause

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Adrian Gardiner founder of the Mantis Group

“Whilst working with the St Francis Links team over these past couple of years, my team and I have developed an appreciation for the value of this pristine estate, its standards and ethos. We are excited to bring an exclusive and limited opportunity to enhance the already established and growing choice of residential options on the estate.”

“With the Mantis philosophy of Man And Nature Together Is Sustainable, matched with this beautiful setting, the St Francis Links Villas will cater for a discerning client looking for comfort, views, luxury, security, health and lifestyle choices. It has been a pleasure engaging with the Links developers and board, Jeff Clause and his exco team and it is now my pleasure to introduce you to this project.”

Jeff Clause CEO St Francis Links

“At the Links, we focus on the experience anticipating our guests’ needs from the hot cappuccino and daily course set-up to fresh towels on the cart when the rains come. We thrive on hosting events for the members, our visitors and guests. Our championship course has received multiple accolades and we have worked hard over the years, on playability for better enjoyment. We also strongly believe that every person who comes through our gate is a potential new homeowner, ambassador or returning guest. Our world is all about hospitality and providing it around a game we all love. For me, 1 September marked the start of my 30th year in SA. I am American by birth, and South African by choice! We have spent the last 15 years building the “brand” know as St Francis Links, which is now not only a destination for world-class golf, but growing as the choice for family living. It is working!”

St Francis Links Villas Q&A:

Who is developing the St Francis Links Villas?

AG: My professional development team and I are very excited about this opportunity to develop a truly unique lifestyle product in accordance with the Links guidelines and town planning controls.  Known for our quality hospitality and sectional title developments, owning a unit within this Sectional Title Scheme will also offer various benefits including:

  • 20% discount off published rates at all other Mantis properties in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • St Francis Links club membership and associated benefits
  • Access to Leisure Centre by way of property ownership
  • Preferential rates for owners when utilising the services of Medwell SA

How do the services of Medwell SA feature in this development?

AG: A wellness centre will cater to holistic health care, provided by the professional team of Medwell SA. Residents will also benefit from managed home health care solutions as an alternative to long term hospitalisation and care in specialised facilities.

JC: Services on offer at St Francis Links Villas will be available to residents of all ages from antenatal to the elderly, with the aim to provide patient centred care with an emphasis on the clinical needs and requirements as well as the personal needs of the patient and family.

Can you talk through the current rankings of the course and where it features in the country?

JC: I think one of the most rewarding things for me is that this golf course has evolved in the many ways designer Jack Nicklaus wanted it to evolve. But I think it has done so in a way even he may not have expected. On the night of the launch in December 2006, he said that this may be the best golf course he has ever seen. The next morning we asked him whether he said it was the best course he has ever designed, and he said, “No, its better than that.  It may be the best golf course I’ve ever seen.” But interestingly, I too looked at the Links original developers and told them that they were about to open the best new golf course in the country. Our course went on to win the “Best New Course in SA” award that year. And it has been my mission to take it from strength to strength because I love tournament golf and I love quality golf. We have a great superintendent and team and we have gone from best new golf course in the country, to top ten, to top five and now top four! We are inches away from the top and we welcome the pressure to create a truly memorable experience.

For information about St Francis Links Villas, click here.

You have just touched on synergy and teamwork and is that a reason as to why Adrian was approached to consider developing the Villas?

JC: Adrian and I go back a long way – all the way back from Fancourt in the early 90’s – and his working relationship with my wonderful wife who is a big contributor to all things developing at the Links along with the evolution of our teams has been incredible, very positive and rewarding.

It is easy to throw praise both ways, because we also want to be involved with the Mantis group. I think back to when Adrian opened Shamwari and have watched the quality of this brand and we share the desire to match quality with quality. We have great synergy, and this is a great relationship! It becomes apparent that we are taking into account everything that Mantis and St Francis Links stand for. My team and I protect nature and Adrian shares the same vision.

“Quality Course with a quality Developer will certainly deliver a quality product.”

What contribution to sustainability and the environment will this development bring?

AG: Mantis, together with our partner Accor have established a non-profit organisation, the Community Conservation Fund Africa. As developer, I have committed to contribute to this fund for the benefit of the local St Francis community and to ensure the development achieves their standards including the Mantis impact practises. For further information, visit

JC: To retain and enhance the beautiful views across the 18th hole, natural berms will be established and planted with fynbos vegetation as per the Links approved plant lists.  St Francis Links is also completely water self-sufficient, and we are in process of launching our own solar plant. Fibre is also available to all residents allowing for world-class connectivity for residents working from home and staying in contact with family and friends.

Have the plans been approved, when is construction due to commence and what are the estimated timelines until completion?

AG: Yes, all plans have been approved by the Links and Kouga Municipality and are available for viewing. Various processes need to be completed (such as NHBRC enrolment etc) before site handover which is anticipated to be at the beginning of July 2022. The entire development will be constructed in one phase and is estimated to take no longer than 18 months. 

JC: We strive to have this development complete prior to our third hosting of the South African PGA Championships, due to be held in November 2023.

PGA tournament at the Links?

JC: We are honoured and thrilled to host the annual PGA Championships at St Francis Links for the next 2 years in November 2022 and 2023.

