Zimbali Preview
11/23/2010 7:01:42 AM
I will be playing Zimbali this week as part of my summer review season, and from what I hear it not only has excellent facilities and service but provides an exceptional test to the golfer. Stay tuned for further updates, pics and vids. Here is a picture to wet your appetite!
Pinnacle Point
4/2/2007 2:58:02 PM
On the coastal N2 road between PE and Cape Town is the little (or not so little any more) town of Mossel Bay. Now this town is better known for its waves than its golf courses but a recent multi million rand project just outside of Mossel Bay saw the launch of Pinnacle Point, designed by Peter Matkovitch and appearing as a Darren Clarke signature course it really did make me feel like a kid before Xmas. So, you ask... how did I manage to arrange a game with my current pleb status.. simple, my then wife to be phoned up, told them we were going to be on Honeymoon and some wonderful lady on the other side said.. no prob, we'll make a plan! Win, win, first the wife to be (now wife) had arranged a golf game, at pinnacle point, on our Honeymoon and was quite happy to drive the cart!! What a lucky boy I am :) Anyway, onto the course and experience. Driving into the parking lot is nothing special, nice hotel on the right, casino and then a parking lot for people playing at Pinnacle Point. Some gent grabbed my clubs, put them on a cart and with a big smile indicated that I should follow him to the practice range... yes practice RANGE! They have a really decent range, no extra cost.. hit as many balls as you want, to the real greens (not just flags in the ground).. a full chip and putt section finalizes the practice experience. There is a 10 minute drive down to the course by cart and this is where you start to see how magnificent the elevations are. The clubhouse is a spectacle, mounted on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean and back nine on one side and being a 360 degree clubhouse means that you can pretty much see forever. Service was excellent in the bar, proshop staff suffered from their usual expensive course arrogance. But everyone else from the starter to the half way house ladies are exceptionally polite and helpful. The course is majestic, the views are sensational and you need to play this course before you die, seriously. The greens obviously need to grow in a little but I was surprised at how well the course had been constructed, Mr. M did an excellent job of creating drama off the tee. As a mid handicapper there were a number of nervous moments (can I carry that gorge? can I clear that bunker?) but the carries are not as long as they look and the course is a fair test, with a little wind though it will make even the most seasoned pro nervous! Nuf said, make a plan, play this course!
St. Francis Links Review
1/18/2007 5:14:54 PM
I have been dying to play St. Francis since it opened in December and we were lucky enough to get to play there for Dave's Birthday. Yip, Dangerous Dave is another year older... soon it will be time for graphite shafts for his irons... my how time does fly ;) Anyway, onto the course.. initial impressions of the course were wow, nice clubhouse and pro shop... awesome halfway house, everything has been put together with a lot of thought and effort.. The physical course however is intimidating to say the least, we started on the front nine which is definately the tough nine! The first tee shot is either an accurate driver or a really solid Hybrid/3Wood. This will leave you a mid to high iron approach shot onto a tricky multi-tiered green. The greens as a hole were quite slow with lots of undulations and levels. The bunkers are out of a horror book, there is bush in most of them and they really are like playing out of sand dunes! There are a lot of blind shots, either tee or approach and the greens tend to be elevated with bunkers short, left, right and long... lovely ;) As far as distance goes, the course is relatively short from the club tees but will pose a real test from the tips. Overall experience, awesome! Would I spend R600.00 on green fees and another R90.00 on half a cart, doubtful. I think the course should be priced at the R350.00 bracket for SA residents, foreigners can afford the 40 quid :) Carts are optional but I wouldn't recommend walking the course unless you are Bruce Fordyce.

Bushman Sands
10/5/2006 8:28:09 AM
About an hour and fifteen minutes out of PE is the small town of Alicedale, this was pretty much a ghost town until a couple of years back when the Mantis group and Gary Player got together to build the Bushman Sands Resort. I was fortunate to be invited to a golf day there and found it an altogether pleasant experience. The course was built in two stages, front nine or ten holes and then the remainder at a later stage. This definitely influences play as you really are playing two totally different nines. The front nine is a quirky well bunkered nine that you can afford to take an iron/utility off most of the tee boxes, drivers are punished by harsh pot bunkers and close OB markers. The back nine was much more my style, the holes were longer and it felt more like a traditional links just with more elevation. There has been some damage done to the course of late with the recent floods but the course is recovering nicely. My favourite hole was definitely the 590m par 5 16th (i think), it requires a great drive and a great second leaving you with a 130-180m carry for your third over water to a raised green the size of a postage stamp!! I drove the ball really well but my golf brain was not firing on all cylinders and I made a number of bad decisions (3wood off deck, trouble left, trouble right, 220m carry... come on, be a man, OB!!!!). The resort has also invested heavily in the local community opting to train caddies and hotel staff rather than bringing them in from other towns. So, would I pay to play the course again, definitely!! The rates are reasonable and the course is very nice, take the family with and let them have a picnic by the pool while you take on 18!
