With just over one week to go until the start of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player, the Gary Player Country Club golf course is on track to reach its peak condition for “Africa’s Major”.
“I’m very happy with where the course is at the moment,” said Sun City Golf Director, Ken Payet, as his team prepares to host the US$7.5 million tournament on the European Tour’s elite Rolex Series from 9-12 November.
“We had a visit from the European Tour agronomist who met with our head course superintendent and they are very happy. We’ve had some early rains which has helped the rough. We don’t want the course too tough but it must be challenging for the players.”
According to Payet, the process for the greenkeeping staff from now until tournament week is simply to pay attention to the detail that makes this one of the top-ranked golf courses in South Africa.
“Our goal is now to peak for the week of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and make sure that we remain consistently good for the golfers who watch it on TV and want to play here afterwards. During the week of the tournament the phone never stops ringing with golfers booking rounds here.
“Now we are just focusing on that attention to detail. It’s an opportunity to repair pitch marks and divots, and to spend time making sure the sand in the bunkers is consistent. Those little things. It’s literally about fine-tuning the golf course for the tournament.”
Payet believes the course will once again play as challenging as it needs to for this event.
“We’ve narrowed the fairways in areas, and it all really depends on the speed of the greens and the conditions that week. The wind can play a factor because it always swirls here and doesn’t just come from one direction, so that can be a challenge for the players.
“But the Gary Player Country Club course is always a true test of the game. It tests the best in the world and your high handicap golfer. It always requires you to be on top of your game.”