AG: As you know I am also involved with another Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course at Pearl Valley, which has also consecutively been voted in the top five golf courses in the country. I have a love for the sport, dating back to my relationship with Ernie Els, as his father and I were in business for 30 years. I also have a great relationship with Gary Player, which obviously comes from his brother Ian Player, who was a huge inspiration in my conservation endeavours.

How has COVID-19 affected the decisions in establishing this development?

AG: Traditional hotels aren’t and haven’t been viable for a long time and the hospitality market has changed in recent years and especially since Covid-19, with the discerning traveller now expecting more than just a hotel room. A workspace, entertainment area and self-catering facilities are now more attractive for short visits and longer stays.

JC: Owners and occupants, whether family or tenants of these units, have use of the clubhouse facilities. Rather than a conventional hotel, the design of this development lends itself to a convenient long stay or lock up and go lifestyle and will enhance all Links offerings. With the Mantis experience in hospitality on 7 continents in the world, the Links board believes that they are best suited to develop this exciting new aspect of the Links.

For information about St Francis Links Villas, click here.

What added value does this exclusive development bring to this prestigious course and estate?

AG: Covid has changed our thinking a lot, especially with regards to lifestyle living and the hospitality world. As a witness to how our lives, workspace, emphasis on security and healthcare have become more prevalent, this project emphasises how lifestyle living has adapted. I am very proud to be involved in developing on the Links and believe this is most exciting due to the various elements brought together harmoniously complementing each other. It is truly unique!

JC: Covid has brought a complete relaunch of ourselves, and we have seen many more people relocating here, young couples, families with children and retirees. When you start to think about what St Francis Links and St Francis Bay offer, not only for the people living on the estate, but the people who will be living in this development, whether it is a young mother or even a grandmother, that element of holistic medical care, lifestyle choices, sustainability and connectivity available … this is a great benefit to all.

“We have partnered with an incredible team to create something exceptional.”

What will be developed?

JC: This development provides multiple offerings with the right size homes, from a one-bedroom apartment all the way to a luxury villa. This is the right element going forward and we are very excited! 

AG: A Sectional Title Scheme in accordance with the Sectional Title Scheme Management Act whereby a purchaser may purchase a unit in the scheme:

  • 12 One-bedroom apartments
  • 6 Two-bedroom apartments
  • 14 Free-standing villas
  • 1 penthouse apartment
  • Wellness Centre

How does the St Francis Links Villas development tie into the Links membership?

JC: Everybody who owns property here is a member and it ties in perfectly. That is how it works in our framework, everybody becomes a member. Property owners have the advantage of having access to this wonderful golf course and all the facilities on the estate. Everything from walking and cycling trails, leisure centre with heated pool and gym and clubhouse being the closest facility to their home. As we move forward, we see a significant growth in the estate and having this development overlooking our 18th fairway and the village beyond, is going to be something truly special.

What rights do owners of units have and what do they pay?

AG: St Francis Links Villas property owners will pay levies and subscriptions to their own Body Corporate, which in turn is responsible to pay the St Francis Links HOA portion of such levies and subscriptions on a monthly basis. 

JC: Each owner will be a member of the Club, whether he or she plays golf or not. Property owners, their spouse and children under 21 years of age will have access to the Leisure Centre which include a heated pool and gym. Our Club also caters for functions. In addition, we will also be expanding our offering on the Links with more family focused facilities envisioned to include a multi-sport surface where one can enjoy a large range of team and individual sports, as well as padel ball courts, braai facilities, outdoor gym, a second pool and leisure facility, sand pit, pump track and the like. Our team are preparing the proposal to our Board as we speak..

AG: The costs over and above the Body Corporate levies are

  • Rates and Taxes determined by Kouga Municipality
  • Subscriptions (DSTV, telephone and Wi-Fi/Fibre)
  • Housekeeping / domestics
  • Alarm monitoring

For information about St Francis Links Villas, click here.

Can the owners rent out their units?

AG: Yes, owners can live in their units and rent them out when not in use on a short or longer term basis, which is perfect for those families living between countries or simply looking for a holiday escape. The Body Corporate will ensure the appointment of professional service providers to manage rentals, allowing owners to simply enjoy the benefits of owning and using their property as and when desired.

What about access control to this development?

JC: Vehicular access and parking will be available at each unit, with visitor parking also catered for. A new access and egress boom gate will be established at the entrance to the Villas development.

“My advice to buyers is that it is a limited offering, so get in fast!”

What is your view on the price point of the variety of options to choose from?

JC: The price point is exceptional for the finished product, views, security, location, sound infrastructure and variety of facilities an owner has access to. A benefit of buying a St Francis Links Villa, is that you only pay a 10% deposit to secure your unit. There are no levies, rates and taxes, transfer duty, professional fees or construction headaches, timelines, and cost inflation to worry about. This is a full turn-key solution from start to finish with furniture packs available (at an extra fee), and you are only liable for levies, rates and taxes from date of transfer. I don’t believe that there is any other turn-key development in our area which compares with the quality facilities, views and security on offer here.

AG: Absolutely, when comparing the costs of purchasing an erf and carrying all the costs over the period for planning and construction, you are purchasing at today’s price and avoiding any further inflation. We carry all the costs until you take transfer.

  • One-bedroom apartments from R1 950 000
  • Two-bedroom apartments from R3 850 000
  • Freestanding Villas from R5 250 000

For information about St Francis Links Villas, click here.

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