One of South Africa’s toughest and most well-known courses plays host to this week’s Blue Label Challenge which gets underway on Wednesday.
When legendary golfer Gary Player designed the course with Ron Kirby, the aim was to create a modern layout that would become a stern challenge for the world’s best golfers. It certainly succeeded in that regard and the iconic Gary Player Country Club has hosted more than 70 pro Tour events since its inception in 1979, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge perhaps being the most famous.
Several changes have taken place to ensure the course, which is one of the longest in Africa, remains one of the toughest on the DP World Tour. This par-72 parkland gem with kikuyu fairways and bent greens measures in at just over 7,000m from the tips.
Built in an extinct volcanic crater, the course runs through the bush and past lakes, with strategically places bunkers and water hazards protecting the greens. Poor drives will find dense bush and the finest of touches are needed on the putting surfaces which are slick, to put it mildly.
Standout holes include the par-four 17th which was built for the 2003 Nedbank Challenge. It is one of the most demanding holes on the course and was the second most difficult hole at the 2019 event. The par-five ninth is the signature hole and features an island green that the longest drivers may be tempted to reach in two shots.
Gary Player Country Club enjoys an idyllic setting, with the world-class facilities and wildlife on its doorstep adding to its massive appeal.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The first 64 at Gary Player Country Club was shot by Lee Trevino at the 1991 Sun City Classic.
- Stephen Ferreira claimed his first Sunshine Tour victory since turning professional in 2021 when he won the 2022 Blue Label Challenge by a single point.
- Gary Player Country Club was ranked 12th in South Africa’s Top 100 Courses this year, a drop of one place from 2022.