Ever thought about grouping all your favourite holes into one super ‘Dream 18’? Here WADE PRETORIUS designs his standout course.
My ‘Dream 18’ sounded like fun project. The first few holes were easy, but as the course filled up, it became quite tricky to fit in my favourite courses or special holes into just 18, especially when trying to get that mix of playability, difficulty, water and sand.
What became clear is that I have not played nearly enough golf in Johannesburg, none at all in Durban and surrounds and there are still quite a few in the southern Cape that need to be ticked off. It was tough to leave off a few of my favourite tracks but one has to be ruthless in search of the Dream 18.
My selection is unashamedly biased towards courses that I’ve played well at or are fun to play, ones that I have frequented often, ones with stunning scenery, ones that have challenged me and continue to challenge and, of course, there’s a special one that holds great memories.
- It must be a par 72 with four par-threes and four par-fives and a course (only South African) can be only be used once.
- The hole reflected must be the number on the existing course.
- Only courses that you’ve played may be considered.
My Dream 18:
1. George Golf Club (Par 4)
A lovely opening hole that has often opened up a golf tour to the region. The hole is even better when your opponent doesn’t layup, which is always the play. A good spot from the fairway is only half the battle with the uphill approach to a tricky, complex green.
2. Simola (Par 4)
There won’t be many that don’t know this hole; it’s one of the most photographed holes in South Africa. It’s short but you can quickly get into trouble. Remember, you always take a photo and you always hit driver.
3. De Zalze (Par 3)
A ‘looks can be deceiving’ par 3. Miss the green and kiss your par goodbye.
4. Steenberg (Par 4)
I always love arriving at the 4th at Steenberg. Bunkers everywhere, or just about, make this hole much harder than it looks because birdie should be on the agenda or double if you don’t bring your A-game.
5. Pezula (Par 3)
There are a number of great, scenic holes at Pezula but this par-three always entertains. I don’t really subscribe to the long par-three theory but this one works. The last time I played here, I lipped the cup for birdie. Now I just want to go back.
6. St Francis Links (Par 5)
They call it ‘Checkmate’ for a reason. This hole for me is one that really encapsulates what the St Francis experience is all about: hit it long, straight and have an extra ball at the ready. It’s a proper par-five if ever there was one.
7. Humewood (Par 5)
Much like how the 6th describes St Francis, the 15th is a good indicator of Humewood. If the wind isn’t blowing or is behind you, an eagle is available. If you are struggling off the tee or the wind is across or into, then ‘Good Luck’.
8. Pearl Valley (Par 4)
This hole has it all – it’s got views, the intimidation factor with water all down the right, and then such a demanding second shot over the water to a green that seems to shrink whenever I’m ready to take aim.
9. Wedgewood (Par 4)
Both the 9th and 18th are great holes to finish on. A good drive is only half the battle because you have a large water hazard protecting the green. If you haven’t been to Wedgewood (in PE) then you are missing out on some of the best greens in the country.
10. Glendower (Par 4)
A hole that has defeated me on the two occasions I’ve played it. You need a solid drive to take it on in two – anything left or right and you’re laying up – and there are some devilish pin placements on pure greens.
11. Royal JHB East (Par 4)
What a beast. The championship course has its fair share of feature holes but for some reason, the 11th is my favourite. The approach shot really has that Augusta feel to it; it’s picture perfect.
12. Ebotse Links (Par 5)
I’ve only played Ebotse once, but I was mightily impressed. The tee shot is a test and that’s not where the test ends. Every shot places a demand on accuracy and ball-striking. It cost over R10-million to build the hole, and it’s worth every cent.
13. Hermanus GC (Par 3)
A course that flies under the radar and I’m not sure why?! It’s always been in good condition and this hole is a gem. Water. Scenery. Hermanus GC in a hole.
14. Westlake (Par 4)
Always enjoyed golf at Westlake even if my old boy’s side continues to get thrashed by our hosts. This hole is a good chance to make birdie if you keep it on the straight and narrow.
15. Eye of Africa (Par 4)
Part a great stretch of closing holes, this hole plays well over 400m and will test your all round game.
16. Stellenbosch (Par 4)
The 16th sounds easy and maybe it is, if you always hit the ball long and straight. But if you’re wayward off the tee, there’s little hope of saving par. Part of a great stretch of holes on a course that I’ve always enjoyed playing.
17. Port Elizabeth GC (Par 3)
Don’t raise your eyebrows! This is a low stroke par-three that can play very long in the wind, which is usually blowing across the green into the water hazard which is short and down the right. A bunker to the left makes a bailout off the tee not an option. I love walking to the tee here because someone inevitably asks, ‘Isn’t this where you got a hole-in-one?’
18. Montagu at Fancourt (Par 5)
The only way to finish my Dream 18. One of the first few holes on my masterpiece and I just love playing it. Take on the hazard short of the green if you are brave enough. I will return to make birdie there one day.
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