The Sunshine Tour’s DP World Tour co-sanctioned Investec South African Open Championship returns to Blair Atholl in Gauteng for the second year in a row.
Completed in 2007, this Gary Player design was built on land that was originally the family home and stud farm of the South African golfing legend. Measuring 7,528m off the championship tees, the par-72 course, with stunning countryside views and the Crocodile River flowing through it, offers something for everyone.
The layout boasts no less than 11 water-featured holes and with it being designed in a loop, it is challenging and rewarding for scratch players, yet still an enjoyable round for handicapped golfers.
Two of the standout holes are undoubtedly the par-three third and the par-four fourth, both of which are modelled on famous holes at Augusta National – the 12th and 13th respectively. On the third hole, golfers need to navigate a long carry over a pond to an elevated green, while on the fourth the tee shot has to carry the river.
Blair Atholl will make history this week as the longest course ever played on the DP World Tour and is predicted to be a tough test with a few changes from 2022.
“The golfers will have to be more accurate off the tee this year. Last year the rough wasn’t penal enough, so we’ve grown it more. If a long hitter is slightly offline, the second shot will definitely be more challenging this year,” said Paul Marks, the director of golf at Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate.
Marks added that the fairways on some of the holes have also been narrowed by about three to four metres on either side, placing an even greater premium on accuracy off the tee. The putting surfaces are in top nick, which bodes well for anybody whose putter is hot, but the players will also be tested by some tough pin placements during the tournament.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Not only is the course at Blair Atholl rated as the third-longest in the world, it also has the biggest greens on the African continent.
- Thriston Lawrence’s one-shot victory over Clement Sordet at the 2022 SA Open was the third of his four DP World Tour titles.
- Blair Atholl was ranked sixth in South Africa’s Top 100 Courses this year, a climb of three places from 2022.