The always popular Amanzimtoti Country Club has recently seen some course upgrades to the sum of just over R1m. These upgrades include new bunkers, lengthening of the tees and the planting of new trees to name a few.
The course is flat and easy to walk but has a few challenging holes that require straight driving. The feature hole is the 16th with a +/-180m. Carry over the river doglegging left to a well-bunkered raised green.
Description of each hole
Hole 1 – Men 449m Par 5 – Stroke 12 Ladies 426m – Stroke 4
A lovely opening hole from an elevated tee and with views all the way to the green. A generous fairway slopes from the left and flattens out on the right. Trees guard the right with a bunker to catch the longer hitters. Recommended second shot is a mid-iron to leave about 80m to a large green. Keep more to the left side as the ball tends to kick right if your land is short.
Hole 2 – 332m – Par 4 – Stroke 16 Ladies 259mm – Stroke 12
After a heart-pounding climb to the elevated tee (for walking golfers) one is presented with a daunting view of a fairway below bounded by thick bush on the left, a flat plateau of fairway about 30 meters wide and then a steep slope down to the rough where two large trees tend to gather in most faded drives. A straight drive is a must otherwise longer hitters can carry the trees but have a second from the rough to a green with bunkers left and right.
Hole 3 – 331m – par 4 – Stroke 6 Ladies 292m – Stroke 6
Straightforward hole carrying the Mbekodweni river (+/- 100m carry) to a rising fairway. Two tall trees on the right can cause problems with the drive. OB down the left but fairly open on the right. Difficult sloping green from front to back. Watch out for right side bunker if the pin is back right. An average drive should require no more than a 7 iron in.
Hole 4 – 171m – Par 3 – Stroke 8 Ladies 121 m – Stroke 16
A good testing downhill shot is required to a large raised green. Bunker on the right requiring one of those “difficult long bunker shots”. So try to stay away from it. Some tricky putts await depending on the hole location.
Hole 5 – 329m – Par 4 – Stroke 14 Ladies 261m – Stroke 14
Deceptively difficult hole if you miss the fairway as thickish rough and trees can block your approach. Longer hitters advised using no more than 3 wood off the tee. A long bunker awaits any approach short left. Flat green with subtle breaks.
Hole 6 – 333m – Par 4 – Stroke 2 Ladies 324m – Stroke 2
This hole used to be a stroke one and is considered by members to still be so. A drive in the fairway is a must even if a bit shorter than you would like. The hole doglegs to the right with thick bush running down the left and difficult rough on the right. There are also trees and bushes on the right to add to your frustration. The approach to the green is fraught with danger on the left (lateral hazard) and a clump of trees on the right. The green is fairly innocuous but hitting is the big test.
Hole 7 – 111m – Par 3 – Stroke 18 Ladies 97m – Stroke 18
A welcome relief awaits one on this hole. A simple short iron will carry the river to a huge green with no trouble left or right. Short or long are both very bad. There is the task of putting either down or up a vicious slope should you choose the wrong plateau. Three putts are not uncommon here so be sure of your distance from the tee.
Hole 8 – 454m – Par 5 – Stroke 10 ladies 403m – Stroke 8
A fairly tight drive is required with river and large rubber trees beckoning on the left and some sandy soil (with severe slope) on the right. Many a duffed second shot has occurred here. The hole doglegs left to a flat wide fairway where a third shot or pitch is required to a flattish green. Being on the green for three is a must to score well here. Bunkers surround the green which can cause problems.
Hole 9 – 347m – Par 4 – Stroke 4 Ladies 304m – Stroke 10
A good test of thinking golf. Drive right into the trees and drop one or two shots. Drive straight or slightly left and you have a good approach into the green. Hook it left… take out another ball! Two well-placed bunkers around the green add an extra challenge to this hole. A short walk after putting out brings you to the halfway house.
