Five toughest tee shots at
Southbroom Golf Club
with Derek James
SOUTHBROOM Golf Club may be a short course, but if the wind blows, then some of the holes can be especially difficult. David Rush chatted to Derek James about some of Southbroom’s most difficult tee shots on a course that can be quite tricky in the wind.
Here’s a selection of Derek’s top five tee shots you simply have to get right:
1. The tee shot on the par four 3rd if the south-westerly wind is blowing. There’s bush left and houses right. Being a semi-blind shot doesn’t help either. You can take an iron for safety but it doesn’t really help. You simply have to pure one on this hole. Disaster lurks. In the medal you can make a 7 in no time and stand to miss out on the top 32. Gus Bonini, a long-time member at Southbroom, said his hands used to start sweating when he was about an hour out of Johannesburg, on his way to Southbroom for club champs. He couldn’t understand why, then realised it was because he had started thinking about the 3rd hole, or more specifically the tee shot.
2. The tee shot on the par five 6th hole, no matter what the wind is doing. Get it right and eagle is on the cards, but with white stakes and houses on the left and right, plus a hugely sloping fairway, landing it on the closely mown stuff is a good achievement. Superb matchplay hole.
3. The tee shot on the par three 8th hole, made hugely difficult if the south-westerly is around. There’s water short of the green and to the left, but very much in play. Palm trees on the left and right, and a bunker tucked behind a slope on the green. The tee doesn’t face towards the hole, so alignment and club selection are vital. A great hole, but it can bite. The 14th is also a difficult target to hit, but less stressful as there’s bale out short. You can roll it down there and limit the damage.
4. Tee shot on the par five 17th. This is Derek’s personal nemesis where he kept snap-hooking it. “But I’m over that as I no longer hook it!” he said. It’s a fantastic tee shot, and as it’s a par five the guys want to hit it out there, but with admiralty reserve bush down the left and the bunkers on the right, it’s unexpectedly tight. Then there’s the matter of the ‘walking tree’, the one that blew down in a storm years ago and has crept closer to the fairway ever since. It has a habit of trapping any shot with a touch too much draw, especially into the wind.
5. The tee shot on the par four 1st hole is subtly difficult. Tug it left and you’re under those trees, and push it right and you face dropping out of the dams. For an opening hole, it’s hardly a ‘loosener’.
A PIECE of golfing mecca exists between Durban and the CH Mitchell Bridge in Port Edward, where no fewer than 11 courses offer a variety of experiences for golfers of all levels.
Technically, the famed Wild Coast Sun Country Club forms part of the Eastern Cape, but we claimed it long ago.
It’s the jewel in the crown; a rugged jewel yes, but a course offering stupendous beauty and breathtaking views.
In the early days it attracted many of the world’s top golfers, when it played host to the popular Skins game in the 1980s.
There are numerous great holes, but the tee shot off the 12th, nicknamed Green Mamba, is one which thrills.
The likes of multiple Major winners in the late Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price and John Daly have all played here.
Over the Umtamvuna river is Port Edward’s charming 9-hole track, fun to play. Even more fun is to be had in what has been described as one of the friendliest pubs anywhere.
San Lameer Country Club is a beautiful, scenic parkland course, where buck roam and birdlife is plentiful.
Southbroom Golf Club is tucked up almost on the beach in places, with the 114m par three 4th hole, with a panoramic view of the beach and ocean, one of the most talked about holes by anyone who has played the course.
Margate Country Club is just off the highway, with some deceptively difficult par threes, like the 11th, which has a rockery at the back and a waterfall feature in front.
Port Shepstone Country Club is famed for its two distinct nine, with the front woody and secluded, and the back open and subject to the mood of whatever wind might be blowing.
A little inland, you’ll find 9-hole Harding Country Club. It’s a humble track, with the local farmers helping keep it in good nick.
It’s the only course visible from the national highway, and golfers can’t but help take in a second look as they breeze past.
Umdoni Park is a fairly steep course, with some challenging uphill climbs, but this only makes way for some spectacular views of the ocean.
Scottburgh Golf Club is unusual in that it has a par 69 but don’t be fooled, as on a windy day, scoring can be difficult.
The view from the 18th tee, with the clubhouse in sight, is superb.
Umkomaas is the home club to PGA pro Tim Clark and its shortish layout meant he learnt to master the wedge game.
The 13th, a par three from an elevated tee to a raised green can be quite terrifying into a strong wind.