The Nedbank Golf Challenge

By Louwrens Badenhorst

Course graphics below are courtesy of Pocket Caddi Website and belong to that company.

I have always been a keen follower of the ‘Million Dollar Challenge’, now called the Nedbank Golf Challenge. I remember it for always bringing top golfers from around the world together to participate in a prestigious event of world class quality, here in South Africa. Experiencing it live in 2014 was truly great, and it gave me a passionate interest in researching this wonderful event.

Nedbank Golf Challenge
Opening hole at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

The first event in 1981, saw Johnny Miller from the USA, win US $ 500,000 out of a total purse of

US $ 1,000,000, back then the biggest tournament prize purse ever. The following year the field increased with 10 players, sharing in the prize purse of US$ 1,000,000 resulting in the winner taking home US $ 300,000. 1987, Ian Woosnam from Wales, ended up on top of the leader board after 4 rounds, taking  US $ 1,000,000, being the total prize purse, home. From 1988 to 1999 the prize money for the winner remained US $ 1,000,000 but the minor places were also rewarded. In 2000 the winner received a whopping US $ 2,000,000 but that was short lived as the prize money for the winner was reduced in 2003 to US $ 1,200,000. This remained the same for the next 7 years. The current prize money for the winner is US $ 1,250,000 with a total prize purse of US $ 5,000,000.

The Nedbank Golf Challenged certainly rewarded a couple of players very well with achieving multiple wins. Players achieving this well-deserved accomplishment are :

Two Time Winners

  • Bernhard Langer (1985,1991)
  • Jim Furyk (2005,2006)
  • Lee Westwood (2010,2011)
  • Sergio Garcia(2001,2003)
  • Seve Ballesteros (1983,1984)

Three Time Winners

  • David Frost (1989,1990,1992)
  • Ernie Els (1999,2000,2002)
  • Nick Price (1993,1997,1998)

Year on year the Nedbank Golf Challenge never disappoints. They offer a world class golf course with world class facilities, and obviously the most import a strong field of world class golfers. The current Champion, Danny Willet, will return in 2015 to Gary Player Golf Course Sun City to defend his title and to try and join the two time winners circle.

Nedbank Golf Challenge Winner
Danny Willet wins NGC

Every year the course and weather conditions delivers a great difficulty to these professional golfers and no participant is ever guaranteed of the win. Good discipline, rhythm, momentum and I guess a bit of luck, sees the top golfer of the weekend, in these hot and humid conditions, taking the top of the leader board and his share of US $,250,000.

Like in all previous years of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, couple of signature holes will definitely influence the outcome of the tournament. My personal favorite holes are

 Nedbank Golf Challenge
One of the toughest holes at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

More of the course :

The Gary Player Course Sun City measure over 7,000 metres. One of the longest courses in the world. Playing from the back tees surely challenges the golfers to their utmost potential and talent.

The famous 9th hole at the Nedbank Golf Challenge
The famous 9th hole at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

The greens are very difficult and strategic bunkers, swales and mounds contributes to making it even more difficult. Course management will definitely assist in shooting low scores. Kikuyu fairways and bent grass greens, that’s well maintained throughout the year, keeps the course in great condition.

2014-day_201-test16

So all I can say from my experience, if you haven’t been there, you should make a plan to attend one of these Nedbank Golf Challenges, to experience the true spirit of great golf, at a legendary golf venue.

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