ARABELLA’S COOL SUMMER LOOK
NEW INTEGRATED CONTROL IRRIGATION SYSTEM WILL HAVE ARABELLA LOOKING EVEN BETTER THAN USUAL THIS SUMMER.
Arabella will be looking better than usual this summer.
The Arabella golf resort in the Western Cape will be better prepared than ever this summer for the hot and dry weather conditions expected over the coming months. Investment in a R10-million state-of-theart irrigation system, which was switched on for the first time at the end of last year, should result in a course which is more superbly manicured than ever.
A feature of the new system is that it can be controlled remotely, even from an iPad if necessary. The irrigation now covers the areas which previously dried out in the summer, lending even more beauty and play- able areas to this course, ranked No 5 in Golf Digest’s current Top 100, which overlooks the Bot River Lagoon.
Arabella has undergone several design changes at the same time, notably a new look to the short par-4
16th hole which is part of a magnificent finishing stretch of holes. Course designer Peter Matkovich was called in to look at the bunkering on the layout, and also improve the general playability of the 16th which would largely eliminate the risk of golf balls being hooked into adjoining properties.
Arabella is a resort/estate course, where the housing is set well back from the fairways, but the risk-andreward 16th has been a problem area in recent years. It challenged golfers on both sides of a narrow fairway, and the result was a number of loose shots heading for the houses on the left.
A new elevated tee box on the left side of the hole, and a wider fairway landing area on the right, now encourages you to play your tee shot down the right side of the hole, almost in the shape of a dogleg. The fairway has also been levelled, so balls no longer bounce eagerly towards the boundary fence on the right.
Arabella is renowned for its strong set of finishing holes. In terms of both aesthetics and resistance to scoring, few courses in South Africa can match the four closing holes from 15 to 18. This is a stretch where it’s best to get out of the golf cart and walk as much as possible to enjoy it. Let your partner do the driving!
It begins with the long downhill 389-metre 15th, one of the toughest par 4s on the course, with out-of-bounds all the way down the right. After that, the short 308-metre 16th, with its large green, offers a good birdie chance if you can find the fairway. The 17th is one of South Africa’s best par 3s, demanding a powerful tee shot (175m) to a well-bunkered green which stands elevated above the edge of the lagoon. Around the corner of a hillside sits the tee of the par-5 18th (515 metres), and the final challenge of the round. There’s a generously wide fairway, and the holes curves right following the shore of the lagoon. The fynbos bordering the lagoon is off limits to golfers, being a lateral hazard, but Matkovich has kindly built a long, narrow bunker which follows the right edge of the fairway all the way to the green, offering a barrier against disaster.
The new look par- 4 16th hole.