Flooding hits PE Courses
8/7/2006 12:00:35 PM
The eastern and southern coast was hit by one of the worst rain storms in 20 years, there has been damage reported from George all the way down to East London. On the PE side of things both Humewood and PEGC closed their courses over the weekend with Wedgewood's Dam bursting they look to be closed for at least 2 weeks. So in effect we have had no practice time for the impending tour.... bloody weather!! Anyway, enough doom and gloom.. onto the tour: Tomorrow see's Myself, Dave, Martinus and Gary head off to Sedgefield for the annual golf tour, there is another cold front hitting cape town as I type this so it may be a St Andrews type of golf tour... gale winds, rain and cold. We should be able to survive the tour as I believe the garden route stocks quite a bit of Port/Sherry ;) The format for the tour is 4 seperate golf days, each day is 4ball better ball and I have prepared by buying loads of golf balls!!! Hopefully my golf will be better than of late if not I can focus on my beer drinking talents.

British Open - Royal Liverpool
7/19/2006 11:16:35 AM
After his tremendous season thus far Trevor Immelman has pulled out of the British Open, his wife is due to give birth on the 27th of July and he has opted to be with her instead of play in the open. As an avid golfer I can only imagine the level of soul searching he went through before pulling out of the open, good for you Trevor, tough call but the right call! On a different note, there is a lot of talk about the course being too short, many have nicknamed the course the Royal Out of Bounds due to all the OOB areas off the tee, I for one can't wait to see what strategy the pros are going to use.. certainly the longer hitters will not be opting for driver off the tee on the shorter, trickier holes?? Who knows? Phil the Thrill is taking a rest day today and reckons he has put in more than enough practice time and knows exactly what shots he is going to play, that is of course until the caveman within takes over on the 18th... hahahah.... Enjoy the open, good luck to the SA guys left in the field.. My money as always is on Retief, maybe Ernie too will suprise us??

Wedgwood Country Club
10/26/2005 3:59:34 PM
Just over 20 minutes outside of PE there is a ex championship golf course called Wedgwood. It has the most amazing layout and I have had some of my most memorable games there, they are in the process of possibly building an estate there but they still have a number of plots to sell before building will commence. The course itself is a long one, add wind to the equation and it becomes daunting!!! The major hassle with the course of late is that it is dry, now I'm not talking moderately dry I'm talking sand dry! The greens look like bunkers and the fairways are one big sand trap... what's more is that it is marginally cheaper for me to play there as opposed to Humewood or PEGC. The carts (trust me, you need one) are also expensive at R120.00 per cart and they have some refurbed 1970's model carts to boot. So, great course just overpriced at the moment and in bad condition... come on guys, water the course and drop your golf fees and I am sure that dead parking lot will be packed in no time!

8/24/2005 3:16:12 PM
One of the courses I was the most excited about playing was Ernie Els's new signature course, Oubaai. This was the last course we played as part of the golf tour and the weather was definitely against us on the day, the course is a links style course high up on the cliffs above Herolds Bay just outside George and the wind was gusting at about 35-45km's per hour... It was another shot gun start and we were lucky enough to tee off on the 6th hole which is featured on the picture. What you can't see on the picture is any balls on the green, that's probably because they are all in the bush short, right and long! The wind on this hole was blowing left to right and I aimed a 3 wood way left and watched the ball bounce happily off the green into the abyss below. So with 5 balls down in the 4 ball we were not off to a good start. The course itself is very new and needs to grow into itself, the greens were superb but I was not impressed by the fairways and the tee boxes. The clubhouse is fantastic and the proshop was great, just take your Amex black card with you. The layout was arguably the best on the tour and I really enjoyed the challenge, the one strange thing I found was that all the rakes had a Please Replace in Bunker sign on them, I have always thought that rakes need to be outside of the bunker... but I am not going to argue with Ernie.. especially with a sore knee. So does it get the must play status, definitely!
