Sun City course no more Mr Nice Guy

2012-11-10 20:51

The 12 men competing at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club could be in for a rude awakening.

The once-easy course will have more pitfalls than it usually does.

The organisers have ensured that the lush 18-hole course, on which the star-studded contestants will do battle over four excruciating days for the R10.7 million first prize, is unforgiving, with many tricky new holes on the new course.

After playing in the media golf day this week it was clear that competitors in “Africa’s major” will have their work cut out for them as the greens have been designed deliberately to test their skills.

Four holes in particular – the 6th, 14th, 17th and 18th – stand out as particularly difficult and by far the toughest on the course.

They will be the players’ worst nightmares because of the hazards and awkward pin positions thought up by the course designer.

Reaching the green of the 6th will be unpleasant as the narrow fairway is surrounded by thick bush.

Most of the players will struggle to reach the green with a decent score because of the bunker on the edge of the hole.

And on the 14th, a par 5 is one of the longest. It is characterised by heavy grass and a thick, deep rough with trees just metres from the tee box.

Players will struggle to score birdies or eagles as there is a huge island bunker on the edge of the green to make play even more challenging.

The 17th, with a huge dam on the side, requires the first shot be laid up on the fairway in the 150m distance, otherwise the ball will find the water or land in the deep rough.

Getting to the green on the water’s edge with a second shot won’t be easy either as there is another hazard – a deep bunker – to contend with.

The 18th green, where huge crowds usually pack the grandstand, swerves towards the left with a huge water stream in the middle.

Most of the shots could easily land up in the water en route to the green.

With the hole situated right at the edge of the green, it won’t be easy to avoid landing in one of the deep, big bunkers on the edge of the hole.

Englishman Lee Westwood secured a comfortable seven-shot lead to win last year, but it will be a different ball game altogether this year because of the thought-provoking questions posed by the new course.

Gary Player Golf course

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