East London GC
The East London Golf Club course is a very attractive proposition at the best of times.
Blend in some subtle course refinements and a €1-million purse and it is easy to understand why a strong field will be chasing success at the Africa Open there this week.
The popular links/parklands course, designed by Colonel HV Hotchkin and opened in 1893, has stood the test of time and continues to retain its place as a leading South African championship venue, having hosted eight South African Opens since the early 1900s.
Now carrying the banner of one of six European Tour co-sanctioned events on the Sunshine Tour’s annual calendar, East London Golf Club brings the promise of inspiring feats, rousing shot-making and a contest to savour.
“As one of South Africa’s oldest and proudest facilities, we are delighted that the Africa Open has made its home here,” says general manager Brenden Fourie.
“East London Golf Club has always provided an exciting and exhilarating venue and we relish this incredible opportunity for the club to extend our hospitality and to showcase Buffalo City and the Eastern Cape to our international visitors.”
The Club is situated in the suburb of Bunkers Hill just five kilometers north of central East London. The clubhouse is set on high ground overlooking the course with distant views of the sea and surf.
The clubhouse was refurbished during 2000/2001 to coincide with the hosting of the Mercedes Benz South African Open. This provided for the upgrading of several inside rooms and particularly laid emphasis on the public service areas for bars, catering and functions.
This Jekyll and Hyde, part links, part parkland layout which rambles through the coastal dunes, flanked by the wooded leafiness of Marina Glen and overlooking Nahoon Beach, is generous, enchanting and beautiful on a sunny day, but becomes a true test of skill and patience when exposed to the wind.
Tight fairways, elevated tees and postage stamp greens litter the front nine while wider landing areas, deep valleys and undulating putting surfaces set up the challenge on the back nine.
From the par-5 first until the blind tee shot at the 18th, each hole on this risk and reward course is unforgettable and demands strategic planning and control.
During the 2009 edition of the Africa Open, Masters Champion Angel Cabrera and five-time European Tour winner Richard Sterne moved the course record to 62 and 61 respectively in perfect weather conditions. But the vistas of the beautiful coastline played second fiddle to the challenge of keeping the ball in play when the wind strengthened on the final day.
Luck will not be an element on this golf course, say those who know it best. “The guy who delivers the best round of golf on the day will take the spoils.”
THE COURSE: HOLE-BY-HOLE:
You can get a hole-by-hole picture and description from the club’s official website by clicking here
Apart from it’s tip-top locker room and showering facility and it’s well-stocked golf shop which also serves as an entry point to the course where you will be warmly welcomed when you check in and where caddies and golf carts can be hired, the clubhouse includes:
A Main Bar Lounge: It can comfortably accommodate up to 150 people and provides a comfortable atmosphere for relaxing with fellow golfers and friends over drinks and is ideal for prize giving ceremonies. It’s small bar serves breakfast, lunches, light snacks, and large snack platters up until 6.30pm
East London Club Bar: is wood-panelled and warm and has a comfortable bar atmosphere, with sliding doors opening onto an open balcony with fantastic course views.
Halfway House: The old ‘Tea house’ which had stood for many years, has been recently replaced with a state of the art new Halfway House where a meal or snack midway through your round of 18 holes is a great feature of the East London Golf Club experience.
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