17 November 2003 marked the opening of a game-changing destination in South African golf. If you've ever had the privilege of visiting Pearl Valley at Val de Vie you'll know that it all starts with the drive into the estate. One cannot help but get the feeling that you're about to experience something special.
While I cannot tell you how many times I've tee'd it up at Pearl Valley, I can tell you that, without fail, every time feels like something truly special. The drive from the main road to the clubhouse parking area already fills one with the sense that what happens from here is designed to create memories in perpetuity. Pearl Valley is a reminder for me of what one should always be striving for - to realise potential.
The team that makes this evocative experience happen will be the first to tell you that they are yet to reach their mark but it is this mentality that eliminates complacency and drives a relentless and indefinite endeavour to make yesterday the yardstick that must be bettered. Pearl Valley's success is not a function of a beautiful clubhouse or an exceptional Jack Nicklaus signature layout, it is the bi-product of a collective that never compromises on the belief that tomorrow is a chance to be better than we were today.
Leading the Pearl Valley team is General Manager, Damian Wrigley. Under Wrigley's understated, unassuming, attentive and ambitious eye, the individuals within this team have been given a sense of purpose and meaning in terms of their daily roles and responsibilities. While we as humans have our good and bad days, you will never see Damian giving anything less than his full consciousness to engagements with members and staff alike. Both the golf division, lead by a huge up-and-coming talent, Jaco Coetzee, as well as the food and beverage operation, now under an impressive in-house leadership group, are focused on delivering industry-setting levels of recognition, attention to detail and overall value to members and guests of the estate.
A truly memorable experience, one which lives with us indefinitely, happens when we connect on an emotional level with the place and the people. It is not so much about being perceived as the best but rather being perceived as the absolute favourite. When we become the favourite, our reason for wanting to return goes beyond a quantifiable justification. This is the power of true connection. This is X-factor.