Ebotse Golf and Country Estate
The East Rand Golf Links
Ebotse Golf Links
Men – 6372m (6969 yards)
Championship – 6879m (7523 yards)
Ladies – 5457m (5968 yards)
When you think of links golf, you tend to think of the windy shores of the British Isles, not an old quarry east of Johannesburg. But such is the genius of Matkovich and Hayes Golf Course Architects that they managed to create a real and true links golfing experience at the Ebotse Golf and Country Estate in an old quarry only a few minutes from OR Tambo International Airport. This true-to-style links golfing establishment is a tough test of your golfing ego. Like most links courses, Ebotse is wide open, so the wind plays a big part in the difficulty, but so do you. Because of the wide open nature of the course, it also has big swooping fairways that offer generous landing zones. But as the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold, and even if you find the expansive fairways, you almost never have an even lie making your approaches to some well guarded greens quite tough. Straying off the fairway will spell instant disaster as the rough is thick and unforgiving and you may often find it better to take an iron of the tee than a wood or your driver.
The slightest deviation off the short stuff will more than certainly mean a reload, as the rough has a very bad habit of swallowing golf balls. This is very evident when searching for your ball, by the number of other balls you come across. The Ebotse Estate and the Golf course have come a very long way in the last few years and has grown into its own. It is a mix of rugged beauty and terrifying holes. It is a brilliant example of links golf and is comparable to some of the best in the country, maybe even the world.
The 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th holes at Ebotse are all very special and completely unique in what they offer your golf game, but the par 3 8th hole won the race for best hole on the nine simply by looks alone. It is by no means a tough hole, playing around 130m long off the club tees, but visually it is daunting and spectacular at the same time. It has a couple of deep and well placed bunkers with water right in front of the tee, but it is the massive expanse of water behind the green that plays tricks with your head. Over hitting the green is an option, but standing on the box of the 8th, you can’t help but realise what a great game golf is. It is beyond physical, beyond technical – it is magical.
I was told that the 12th hole is one of, if not the most expensive hole built in South Africa and it was money very well spend. The 12th is a beautiful par 5 that has the steep face of the quarry to the left and the driving range to the right. What makes the 12th so beautiful is that unlike anywhere we have ever played before, Ebotse’s driving range is a massive body of water. That’s right, a dam of water with floating range balls. As you stand on the tee of the 12th you realise how technical the hole is. From the box you need to carry the dam to make the fairway, avoid going left into the steep well grassed banks of the quarry, while also not straying right and ending up in the watery driving range. The hole is also very long and completely banked on one side and protected by water on the other. The bravest of brave would attack the green in two, but three sensible shots and a par will leave nearly all golfers happy.