HOW DO YOU INCREASE PARTICIPATION IN GOLF?
It’s a question constantly asked in the golf industry, and Serengeti Estates in Gauteng are taking an innovative step in that direction by turning their Whistling Thorn 9 into an 18-hole championship Par-3 course.
Serengeti is now under the ownership of Irish entrepreneur David Nagle, the Houghton developer who bought the Eye of Africa estate, and is involved with o -course developments at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington.
Nagle and Serengeti CEO Mark Renwick are introducing new facilities that will improve the residential experience at Serengeti.And the intention is to upgrade the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Nicklaus designed 27 holes on this large estate close to O R Tambo Airport, but the separate Whistling Thorn 9 has been under-utilised.The conversion to a Par-3 course will enable Serengeti to keep the existing 9 greens, and add another 9 with a variety of tees. It is being designed by Dino Du Abreu and will be the rst of its kind locally. Peter Matkovich’s 18-hole “executive course” at Simbithi Eco-Estate on the KZN North Coast has 13 par 3s.
Renwick said the vision is to “create a memorable layout that allows a golfer the opportunity to use the full range of clubs in his bag.”
The virtues of having a Par-3 course at Serengeti would be to expose more families and kids to the game, and for timechallenged golfers to get done quickly. It’s a better introduction to golf.Australian Adam Scott recalls that growing up on a Par-3 course was bene cial for him.
“When you’re 5 or 6 and the holes are 80 or 100 metres, you can actually play them,” says Scott.“It’s hard to get a young kid, even 10 or 11, to play a long par 4 – it just seems like an unattainable goal to get it into a tiny hole at the end of that. I didn’t realise it at the time, but that’s probably why I took to golf. Par-3 courses and similar initiatives are great. We’ve got to do something di erent because the traditional club model doesn’t work in today’s world. Introducing kids to golf is a big part of keeping the health of the game.”
Jason Day says golf ’s biggest challenge is that “it just takes too long; young families with little kids want to play for an hour, no more.When I was a kid, I was only allowed to play six holes at a time. It was great, because I could only hold my attention span for that long.”
SERENGETI PLANS ▶ Course designer Dino du Abreu (right) shows developer David Nagle (left) his drawings for Serengeti’s proposed Par 3 Course.
FANCOURT CHANGE ▶ The entrance experience at the Fancourt clubhouse is now more inviting for guests and members.