Eye of Africa Golf Course
Men – 6188m (6767 yards)
Ladies – 4993m (5460 yards)
Championship – 6934m (7583 yards)
Eye of Africa is one of those courses not everybody knows about because it is tucked away in the middle of nowhere, South of Johannesburg. Hidden out of sight is this beautiful and unique Greg Norman designed golf course. The course is by no means long off the club tees, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in bite. With wide expansive fairways, the rough at Eye of Africa is the difference between a good and a bad round. Finding the short grass is the most important factor when playing a round at this estate. Because the holes are short in comparison to what you usually find at high altitude in and around Johannesburg, Eye of Africa punishes errant tee-shots, just like links golf. There are plenty of bunkers in all the wrong places which gobble up the aggressive play and swallowing your pride on some of the holes by using an iron off the tee can mean two or three shots saved.
The fairways at Eye of Africa are completely different to anything we have experienced on tour before and getting lush crisp contact of the turf is fantastic. And you need good contact on this course as a lot of the greens are elevated off the fairways, meaning you need to pick a spot in the middle of the putting surface and stick your ball there. Missing the middle of the green would mean you could find yourself slowly trickling off the putting surface and leaving yourself with a tough uphill pitch onto a lightning fast green. The greens are all quick and are very well undulated, but they run very true. Eye of Africa will test your putting game, but what is fantastic about the course is that if you trust your line and the rhythm of your putting stroke, you can be guaranteed to put the ball where you aim it. Eye of Africa is a picturesque course offering a unique golfing experience for Johannesburg visitors and residents. What the Estate does need however is more distance markers on the fairways, or more carts with GPS. Treat yourself to a golfing adventure and take a swing at the Shark’s South African course.
Normally a stroke 1 (hardest hole) is a booming long par 4 that requires an accurate drive of some distance, with at least a mid-long iron in to a well protected green. The third hole at Eye of Africa is anything but long, but oh my word is it as tough. At a meager 361m (395y) off the club tees, this uphill par 4 was not designed for a bold golfer. Throwing caution to the wind on this hole could meaning throwing your score to the dogs at the same time. The hole runs quite sharply uphill and the fairway is rather narrow in comparison to others on the course. The left hand side of the fairway landing zone is guarded by a deep bunker and the whole right hand side of the fairways is protected by a sloot (small stream) of water. The sloot cuts across the fairway at about the same point as the bunker meaning you have a tear drop effect while standing on the tee box (a fairway that goes from wide to narrow very quickly. If you are lucky enough to find the fairway on your drive, you will have very little sight of the green as it is highly elevated and quite small. Undulation on this green is pronounced and if you make the green in regulation, you still may walk away with nothing.
The par 5 seventeenth hole is in the middle of three of the most beautiful finishing holes anywhere in Johannesburg. Following on from the short par 3 16th, the 17th is a long, downhill par 5 that has everything a proper golf hole should have. From an elevated tee box you look down at a hole that looks like it has been painted on a canvas. There is trouble to the left, trouble to the right, and even trouble down the middle. From a tee box set up in the hills and surrounded by plenty of trees – you have yet another sloot with out of bounds to the left and trees to the right of the fairway. There is also a deep fairway bunker protecting the right hand side and for a change some big trees to negotiate too. In the middle of the fairway, around the layup zone is an outcropping of rocks that adds to the “Africa” feel of the course and the whole left hand side of the last third of the fairway and green is guarded by a massive waste bunker. This hole plays as the 10th toughest (or 8th easiest) on the course, but if negotiated well, can add to your score for the day.