Great Links - South Africa Style
Des Burnett, Phil Boyd and myself have splashed out on a holiday to the Fancourt complex in South Africa. We have played the manicured Outenika and Montague courses the previous 3 days and it is great golf.
Today is the big one however, since Fancourt Links is rated the number 1 course in South Africa. Some online reviews claim that the rough makes the course unplayable for most golfers, but we are sadists and golf must go on! The weather is perfect and we have experienced caddies who we hope will reduce the carnage.
We play off the normal white tees so that we can all make the carries if we hit decent drives. It turns out to be tricky but playable, since the rough is not set up at tournament levels.
The course is a delight - it looks and feels like a top British Links and there are no weak holes. It is fast running with perfect conditioning, wildly sloping fairways and many changes in elevation. Greens are protected by a variety of features so that mishit approach shots are often badly punished. Many greens are dome shaped, and contours feed the ball off the putting surface and into run off areas.
We all play reasonably well, though the greens take quite a few shots off us and we don't score great. A memorable experience though - the best overseas course we've played - we hope to return next year.
In a surreal postscript, we run into the course's co-designer at the airport the next day. Gary Player himself is on our flight - and taking time out to talk to people who approach him. We all compliment him on The Links and shake hands with 'Mr Golf South Africa'. I told you the SES were high class!