East London Golf Club Review

East London GC: #1East London Golf Club in Eastern Cape

Gleneagles Road
Bunkers Hill
East London, Buffalo City, 5210
South Africa

June 09th, 2010 11:07

Reviewer

First Name Richard
Last Name Asher
Handicap 20

Course Review and Comments

East London Golf Club Review from http://www.mygreenjacket.com

Anyway, to the links. Well, it’s not a proper links I guess, but it’s on a hill next to the sea and there’s salt in the air. Oh, and this historic course (it dates back to 1923) boasts the added cool factor of having names for its holes. Good start!

The hill is central to why I love this place. The course is flung out over a lot of land, and it winds around all four sides of the hill. All of which means you get views in all four directions during the course of your round. For example, on the 12th tee you’re looking at the Buffalo Park cricket ground and central East London, but you get a sublime sea view from the green. Other holes give you more diverse panoramas of pretty greater East London and a hint of Eastern Cape hinterland beyond. If you’re lucky you might even get a glimpse of the softball ground!

Wildlife is plentiful – I met monkeys and something that to my eye (uneducated in the identification of small buck) looked rather like a blue duiker. There were also a bunch of impala cruising about near the 14th, although they just gave me blank stares when I asked where my wild slice of a drive might have ended up. Lost ball. Useless animals.

Views and creatures in isolation wouldn’t add up to much without a phenomenal design, however. This is exactly the kind of course I love: it’s not about length, it’s about accuracy. On several holes you could hit a six-iron off the tee and still beat the big-driving gorilla you’re up against. I think that’s how golf should be: give the short hitter some incentive and reward for accuracy.

There’s a string of short par-fours where this principle works to good effect, although if you don’t like blind shots you’ll definitely hate these holes. This is the sort of course where it’s often not about splitting the fairway with the driver – it’s about hitting the right part of the fairway with a mid-iron. Holes like the sixth and 18th are but two examples of this – the tee shot over a blind crest is intimidating, but hit is straight and confident and you may be pleasantly surprised when you get up there. Or down, as the case may be, because the fairways on these two holes are like sheer drops beyond the crests. The fifth (and the substantially longer ninth, where you probably do need a driver) are similar examples – great holes, all of them, and would no doubt play very differently depending on where the tees are.

Change of elevation is the name of the game at East London, nowhere more evident than at the par-three second, where you basically hit a short iron off the edge of a cliff. Elsewhere, don’t expect a lot of flat lies and be prepared to modify your club selection for uphill and downhill approaches. It’s like the Himalayas out there.

Given that East London GC is generally fairly quiet (bar when the European Tour boys play the Africa Open here!) and reasonably priced, I can’t find any fault with it other than a weak stretch of holes from the 14th to the 16th. I found these three holes out of character with the rest of the course, particularly the latter two. They’re flat and dull after the thrills of 12 and 13, and they’re the only places where you see houses near the fairways and don’t get views. I wasn’t paying attention to the Africa Open this year, but I’m sure the pros must have made mincemeat of the 292-metre 16th.

I’m not saying there’s anything that could be done about these three holes – every property has its limitations and perhaps this was the only solution – but they do come across as a bit of an afterthought. I’d be interested to hear comments from members on this. Anyway, other than that, and the very small pies at the halfway house, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Thanks to Gavin at ELGC and the good people of Greenan Street in East London for helping me arrange my round and get to the course. I can’t wait to come back with a better game and do the place justice…we need far more courses like this!

For more, read www.mygreenjacket.com

Ratings

Date course was played Wednesday 19th of May 2010
Price paid for golf 0
Price comments
Course Design Rating
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Course Greens/Fairways Condition Rating
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Course Overall Rating
Play Again Yes
Recommend Yes

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