BLAIR ATHOLL

Player course re­cov­er­ing its con­di­tion af­ter court rules in favour of home own­ers.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

lair Atholl has gone through try­ing times since the Gary Player design, on the site of his orig­i­nal Gaut­eng home near Lanse­ria Air­port, was ranked No 4 in the 2014 Top 100. As a re­sult this magni cent course, on a low-den­sity golf es­tate with 250 000 trees, has slipped to No 14.

Over the last two years there has been a pro­tracted le­gal dis­pute be­tween the Blair Atholl Home-Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and es­tate de­vel­oper Rob­bie Wray. The home-own­ers went to Ar- bi­tra­tion to suc­cess­fully re­claim the golf course from Wray, who ac­cord­ing to the HOA had un­law­fully trans­ferred the golf course prop­erty from the HOA into his per­sonal com­pany. The de­vel­oper had at­tempted to wres­tle con­trol and own­er­ship of the course, the club­house and the com­mon prop­erty away from the mem­bers with­out their knowl­edge.

Three former Supreme Court judges ruled in favour of the home-own­ers, and or­dered the Wray-ap­pointed board to be dis­solved and the as­sets re­turned. Wray no longer has a say over the man­age­ment of the es­tate, run by a res­i­den­t­elected board and com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing golf.

Dur­ing a lengthy and ar­du­ous pe­riod of un­cer­tainty be­fore the court case was set­tled, club cap­tain Alan Rahme said that the con­di­tion of the course had been ne­glected by Wray. It had taken a se­ri­ous turn for the worse due to lim­ited main­te­nance. The rough grasses ank­ing the fair­ways be­came long and un­kempt, and the bent grass greens su ered with­out reg­u­lar hol­low-tin­ing and verti-cut­ting. Their health was in peril un­til South­ern Turf Man­age­ment ap­plied some in­ten­sive treat­ment last year af­ter be­ing given the con­tract to man­age the course.

The greens are now nearly back to their best, and the cyn­odon fair­ways are re­cov­er­ing.

Blair Atholl is a pri­vate golf club, and their previous pol­icy to­wards vis­i­tors was only to wel­come the guests of mem­bers, not to have vis­i­tor times.

How­ever, Rahme con rmed that a lim­ited num­ber of vis­i­tors would be wel­come on cer­tain days of the week. The R800 green fee in­cludes the half­way house, prob­a­bly the most spe­cial half­way house in the coun­try, out­doors on the banks of the Croc­o­dile River.Vis­i­tors need to email proshop@blairatholl.co.za to re­quest a tee time.

PGA pro­fes­sional Paul Marks, for­merly at Wood­hill, has been ap­pointed as the new di­rec­tor of golf, and he will be set­ting up a golf academy and tment cen­tre.

LONG PAR 3

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