THE ELS CLUB COPPERLEAF – GAUTENG
This modern Gauteng golf estate has flourished in recent years with the expanding population to the west of the region. Close to a major highway, the N14, its residents commute to divergent areas of Gauteng, particularly Centurion and Sandton. It is the first and only Els Club in South Africa, and the estate was built on land once owned by Ernie Els’ grandfather, Ernie Vermaak.
The mainly treeless course conveys a sense of open space in the country grasslands, and is regarded as one of the major championship layouts in Gauteng, having already hosted two European Tour events, the Tshwane Opens in 2013 and 2014 won by Dawie van der Walt and Ross Fisher respectively. At the time it was the longest course to have been part of the European Tour. It plays to a maximum length of 7 680 metres. That includes a 286-metre par 3, the third, which is followed by the 640-metre fourth hole!
Notwithstanding the long holes, Els has designed a members course with wide fairways which golfers of all levels can enjoy, particularly those who drive the ball well. Challenges lie in a wide variety of tees, his strategically placed bunkers, water hazards, and superbly modelled greens. It is ranked No 36 in the Golf Digest Top 100.
The Els Club has one of the premier practice facilities in South Africa, a vast expanse of land where golfers can work on their game in their own space. It is home to one of the country’s leading instructors, John Dickson, who has a teaching academy and custom-fitting centre on site. Memorable hole: The par-4 sixth is thought of as the club’s signature hole. The longer the tee shot, the less club you have for a demanding approach shot angled across a water hazard to an elevated green. Director of Golf: Jaun Geyser.