Jackal Creek Golf Estate:
The course graphics below are kindly provided by Pocket Caddi – the best distance Guide in South Africa
Club: 6101m (6672 yards)
Ladies: 4893m (5351 yards)
Championship: 6470m (7075 yards)
Based in the far Northern reaches of Johannesburg, the Jackal Creek Golf Estate is a relatively new course that is growing into its own every year. The course has elements of links styled design, but with just enough Africa and just enough shrubbery and fauna to make it something very unique. The fairways are wide and inviting on most holes, but they are all very well protected by strategic bunker placements and natural elements that protect the course from the overly aggressive.
The course plays slightly under handicap and finding the fairway by avoiding the bunkers can mean you will score nicely in a Stableford format. Plenty of importance needs to be placed in the drive. A good drive can shorten every hole to a mere wedge shot in, but a 3 wood or hybrid off the tee will also mean you take drama out of the equation and leave yourself a short to medium iron in to most greens. The greens run true and you can trust their consistency.
It is not often that the hardest hole on the course is a par 5, or that it is the opening hole on the course, but Jackal Creek offers you both. The first hole’s fairway seems wide off the tee box, but the entire left hand side of the driving area is well guarded by deep and wide fairway bunkers. There is out of bounds on the right and left, meaning any arrant drive will require a reload and make the par 5 an incredibly tough ask. Even if you avoid the fairway bunkers, the approach to the green is guarded on the left with massively deep bunkers and the right and centre of the fairway are covered with trees. The stream that runs across the fairway means you can risk carrying it and end up in it, or in the trees that surround it, or you can lay up short of it and leave yourself a long and testing iron into a very large green that will make par a really great score.
Jackal Creek is filled with a host of holes that are worth a mention, but the back nine’s signature hole is definitely the 18th. The 18th is the second toughest hole according to the stroke of the entire course, but it is a worthy advisory to the end of any round and if it came down to this hole deciding the tie, expect a dramatic finish. The 18th is a par 5 dog leg right that requires a left to right drive of supreme accuracy. A straight drive is punished by a big fairway bunker, a drive to the left is out of bounds or in a little dam, and anything to far right is out of bounds or in a hazard that runs the length of the fairway before cutting across it right before the hole. A good drive will leave a long and risky second up the hill to a green guarded in front by water and all around by bunkers. Par again would be a great score.