A RICH HIS­TORY

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Telkom Supersport -

The story and in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the idea of the Ex­treme 19th started in Novem­ber 2000. Leg­end has it that the rst time any­body ever landed by he­li­copter on Han­glip Moun­tain was when re­sort founder, de­vel­oper and CEO, Peet Cil­liers, cel­e­brated his 41st birth­day on the moun­tain, as a ‘sur­prise fam­ily pic­nic’ from his wife, Mart. This amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence was the be­gin­ning of the unique ‘he­li­copter break­fast on Han­glip moun­tain’, which many groups and guests from both Entabeni and Leg­end con­tinue to en­joy to this day. When Peet ew a friend by he­li­copter on the moun­tain to share this ex­pe­ri­ence with a sun­downer bot­tle of wine, show­ing him the build­ing of the golf course in progress, he asked: “Now why don’t you also hit a golf ball from here?” An­other glass of wine and it was de­cided to do just that and to make the tar­get a huge green some 400 me­tres be­low.

On rst in­ves­ti­ga­tion, build­ing the Ex­treme 19th seemed im­pos­si­ble to work in prac­tice and the golf course de­sign­ers, who were ap­proached, thought it was a mad idea. Fi­nally the quote given to build the hole was roughly R5-mil­lion - a ‘hefty punt’ to take! Peet, as the de­vel­oper, couldn’t re­sist tak­ing the risk and leap of faith that this would ac­tu­ally work, which be­came one of his best de­ci­sions ever.

Within months it was done. It was de­cided that the hole would be built by a con­trac­tor and over­seen by David Rid­dle, the golf di­rec­tor at the time, who de­signed the green in the shape of Africa. Teams of golfers and as­sis­tants had been em­ployed to be the “guinea pigs” with pro­tec­tive head­wear, in­clud­ing a World War 1 hel­met and mo­tor­cy­cle crash helmets, to plot the po­si­tion of balls hit from the moun­tain with a va­ri­ety of clubs.

All this in the heart of wild African Bushveld, in Big 5 ter­ri­tory. Lions were a reg­u­lar rea­son to take to the trees and stop work.

Af­ter a few months of hard work, a green in the shape of Africa took shape and emerged from the bush. Thus was born one of golf ’s great­est global at­trac­tions.

SHOOTOUT

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