Hole 10 – 439m – Par 5 – Stroke 9 Ladies 348m – Stroke 7
After some welcoming refreshments, you are faced with a challenging par 5 (OB right) where your second shot is either a lay-up before the river or a “go-for-it” to reach the green. There is quite a bit of room (+/- 80m) from the fringe of the green to the bank of the river so slight miss-hit should carry the water. If the pin is at the front it is sometimes advisable to attack it from your lay-up position before the river, the distance is about 130m. This strategy is because of the two strategic bunkers left and right of the green where any pitch over them will not stop near the pin. (Unless you play the PGA Tour…)
Hole 11 – 312m – Par 4 – Stroke 15 Ladies 286m – Stroke 15
One of the easiest holes with a wide fairway and one which the big hitters can reach with the driver. Played sensibly a par or a birdie should be attainable. If anything, stay more right of the middle fairway with your drive.
Hole 12 – 364m – Par 4 – Stroke 7 Ladies 332m – Stroke 5
The start of what some call the Toti “Amen Corner”. This hole can really punish the errant shots. A straight drive is important as the approach is guarded by a tall Casuarina tree on the left of the green and a row of trees on the right. Some difficult pin positions can cause havoc with your scoreboard.
Hole 13 – 400m – Par 4 – Stroke 1 Ladies 332m – Stroke 3
Just recently lengthened to one of the longest par 4’s on the coast. The prevailing North – Easter
Breeze/wind/gale can leave the average player with close to 200m for their second shot to a green which has three tiers and is 30m long! OB down the left (the factory owners won’t pass your ball back…) and a long line of more Casuarinas and bamboo thicket on the right will certainly mess with your score. Play this as a par 5 and you will feel a lot better for it. With a South wind, it is more reachable in two.
Hole 14 – 381m – Par 4 – Stroke 5 Ladies 283m – Stroke 9
The last hole of “Amen Corner” and certainly not the easiest. A tight drive bordering the river on the left and which tends to run off the right rough will leave about 150m into a long green. Anything left will be caught by the “hell” bunker which is close to 30m long with a small strategic overhanging tree close to the green. Ever tried a low flying 20m bunker shot??? Be warned stay out of it.
Hole 15 – 146m – Par 3 – Stroke 17 Ladies 135m – Stroke 17
A straightforward one shotter to a flat green and you should make par. Go right and you might make 5!!! If the South wind is blowing you can drop an extra two club lengths.
Hole 16 – 358m – Par 4 – Stroke 3 ladies 244m – Stroke 1
White knuckle time. A long carry over the river and doglegging left where reeds and water await and can lead to a tensing of the muscles and some very negative thoughts. This hole could easily vie for stroke one when the North Easterly is blowing. Drive your ball right and you could join the cricket players (OB). Left and you reload. Almost a definite three shotter if your second is not purely struck. The raised green offers no real surprise for those putting.
Hole 17 – 156m – Par 3 – Stroke 11 Ladies 138m – Stroke 11
A picturesque hole where you look straight out to sea over the green. Where a long iron or hybrid is required into the North-Easterly, only a short iron (7 or 8) will get you there when the Southerly pumps. Can have a tricky chip if you go right or left of the green, as the river awaits any thinned shot. Putting can be tricky if the pin is on the top level.
Hole 18 – 406m – Par 5 – Stroke 13 Ladies 361m – Stroke 13
Not many courses have a tee box on the beach where the view is panoramic. But that’s soon forgotten when you line up your drive. The thought of overpowering this short par 5 disappears when you can’t see too many fairways to land your drive. Mostly the sight of bushes down the left and right makes one remember the cost of golf balls and many reaches for the long iron or hybrid. If you are brave and take dead aim at the water tower on the hill and smash it. STRAIGHT!!!. The second shot is to a green perched on the edge of the lagoon and OB stakes all down the right and lateral hazard left. Most times you can have a gallery watching from the clubhouse and lapa to tense things up.
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