DURBAN COUNTRY CLUB
GOLF Magazine published its rstTop 100 courses in the World list in 1985. Durban CC is one of the elite clubs that have been on the list since the beginning. The iconic landscape of the undulating Durban topography is the catalyst for such lofty global praise.As you walk o the rst tee the land takes over and you enter the gauntlet of humps and bumps along the opening fairway. Much dialogue surrounds the opening ve holes, and the course deserves every ounce of the credit it receives from gol ng critics around the world.
Having spent four days in Kruger National Park, the memories of ‘Elephant Burial Grounds’ returned to my head as I walked the undulating opening stretch at this old masterpiece. Naturally raised landforms and beautifully exposed mounds echo e ortlessly through this gol ng amphitheatre. Not only is the course stunning, but it is a erce test worthy of the national open.
One is easily distracted standing on the elevated tee boxes; however, the treachery that waits below shows little mercy if you
irt with its sharp teeth.The par-3 second is among the nest short holes in the world, followed by the world famous third which has cemented its place on the pedestal of epic par 5s. It’s the poster-child image of DCC, and for good reason.
The par-3 fourth is framed by adjacent mounds and demands a high degree of skill to hit a small target. Depending on wind
toughest par 4 on the course, if not South Africa, with its tight tee shot, lurking hazards and lengthy distance.
It’s not uncommon on certain holes to hit the fairway with your tee shot and have a blind approach due to the magni cent mounds dominating the fairways.The land begins to settle as you move away from the clubhouse, but the quality continues. I con dently suggest that the par-5 eighth is superior to the third, which only fuels the
re of healthy gol ng debate and further promotes the quality of golf away from the colonial clubhouse.
I was enamoured with the par-4 11th, a long dog-leg right that oozes di culty. How could such a beautiful course never let up? That’s the key to success. As an Irishman, I had a wry smile when I heard the story of how the iconic par-3 12th got its regal name – ‘The Prince of Wales’ – following an unfortunate series of events many decades ago on this devilishly perched green.The treachery of this short hole quickly removes the feeling of royalty!
When you look at old photographs from the 1930s and 1940s, you realise how certain holes on the back nine were di erent from how they are presented today. Bunkers have been removed and reshaped, trees have been planted and fairways realigned. The grizzled old architecture critic inside me began to ponder the decisions over time that have impacted such history. Holes like 13 and 14 have changed from the original design when you compare them to old photos, and the disappointing par-3 15th just doesn’t t well with any other hole.
With a determined e ort underway to clear away unattractive, unnatural and unnecessary trees, scrub and bushes, the ability to expose original mounding and return the course (within reason) to how it looked and played in the 1930s can only do Durban CC a world of good.The untapped potential is waiting for a glorious renaissance.
The nishing stretch requires you to fasten your seatbelt as the turbulent topography is back in all its glory.The 17th and 18th are gol ng legends in their own right with wonderful changes in elevation. Hugely moving landforms govern these fabulously rollicking fairways.
Club selection on 18 is almost pot luck as the fate of your golf ball is mostly dictated by the bounce on this ercely mounded fairway.With just 250 metres between you and a well-deserved drink, the 19th hole has never seemed so far away! For keen golfers around the world, a round at DCC is an experience not to be missed.You’ll be met by the country’s warmest hospitality and world class service.