Former tennis star and Wimbledon finalist Kevin Curren is today an outstanding amateur golfer who has represented the KZN senior team at the Interprovincial. He is a member of the Golf Digest rating team, and these were his views on three of our leading courses.
Last October I had the opportunity to play Humewood on five consecutive days at the SA Senior Amateur, and I developed a tremendous respect for the course layout and design. I never appreciated what a gem this course is, especially with the new greens. Playing in vastly different wind conditions each day, and the pressure of tournament play, I gathered a new perspective of this magnificent layout.
What a great test of golf it provides, testing every club in the bag, yet offering multiple options off the tee, approaches and up-anddown shots. Having had such a thorough opportunity to evaluate the course, I would rate it significantly higher than I did a few years ago, and it should be in the top 10, possibly as high as number 6. I rate it a better links layout than Fancourt Links, yet the overall aesthetics and condition of Fancourt is superior and thus scores high.
Having played five days there in the Senior IPT last year, I also have a new appreciation for this course. It has grown in extremely well. It was an ideal course for “match play” and the mark of a great course is never tiring of playing it every day of the week. It is a superb layout. Some holes could be deemed a little harsh with tight fairways and deep rough, yet the variety and risk-reward offerings are enticing. I also found it pleasing to the eye – quite a feat given that designer Peter Matkovich started with a quarry. Possibly too tough for a 15-handicap, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe it should be in the top 20.
The course has improved significantly under the management of Wallington Turf the past 12 months. The greens are developing deep roots and thus a more consistent and pure putting surface. The general presentation of the course is constantly improving with the continual cut-back of vegetation and alien trees, which brings to the fore many of the long hidden outstanding features of the course.
The new eighth tee box has been a revelation and the hole is vastly improved, both visually and playability wise. There is still work to be done in getting the bunkers up to standard (proper drainage and consistency of sand). However, the layout and design are superior to Leopard Creek, Sun City and The Links, and I would have no hesitation in restoring it as the No 1 course in South Africa.