Pearl Valley nears perfection
Defending SA Open champion Richard Sterne (File)
Cape Town - With just over a month remaining before the 99th South African Open Championship, Pearl Valley Golf Estates is being primed to perfection for its hosting of this co-sanctioned European Tour and Sunshine Tour event.
Under the guidance of Course Superintendent Mike Westman, work on the golf course is entering the final stretch ahead of the Championship from December 17-20.
“We have made no structural changes to the course this year, so it is pretty much the same layout the players faced in December 2008,” said Westman.
“We finished our spring preparation and now we are moving into the final stage of grooming the course to be in pristine condition when the Championship tees off. Then it will be up to the golfers to deal with the notorious South-Easter, the fast greens and 81 bunkers that call for faultless accuracy.”
Only the 27th course to host the South African Open since 1903, and the third new course this century, this four-year-old layout also became the second youngest course in December 2007 to host the national Open.
The Jack Nicklaus design underwent significant renovations in 2007 to mark its first hosting of the South African Open, including the planting of 1 600 new trees and plants, the lengthening of 13 of the holes, the installation of a new irrigation system, and the purchase of new maintenance equipment and a fleet of golf carts.
“In addition, we built eight new tee boxes to increase the length of the course ahead of the 2007 South African Open. The extreme weather conditions in 2007 proved challenging for not only the players but also our team to ensure that we completed the Championship on Sunday afternoon,” said Director of Golf David Murray.
“After the low scoring in 2007 we decided to play a few of the holes slightly shorter in 2008. The weather played its part and thankfully we enjoyed four perfect days of sunshine.
“This year the course has been in great shape, and come December I’m sure that the competitors will relish taking on what is a terrific challenge for golf at the highest level. We’re quite excited to see what the weather will bring us this year, but whatever the conditions, the course and our team are more than ready for the challenge.”
Opened in November 2003, this par-72 layout has since staged the South African Open twice, as well as the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2008 and 2009.
Troy Hart, General Manager of Pearl Valley Golf Estates, said: “The preparations are on schedule. Mike Westman has been meticulous in formulating and overseeing the preparation stages and he and his team are committed to ensure that the superb reputation the course has gained in a short space of time will be further enhanced by this year’s event.”
“Everyone at Pearl Valley Golf Estates is looking forward to welcoming the world’s top golfers to another superb edition of South Africa’s national Open.”