Golfing gurus pick SA’s top courses

2012-12-16 10:00

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Local gems offer great variety and have become tourist magnets.

With the festive season upon us, golf lovers will be lining up on courses to do what they love most and shake off the stress of a hectic year.

Players – whether amateur or professional – are spoilt for choice on where to play.

Dale Hayes – the three-time PGA Championship winner, SA Open winner and World Cup winner – has listed his top 10 golf courses in the country.

His choices are supported by Theo Manyama, the Sunshine Tour’s tournament director.

Heading the chart of what Hayes calls the best three signature courses are Leopard Creek Golf Estate in Malelane, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban Country Club and Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg.

A designer course is a top-class set-up in which one signature – or several – of an international golfing icon is inscribed on the club house.

“These three courses are the finest and give the country a good name globally because they have been professionally designed to suit the needs of both amateur and professional golfers,” said Hayes, who is actively involved in the game as a master of ceremonies at various events.

About Leopard Creek, Hayes explains that the course is a truly “African gem”.

“Besides being situated alongside the Kruger National Park, the condition of this set-up is spectacular as the players always enjoy seeing wild animals around,” said Hayes, a man who claimed titles in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Colombia and France during an illustrious career as a player.

Hayes believes the Durban Country Club has a rich history and tradition, while Glendower Golf Club is Joburg’s best, with magnificent trees bordering most of the fairways.

He said all the top 10 courses acted as a magnet for overseas tourists, who are eager to enjoy a great round of golf.

In Hayes’ top 10 are courses he simply refers to as jewels. He describes them as “cool”.

Manyama says all these classy venues bode well for the image of the country in world golf.

“They are challenging to players, especially with regards to the putting surfaces that make competition very intense because the greens are extremely well looked after,” said Manyama, who officiated in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club three weeks ago as the rules official.

With local courses enjoying such praise, there is no doubt more top players will be unearthed in the country in future.

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