8/15/2005 11:38:44 AM
Day 2 of the tour arrived with much anticipation, we were off to play Pezula (ex Sparrebosch) in Knysna... Pezula is located on the east of Knysna's heads right next to the sea which makes for spectacular vista's and a beautiful course. On arrival our clubs were taken to our named carts and we spent some time on the putting green to warm up. The carts at Pezula are fitted with the most awesome GPS system you have ever seen, you can check exactly how far it is to each hazard, to each green and more importantly to each hole.. You can also see how far your drive went and how far the cart in front of you is so you don't injure a slow four ball! The service is out of the world and the Golf Director Jeff Clause (a fellow golf nut) was extremely friendly and personable... but enough about the brilliant atmosphere and fantastic service and onto the course.. well words cannot describe how brilliant this course is, the tee boxes looked like greens, the fairways were magnificent and a number of 50cm divots were dispatched into the air and the greens were fast and receptive.. lot's of backspin and really nice to putt on. The GPS system also helped a lot as it was the first time I had played the course and the distances were incredibly tricky, lots of carries and raised greens to contend with. I definitely want to go back and play the course a second time, I would also like to stay in the newly built Pezula Hotel and Spa... but at 5k per person per night that will have to remain a distant dream ;)
8/10/2005 1:12:05 PM
Finally, the golf tour has arrived.. we set off on Friday afternoon to Knysna late afternoon and arrived in time for some beers and a braai at Belvedere in Knysna. We stayed in a friend of a friend's house, Barry.. an absolutely stunning place overlooking the Knysna lagoon. The nerves were on edge and everyone was anxious about the next day at Simola, would my driver be working and my irons broken, or would my putter go on the fritz? Needless to say I slept about three hours and arose bright and early for the day ahead.. The drive up to Simola is a spectacular one, you wind your way to the top of the hill above Knysna and I must say that the photos don't do the place justice at all.. it really is stunning with huge elevations overlooking Knysna and the sea in the distance. The course itself is awesome, a true challenge with fast and slopy greens that are quite firm (tricky to attack the pin with a low iron) and well contoured fairways. The course is quite long (for me) and the carts were not allowed to go everywhere so prepare for a decent walk, or a really long one if you are spraying the ball all over the place.. We had a good round there with Kev and Ryan playing well while Kurt and myself battled a bit (me more so than Kurt). I recommend this course with no hesitation; just beware of errant golf shots crossing the fairways as this can become dangerous :) My favourite hole is number 2 with a hugely elevated tee you can almost drive the green with a monster drive, I left mine about 80m out and missed birdie after putting my approach wedge close, bugger! Congrats to all the guys that one prizes, Murray walked away with closest to the pin, about 8 inches from the hole!!
Fish River Sun
7/25/2005 10:15:54 AM
Murphy's Law, every good golf game needs to be followed by at least five bad ones, each bad game needs to have different components that malfunction.. Ie, Game 1: Driver goes on the fritz, Game 2: Inability to putt anything further than 2 inches, Game 3: Chipping is now impossible, Game 4: Irons fail to hit ball first, either ground first or topping of ball mandatory and finally Game 5: A mixture of the first four problems. Well this weekend fell into Game 1 category, my usually reliable driver must have been bent on the trip because it had a nasty tendency to power slice every shot... the upside is that I contributed to the local economy to the tune of 6 ProV's! But bad golf aside, Dave and I played one of the best courses in the eastern cape.. rated number 22 on the GolfDigest best S.A courses. The weather was perfect, the greens were running at 10.5 to 11 on the stimpmeter and the course was immaculate. The best way to describe the Fish is unique; there are bunkers with trees in them and Aloes in the middle of the fairway (not a problem for me as the fairways were eluding me). The elevations are fantastic and there are a couple of nice water carries to contend with, one on a par four were you tee off over the "old woman" river and then a par five coming back were you either lay up to cross the river or brave it in 2 (I laid up and then pushed my approach into the river, brilliant strategy). On the whole a great experience, the staff are really friendly and the hotel is comfortable with great food at the Wahoo restaurant. Take a couple of extra balls with just in case Murphy visits you ;)
Hanky Golf Club
7/26/2005 2:24:30 PM
Just over twenty minutes outside of PE there is a small 9 hole golf course in Hankie. The town itself is in the middle of Citrus country (Cue banjo music from Deliverence) but go slowly otherwise you won't only miss the turn off to the golf course you will miss the town ;) The course is in really good condition thanks to a dedicated greenskeeper and his team. The people are friendly and they found my broken Afrikaans quite refreshing. Debs and I played there during the week and there were a couple of other locals enjoying the hot winter weather on the course. The first hole is my favourite; with a serious amount of bush on the right and an elevated tee it makes for a good nerve tester! Debs smashed her drive down the middle, I played for my customary power fade and powered it straight for a change to the left side of the fairway. Needless to say the woman beat me by sinking a monster putt (beginners luck;). The course is cheap, and really worth the trip if you are in the area.

