There came a moment during Greystone Golf and Country Club’s 2018 trip to South Africa when Terry Smith thought he might be in a movie. On a visit to MalaMala Game Reserve, Terry and his wife Dottie, along with several other Greystone Members, saw each of the “big five” animals one might hope to see on safari – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and African buffalo – and now there were giraffes and wild dogs too. It was beautiful and almost too perfect to be real.
“It was like that Chevy Chase movie where they said ‘Cue the deer!’, except they were saying ‘Cue the animals!’” Terry remembered, laughing. “It was incredible.”
The safari at MalaMala was just one of the special memories Terry and his wife Dottie still have from the two-week adventure in South Africa. They traveled with 10 other Greystone couples, played golf, ate delicious meals, and made new friends. “It was the ultimate, all-inclusive vacation,” Dottie said. “We didn’t have to worry about luggage or tee times or anything. It was all five-star, and everything was done for us.”
Greystone’s Dave Kuykendall and Greystone’s Director of Golf, Steve Smith designed the trip, partnering with Premier Africa, a leading travel agency. Together, the team planned every detail, including sending a host and hostess to accompany the Greystone Members, so that the personal atmosphere traveled too. “Because of Greystone’s partnership with Premier Africa, we could tell they were going to extra, extra effort to make sure that we had the ultimate experience,” Dottie said. “They went out of their way to make sure we were all taken care of.”
Terry knew he’d love playing golf for the three scheduled days at Fancourt Country Club. It has three courses originally designed by Gary Player, and they are consistently ranked in the top 20 in South Africa. But he surprised himself by enjoying the safari part of the trip just as much as he enjoyed the golf part. “I love to play golf, but I really loved the safari,” he said.
Terry and Dottie are the busy owners of Edgar’s Bakery, which has 10 locations and an online shop. They have traveled internationally before and said that having Greystone and Premier handle all the logistics so smoothly made this trip much more enjoyable. “We’ve raised our children, and while we enjoy our grandchildren, now it’s the time in life when we want to have great experiences,” Dottie said. “Greystone has aligned itself with a company that understands who their clientele is. In the past, we’ve done trips that we would consider high-end trips, but it seemed like one couple had to make all the decisions and arrangements. A lot of effort goes into it.”
But having Greystone and Premier Africa manage all the arrangements meant no worries. “On a 10-day trip with all the clothing and golf bags, there was quite a bit of luggage that they had to manage, plus tee times and dinners,” Terry said. “Premier Africa did an outstanding job.”
Terry and Dottie, who have been Greystone Members since 2004, valued the chance to travel with other Greystone folks. Before the trip, the couples who went were already friends or acquaintances. Afterwards, they were all friends.
“Your group of close friends tends to get smaller as you get older, and not everybody’s priorities are the same when it comes to things you want to experience,” Dottie said. “But when you do something that Greystone has lined up, you're already sort of friends with – at least acquaintances with – all the others there. Greystone recognizes that we all sort of know each other and can travel together. And then that makes the best-of-the-best travel agents want to plan it with Greystone. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
The group from the 2018 trip has stayed in touch with each other. Dottie and Terry missed the night everyone gathered to view each other’s photos but have checked in with their new friends. “Even with just acquaintances, it's a good conversation point for parties and gatherings for people,” Dottie said. “Even if you don’t see them often, you go back and remember those things. Those are nice memories.”
Greystone will soon partner again with Premier Excursions, but this will be when travel loosens up a bit more. Until then, our Members are still enjoying staycations at home sweet home, Greystone Golf & Country Club.