Victoria Country Club
By Greg Kilfoil
Nestled just off the N3 between Pietermaritzburg and the small town of Hilton, this is a gem. Certainly one of the courses one needs to tick off one’s list. Combining length and accuracy it is by no means an easy 18, but hit it in the right spots and some birdies are out there.
Not too dissimilar from the Homm of Golf, the course is split into 10 and 8 “halves”. Situated along the slopes of the Hilton Hill and bordering the Queen Elizabeth Park Nature Reserve, it is an undulating layout which is tough on the legs. Carts are not a must but sure makes it an easier day.
This tricky dogleg left par 4 stroke 4, plays just under 400m from the championship tees. The tee shot is hit over a hazard with trouble left right and through the fairway. Driver is not the club leaving you a 3 or 5 wood off the tee. Longer hitters can hit a low iron and leave themselves around 160m in. The approach plays steeply uphill to a tiered green. Not being able to see the base of the pin always makes club selection tricky. Not hitting it to the right level of the green will bring 3 and 4 whacks into play.
This short uphill par 3 stroke 15, plays around 120m from the club tees. While short and quite a bit of space to miss it before being completely out of play, hitting your tee shot to the correct level on this severely tiered green is imperative. Good luck if you hit it to the back and the pin is situated at the front. Take your punishment and walk to the next tee!
The finishing hole is a reachable par 5 up the hill, playing around 460m off the club tees. Do not go right! The tee shot is critical here, as a hazard protects the entire right hand side of the fairway. Staying left is safe but leaves you with large trees hampering your approach. Safest play is to lay up and leave yourself a short shot into a green well-guarded with 2 big bunkers.
After racking up a number, shake hands and head upstairs to a great old-school bar but don’t forget to take your cap off or you’ll be buying the entire bar a round! Great pizzas available on the balcony and enjoy with a beer (very reasonably priced) or 9. VCC is one not to be missed if you are out in the midlands. Cheeky tour down there to play VCC, Gowrie and Bosch Hoek could be in order!