Humewood Golf Club - PE
7/18/2005 11:03:18 AM
This has to be one of my favourite courses and definately my favourite PE course and no not just because I have recorded my best score here... Humewood is a traditional links course located along the Port Elizabeth coast line, the course is in immaculate condition and sports one of the most friendly 19th holes in the country. But back to the course, a 6225 metre course from the mens tee box that has some of the trickiest holes in creation. Some have called the course easy without wind but I have never experienced that, the course has a different feel every time you play it and the greens can be tricky to read. Throw a little wind into the equation and the course takes on a life of it's own, be prepared to lose a number of balls if your driving is not up to scratch. Course highlights are the 408m par 4, this hole is ranked as one of the top 500 holes in the world. If you are playing into the wind you will be lucky to walk away with a 5, many a good score has been devastated on this hole. The other hole I really enjoy is the Par 3 14th, a short par 3 at 145m but always tricky, fast green well protected and elevated so an errant tee shot is going to require a godlike chip to save par. The only negative about the course is the half-way house, the stools are located too close together and the menu is limited to pie, cold burger or sarmie. Come on gents, let's put an english brekky on the menu! So I'm sure you are curious about my best score (or not), well for the record it's an 88 off a 19 handicap.. not bad for a hacker ;) Good caddies at the course that I have used, Joseph ,Tony and my mate Dave recommends Philip.

Wild Coast Country Club
7/15/2005 4:03:32 PM
In January myself, Dave and the two girls went up to the Wild Coast Sun for Dave's birthday.. We drove from PE through Umtata, what a terrible trip.. dodgy roads, dodgy traffic next time we will definately fly to Durbs and then rent a car! But I won't let the long trip detract from what is arguably the finest golf course I have had the pleasure to play on. Everything there is well maintained (except the hotel, but I was more concerned about the golf anyway). There are ground crews that shoot around repairing your divots and ensuring the course is kept at championship level. The fairways where better than some greens I have putted on and the course layout was fantastic, lots of elevated tees, brilliant hazards a true pleasure to play. Favourite hole on the course was the Par 3 13th aptly named the Waterfall as it has a waterfall to the right of the whole and a huge void between the tee box and the green. On one day it was an easy seven iron and the next day into a howling wind we needed drivers! The final hole is an elevated tee shot where you have to cross about 200m of water, not too bad with a driver, but throw some wind into the equation and you will be doing a bit of a John Daly over extension trying to wind up enough to get over! The clubhouse overlooks this whole and there is a bell you ring for unlucky souls who don't make it over, Dave rang the bell three times for the two ball behind us... they clearly where not amused and where not shy to use some advanced sign language.. The clubhouse was also really nice, awesome view over the course, good halfway house chow and cold beer! Definately a course worth playing if you get the chance.
The Open
7/14/2005 8:58:33 AM
Well it's that time of the year again, the British Open kicks off this morning and I see Ernie has 10.5 - 1 odds on winning it. I hope his form improves and he takes it this year, I don't think I can handle another Us-open Retief-like dissapointment ;) Check out the site, it has live webcams, course flyovers and a really cool online store to pick up your St. Andrews memorobilia
7/13/2005 5:10:07 PM
As you may of guessed this is Mark's golf blog! I am an avid hacker based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa... My aim on this blog is to give you an insight into the magic game of golf through my eyes, I will review courses, equipment as well as have some travel specials and a little instruction along the way. Enjoy ;)
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