A trip down memory lane – Our visit to the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa
By Marcel Du Plessis
If there was ranking system for golfing destinations best suited for golf tours with a bunch of mates, Zebula would be right up there! I’ve played this course on a number of golf tours over the years and have enjoyed the experience every single time. But one golf tour that stands out by far, is the inaugural SOS Year-end Tour in 2012!!
With it being the first SOS year-end tour ever, everyone was excited to get to Zebula and get the weekend started in a big way! Our accommodation for the weekend was booked through an acquaintance of one our tour members, Paolo. Having stayed at Zebula prior to this weekend, I knew what was to be expected of the accommodation. However, having drop off the payment for the accommodation in a side road on our way to Zebula, in cash, did not make me very confident that we weren’t going to lose a kidney or two when we eventually reached our destination. Nonetheless, we ventured on and needless to say, we were all very, very happy with our lodgings for the weekend. Two massive houses, fully kitted out for our every need with interior décor that could only be described as bushveld chique.
Upon arrival, everyone was aware of the most important task that had to be attended to first before the settling in. Stocking the fridges to the brim with beer!!
The main house that we were staying in had an amazing boma area and many beers were consumed around the fire at night. This boma are also doubled up as a stage for the very first Lady Gaga dance by the Andrew “chip” Robertson as punishment for rather wanting to attend the Lady Gaga concert the weekend before, than coming on year end tour.
I must admit, other than Poker face playing in the background, there was not much else that reminded me of Lady Gaga. It felt more like we were watching a gay escaped convict on his way to rave trying to seduce us with some very lackluster dance moves. We were disappointed. However, this was much more bearable than seeing Chip naked just a few moments later, but that is a story for another day.
The next day we all tee’d off at Zebula early in the morning. One of our tour members, Nick “axe man” Rebello was not feeling too fresh after the festivities of the night before and proceeded to let everyone know exactly how he felt by blowing chunks next to the first tee box. A sign of things to come for the rest of the weekend.
We were all very excited to play Zebula! The course was in great condition and the weather was beautiful. We were all on golf carts and the club very generously provided us with ice and cooler boxes to keep our drinks cold. It was a very hot day in the middle of summer and temperature’s at Zebula get up to the late 30’s so we needed to stay hydrated of course. From what I can remember, the golf was pretty average. But the surroundings and the course made up for the lack of scoring. It was a great day out.
After the round, we returned to the accommodation and prepared for the first fines session of the weekend. Axe man was not feeling very well and was not very impressed that fines kicked off straight away. Back then, Chip still drank like a man and never passed up a beer down-down. But on this day, Chip’s golf was….. well….. kak. He accumulated quite a few fines. After a number of beers and mid downing another, Chip decided it was time to give us his impression of an angry dragon and spewed beer out of his mouth and nostrils onto everyone in his immediate vicinity. Fines session was in full swing!
Once everyone was properly lubricated after fines, the post fines festivities kicked off with a bang! From trying to chop down trees with a spade for firewood, naked buck diving, furniture smashing and table dancing by the axe man who had found his second wind, the night was a memorable one to say the least.
The next day we played Elements for the final round of the year and weekend.
Zebula will always be a top destination for golf tours in my mind. However, over the past 3 or 4 year the course has struggling as a result of the severe drought that has gripped the region. I’ve heard many stories of people who have played it during that period and they have all said that the course was in shocking condition due to the lack of water in the area. Fairways were non-existent, greens weren’t being watered enough and dams and water hazards had all but dried up. This did not bode well for an estate and golf course that I was so fond of. It did not look like a golf tour to this once majestic destination would be possible ever again.
However, I very recently ventured out to Zebula for the day as I was on a weekend away in the area and I must admit, I was ecstatic at what I saw. The course was lush and green and the fairways were immaculate. The putting green was in perfect condition and the fountain in the water hazard in front of the 18th green was working again. It would seem that this course has recovered from the severe drought and that its reputation as a top golf getaway has been restored.
This course is once again at the top of my list of golfing must do’s. I think it is about time that another legendary weekend is organized at this awesome course!