LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

Res­cue for course due to close.

There has been good news re­gard­ing golf cour­ses to start 2017. Gold­fields West in the North West, one of our premier hid­den gems, has been saved from clo­sure af­ter the club went into liq­ui­da­tion. Its res­cuers have plans to up­grade the club­house and course. Som­er­set West are build­ing a new back nine that will be a boost for this old Cape club, founded in 1908.And the body cor­po­rate of Ele­ments Pri­vate Re­serve, one of our best bushveld cour­ses, has plans to re­sus­ci­tate the ail­ing Water­berg Es­tate. Som­er­set West The Matkovich Group have started work on a ma­jor up­grade of the Som­er­set West golf course in the Cape, build­ing 10 new holes in a project that should trans­form an awk­wardly bal­anced lay­out pre­vi­ously set in three dif­fer­ent sec­tions of prop­erty. Golfers had to cross (on foot) both a rail­way line and a high­way to com­plete 18 holes.The sec­tion fur­thest from the club­house has been sold for devel­op­ment, and Matko Group de­signer Louis van der Walt has man­aged to fit eight holes into the area be­tween the rail­way line and high­way, where pre­vi­ously there were four, and re­tained the par of 72 with a to­tal mea­sure­ment of 5 900 me­tres.A storm wa­ter at­ten­u­a­tion pond will be a fea­ture of the new back nine. Noth­ing will be done for now to eight of the older holes around the club­house, which largely form the front nine. Wanderers Golf Club This fa­mous Jo­han­nes­burg course, home of the PGA Cham­pi­onship for more than 20 years from the 1970s to 1990s, is due for rad­i­cal devel­op­ment from 2020 on­wards. Gen­eral man­ager Lenn Flana­gan con­firms that the ex­ist­ing eighth and ninth holes, bor­der­ing Rudd Road, are to be sold to In­vestec for devel­op­ment.A new club­house will be built, plus new holes close to the club­house. Wanderers was once one of the busiest cour­ses in the coun­try, do­ing over 50 000 rounds a year, but mem­ber­ship has de­clined in re­cent years. It is hoped that the changes will ar­rest that. gold­fields west Gold­fields West Golf Club, liq­ui­dated as a busi­ness in Fe­bru­ary, has been res­cued by two con­cerned in­di­vid­u­als, Heinrich du Preez of Rad­i­cal Golf and club mem­ber Han­sVierra, who say they will in­vest in restor­ing it back to its former glory. They be­lieve that this Top 100 course in the North West Prov­ince is too good a golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to be closed down and lost. Gold­fields, a Bob Grims­dell de­sign near Car­letonville, and part of the Cen­tral Gaut­eng Golf Union, was ranked as high as No 47 in 2004. It has since slipped to No 97, hav­ing lost its sub­si­dies from the neigh­bour­ing gold mines that used to sup­port the club. Gold­fields is the epit­ome of a golf­ing hid­den gem, set in beau­ti­ful tran­quil

coun­try­side, with var­i­ous species of buck roam­ing the course. It used to an­nu­ally host the West­ern Transvaal Open for many years, and con­tin­ues to be a chal­leng­ing test. Ele­ments Pri­vate Re­serve The body cor­po­rate of Ele­ments Pri­vate Golf Re­serve in the Water­berg have ac­quired the club­house and com­mer­cial rights from the pre­vi­ous ho­tel group op­er­a­tor. Ian Leach, for­merly at Ze­bula, has been ap­pointed as gen­eral man­ager.They prom­ise to de­liver an im­proved golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at the Lim­popo es­tate that has strug­gled in re­cent years.The 18hole Peter Matkovich bushveld course is one of the best de­signs in the coun­try, al­though it slipped to No 26 in the 2016 Golf Di­gest Top 100 due to con­di­tion­ing is­sues while the es­tate suf­fered in the drought. Good re­cent rain­falls have trans­formed the area.

Body cor­po­rate chair­man Gavin Hart said the wa­ter is­sues at Ele­ments are “now a thing of the past be­cause of the agree­ments we have con­cluded with our neigh­bours to en­sure we have enough wa­ter to ir­ri­gate our fair­ways dur­ing the win­ter months.”The venue will be pro­mot­ing golf, con­fer­ence and wed­ding busi­ness, plus the sell­ing of prop­er­ties.A moun­tain bike track has been built on the re­serve. Ele­ments of­fers self-cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion in the form of 13 rental pool homes.

The par-5 sev­enth hole at Ele­ments Pri­vate Re­serve (above), and open­ing hole at Gold­fields West Golf Club (right).

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