Monday, 22 October 2012

Courses I've played: Eye of Africa 7.5/10

This course has so much going for it - a stunning design that makes use of the terrain within which it lives, challenging grainy greens (when they are not hollotined) and somewhat spectacular views.

Unfortunately, its also way out of town, barely has any pre and post round facilities to speak of and it appears from their attitude that some members of the staff would rather be elsewhere. This is a development crying out for its investors to put more money in, to keep up with the stunning (and some not so stunning) houses going up around the course (look to Copperleaf as an example).

That being said, I had a great time playing the course (my second outing) and would gladly take the hour drive south of Joburg again. As mentioned above, the course looks stunning and requires some careful shot making in order to negotiate your way round. It is short by comparison to some of the newer courses in Gauteng and the fairways are quite generous in places but if you hit a long ball and try to overpower the course, you will find yourself in trouble more often than not.

The feature hole for me has to be the par 4, stroke 1, 3rd - a tricky little bugger were you can run out of space to the left, to the right and thru the fairway (if the wind is blowing), with bunkers and out of bounds to be avoided on the left, a hazard running the entire length of the right hand side of the fairway with a raised green for your approach shot. Played off the tee with a driver, you won't have much more than a 9 iron in for your second, but it is uphill (you often won't see the bottom of the pin, on the tiered green) and you have to come in over the hazard. Walking off with a par is very satisfying.

From a looks perspective, I would go for the par 3 16th, a steeply downhill hole, with a game reserve off to the left, a koppjie behind and non-intrusive houses to the left. It looks easy off the tee box but there are bunkers to catch you out and a false front that deals with anything short.

The only reason it falls short from an overall rating perspective is due to the aforementioned lack of facilities and attitude of some of the staff. A move to the large farm house (instead of living in the stables) would make a world of difference. Also trying buying some new buckets for the range, the broken ones look crap.