On Friday, 29th December, we are again hosting the Hat and Hound Classic Golf Day in St Francis. This event has been a tradition for over 20 years. All the funds generated go to the Eastern Cape Transplant Sports Association to support our athletes participating in the SA Nationals and the World Transplant Games every two years. The following Nationals will be in Cape Town in September 2024. The World Transplant Game in Dresden, Germany, in 2025.

History of the event.

Our family home in St Francis Bay has a bar called the Hat and Hound. A tradition since day one has been that if you sit inside the bar, you have to wear a hat. (To date, we have collected over 300 hats from around the world). We also had a beautiful golden retriever called Oscar, the hound behind the name. Oscar became well known around St Francis. He would take himself to the beach, swim, catch some waves, and make his way home!

Pub For Drink

One lousy windy day in December 1997 we were sitting at home bored out of our skulls, and the wind was howling. We decided to head to Hankey Golf Club for a round of golf. We mustered 12 golfers for the day, had a blast, and returned to the pub for drinks. There is an ornament in the pub, and while having drinks, we decided it would be the day’s trophy. Someone shouted, “Hat and Hound Champion.”

Local Township

The following year, my dad, John Ferrans, decided to take it to the next level and create a feel-good factor for the day. So we decided to support the local township kids’ school. Each golfer brought an old shirt and received a new one. Thus these shirts were given to the kids. We carried this tradition for four years. All through that time growing the number of golfers to around 40 – 50.

Hat and Hound Classic

We then decided to spread the love to charities in the area. Firstly, we decided to support the local SPCA and again grow the field. The field was up to around 60 odd golfers, and a healthy cheque was handed to SPCA. This went on until 2007. In 2008, we had a break as my dad fell quite ill.

In 2008, my dad qualified to represent SA at the World Transplant Games at Golf. He was set to represent his country in August 2009 in Gold Coast, Australia. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make it to that date and never got to live his dream of representing his country. Dad Passed away in March 2009 after his liver rejected from the transplant. Be that as it may, we, as a family, then decided to support the SATSA (South African Transplant Sports Association). So we continued to raise funds from the day to fund athletes who have qualified to represent SA but could not afford the trip due to costs.

100 Golfers

2009 was the first year that we supported them, and the field grew to over 100 golfers. Since then, we have kept this contribution the same. Each year, we raise money for the association through the golfer’s entry fee. Since 2015, when the Eastern Cape Region was formally constituted as ECTSA, we have supported them. To date, we have raised over R 350k for these athletes to be able to live their dreams. 

This year (2023), on Friday, 29th December, we will have about 130 golfers playing at the St Francis Bay Golf Club. So, we hope to raise R140000 for the Eastern Cape Transplant Sports Association. A tradition we know will continue deep into our lives!

James Ferrans

See also: Eastern Cape Transplant Sports Association