Lost City Golf Course, North West Province
Men – 6192m (6772 yards)
Ladies – 5080m (5556 yards)
Championship – 6683m (7308 yards)
Host of the 6th round of the SOS Golf Tour in 2013 and the SOS Major Championship, The Lost City Golf Course is a Gary Player designed course in the North West Province of South Africa. Set in the picturesque Pilanesberg, The Lost City Golf Course is regarded as a must visit for most golf tourists to South Africa as it offers up a very unique golfing experience. The course is not very long, even off the championship tees, but it is incredibly challenging. Gary Player used the strategic placement of water and bunkers to trap the errant golfer, while at the same time offering just enough to keep the sensible golfer happy. The fairways are not unusually wide, making the course fairly unforgiving and if you do hit a stray tee shot, you will often find an unplayable lie. The rough at lost city is pure African bushveld and you are warned before a round to not venture into it to find your ball.
What the Lost City Golf Course offers you is a chance to experience golf in Africa as you would picture it in the dream of a naive foreigner. It is gimmicky in its layout, but pure in its every sense. It is regularly ranked inside the top 20 courses in the country (according to Golf Digest) and is well worth the small fortune (for locals) to play. The clubhouse is world class, the halfway house lunches are as good as you will eat anywhere and the overall experience is five star. It is not a course for the high handicappers because of the unforgiving nature of its design, but it is a worthwhile golf travel experience regardless.
The only reason the 9th hole is a stroke 2 and not the stoke one toughest hole on the course is simply because it is on the easier nine. The hole is a massive 421m off the club tees and it is all uphill. Flanked with bushveld to the right and water down the whole left-hand side, this hole looks daunting with every shot you take. Even with a booming drive, your approach will be with a very long iron or even a wood to a well guarded green. There are two nice deep bunkers that flank the right of this two-tier green and a massive body of water that flanks the left. Getting on the green in regulation will not guarantee par, as the green undulates to such extremes that three and four putts should and could be common place. You will be happy with par on this hole, content with bogey and amazed by birdie.
The famous crocodile hole is a fun and challenging par three that will test your nerve on approach as well as entertain you with something you won’t experience anywhere else. From the championship tee, the 13th hole plays 180m quite substantially downhill. It isn’t a long hole, but your approach is daunting. The green appears large, but is tough to hit. The crocodile pit guards anything coming up short and there are some very well placed bunkers to swallow up stray tee shots. Because of the elevation of the tee, the wind plays a serious factor in club selection and direction of your aim. Picking the wrong club will cost you seriously and could result in a whole that is a complete write off. A par is a great score, and walking away with a three will feel like a win in anyone’s books. Just don’t venture into the croc pit, or you could lose more than just your golf ball.