The Clovelly Country Club Story


The idea of a club history has been in the minds of many connected with Clovelly for some time. Those who recall the Club in its early days when it was virtually a club without a clubhouse, and later, in the immedi­ately pre-War years when things were a little easier, during the War years, the post-War years, the post-fire years and so on, are convinced that Clovelly does have, moreover, a ‘history’ which thoroughly deserves the telling.

The writer of the present one has, indeed, told the Chairman that, although the name Clovelly was formerly nothing to her except a suburban railway station ‘somewhere out Fish Hoek way’, she has since realised that its history, for sheer drama, variety, and as a record of progress against seemingly overwhelming odds, beats that of the Crusades, the Norman Conquest, and the Great Trek.

Naturally she would not have been able to carry out this assignment had it not been for the co-operation of a great many people who gave up their time to tell her about the Club in other days. Pre-eminent among these were Mr I Joelson and Dr E Greenwall, together with a great many past Chairmen and others who had assisted in getting Clovelly on its feet, ladies who had been instrumental in building up the ladies’ bowling and golf sections and, of course, Phyllis and Maurice Bodmer. She was also fortunate in obtaining the co-operation of Westlake Golf Club, which made it possible for her to ‘fill in’ many of the details of the Club’s earliest history which would otherwise have been missing.

Our Club historian, Pat Dickson, says that there is very little to say about her – as yet – as she is a career girl who hasn’t had a career, at least not the one she wanted. She describes herself as being ‘on the run from the teaching profession’, having featured in the latter for eight years, first in her home town, East London, and then in the Cape, before she returned to the University of Cape Town to further her studies.

The purpose of this was to obtain qualifications which would enable her to move from high school teaching into teacher-training, but although she finally achieved this goal in 1972, becoming an instructor in a training ­school under the Administration of Coloured Affairs, the writing of two theses (the second being for a Master’s degree, obtained in 1970), in addition to the unexpected success she enjoyed as a free-lance writer of magazine articles during her post-graduate student days, convinced her that she would rather be a professional writer of business histories than a teacher, instructor, or lecturer in anything, to anybody.

In retailing, one speaks of the ‘target customer’.  In bringing out a history of this nature it is hoped to appeal to two kinds of ‘target readers’: the more senior members who actually lived through this history (and who may quarrel with certain details of the story at times!), and the newer members, who found a ‘ready-made’ club, and may have wondered how it got that way.

Clovelly is the embodiment of a certain spirit, compounded not only of good fellowship and a mutual interest in promoting the ends of sport, but also of a special kind of tolerance, and the determination that was needed in days gone by to maintain this good fellowship and this tolerance.

Other clubs may have their histories, but that of Clovelly, like the club itself, is unique. If therefore, those who have joined this Club since World War II would like to know why Clovelly is as it is, one hopes that they will find most of the answers by dipping into the Short History offered here.

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This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

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