Vaughn Groenewald returns to the Wild Coast Sun this week to defend his Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge a year on from last year’s shortened course drama.
It’s the third in this year’s Sun International series of four tournaments at their great resorts around the country, and the tournament was played there last year over a shortened course because six of the nine greens on the back nine were vandalised by protesters involved in a conflict with Sun International, which has since been resolved.
Groenewald won last year’s tournament in a four-way playoff from Adilson da Silva, Darren Fichardt and Hennie du Plessis. The quartet finished on 16-under-par 194 after play was only possible on the front nine of the course.
It was opened in 1983 with many insisting that this coastal course is one of the most beautiful golf destinations in South Africa. However, the course offers more than just pretty fairways and well-kept greens. Course architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr made every effort to use the natural topography and geography of the region to its fullest. The result? A one-of-a-kind course that blends in with its natural surrounds.
It’s a par-70 playing at 5,329 metres, and is constantly one of the highest-rated courses in the country. It extends over rugged terrain along the Indian Ocean. Right from the opening hole, which sweeps down towards a lagoon, to the 18th with the Indian Ocean as its backdrop, the course makes for a great challenge for the professionals.
Justin Rose won his second professional title on the course when he took the 2002 SA Masters title by one stroke from Titch Moore.
Photo: Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images