The second Compleat Golfer 5 Star golf day was played at the iconic Gary Player Country Club in near-perfect conditions.
Sun City and golf will forever be intertwined, impossible to separate in the mind of fans of the sport as the resort turns 40 this year. The Nedbank Golf Challenge, or ‘Africa’s Major’ as it is fondly known, will hold its 39th edition in November with Compleat Golfer turning 30 in the same month.
To play a round on the great design is to walk in the footsteps of the greats, although to have one’s name immortalised in stone on the walkway towards the 9th green is reserved for the privileged few.
There’s a lot of golf to be played before one gets there, though. Luckily, the participants in the 5 Star golf day are provided with a few extra balls from Srixon. Playing the course in winter certainly brings more of the hazards into play as firm and fast conditions place a premium on accuracy over length.
The scoring showed that the course is capable of being tamed, albeit only by a select few on a day that saw the professional competition, which included a number of IGT Tour members, go right down to the last few holes. In the end, it was left to the experienced duo of John McClean and Jeff Inglis to duel it out with the former eventually prevailing by a single stroke.
In the betterball competition, father and son combination Darryl and Roy Irvine proved to be too strong for Nic Garner and Don Wolmarans, again a single shot being the difference. The consolation for the runners-up being they will join the sectional winners at San Lameer Country Club for the final showdown in October.
For many, the day was certainly about the golf and the experience of playing the Black Knight’s famous track, with an added bonus being the vast number of surprises, ranging from the welcome hamper to the lucky draws concluding festivities.
All roads now lead to the final qualifier at Pearl Valley, where Compleat Golfer and its partners join forces in the exquisite setting of the Val de Vie Estate.
The Gary Player CC is a walk-only course – unless a medical condition prescribes otherwise – and while you can push or carry your own bag, a caddie is, in most minds, essential to enjoying your round.
Arguably the best in the country, the caddies at Sun City’s two courses have superior knowledge when it comes to the intricate green complexes. Not only do they know every break and double break, but their advice on speed and line is worth at least four to five shots per round. They’ll save you some money too,
as they do their utmost to go in search of a ball struck offline.
Unfortunately, the crocodile enclosure on the Lost City course is off limits even for them, but you’ll be surprised at how many balls they will save you. Well worth the investment in their services.
A pro tip: take their cell number down for when you are next in the area. That is obviously only if they can bear searching far and wide for your precious white, dimpled explorer.