There’s no question about it, Sardinia Bay Golf & Wildlife Estate is looking a picture at the moment.
Gqeberha’s wettest winter in years has turned the already-pristine property into a green wonderland for humans and animals alike.
The state of the golf course is particularly impressive; its lush turf almost Augusta-like in its hue but with the added bonus of springbok and striped horses in the gallery.
As a chilly and wet August starts to fade from memory, residents and day visitors are taking full advantage of the track as they look to find the swing they had left behind somewhere in the warmer months.
The course, affiliated to both the Eastern Province Golf Union and South African Golf Association, is a nine-hole gem. It is challenging and a far cry from the mashie surface that occupied the property prior to the estate being developed.
Holes one and 10 are relatively straightforward in that the bush on the right-hand side presents the only potential hurdle. Right-handers will do well to eliminate the slice from their game while lefties suffering from the draws will be in trouble from the off.
At 105 and 145m respectively, the second and 11th are diminutive in size but monstrous in deception.
The trick here is not to over-hit as a nine-iron or wedge can easily see the ball soar over the green and even out of bounds. There is also the danger of shanking one into the homes bordering the par-three.
The water hazard on the left has no doubt been designed to play tricks on the mind. Stay true off the tee here and you will find this obstacle only lives in your head.
One of the endearing qualities of the Sards course is that its proximity to the Indian Ocean and undulating nature give it that distinctive links feel.
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This is highly apparent on three and 12, which plays as a slight dogleg to the left due to the lone tree on the fairway.
Hugging the port side is essential for easier passage to the green at the bottom of the slope. Beware the water hazards guarding the putting surface and doing everything in their power to put you off.
In the afternoon it is “happy hour” as the animals find their way to the course to soak up the last of the day’s rays. The heartening thing here is that the 228 to 360m par-four delivers even if you’re quadruple-bogeying.
The par-four fourth come 13th is the definition of fun. There’s very much a “king of my castle” feeling as you set your radar from the raised tee box.
This can however quickly change to dunce of the basement if you misjudge the 152 to 157m to the flag. Here, depth perception is everything.
There is some scope for forgiveness. An effective short game will set you right on a hole that offers an excellent opportunity for par.
The fifth/14th and sixth/15th both require steady swings and minds.
On the former you want to be as straight as an arrow, lest you end up in the thick garden feature on the right.
The latter, with its dogleg from the left, is a testing little number. Big-hitters can slay the birdie if they stay within bounds, otherwise it’s best to lay up safely and hit a casual eight or nine-iron to the green.
Speaking of greens; all are in great nick but be sure to judge the gentle slopes wisely. Too much oomph with the putter and you’ll face a difficult return to break even.
On to the 170m seventh/16th, where looks are deceiving. What may seem like a simple route-one hit to the hole at the top of the hill, is anything but.
Occasional players will find the fairway is golf’s equivalent of the Devil’s Chimney at the Cango Caves. In this instance it pays to be narrow-minded.
The second-last, aka the eighth/17th, is a downhill par-tree that is another stern examination of distance judgement.
The green beckons from the tee and can be negotiated with little fuss – provided you resist going for the glory shot or don’t veer too far left or right.
Compared to others on the course, the final hole is as wide as the Gobi Desert and offers what should be a comfortable run-in to the clubhouse. Players might even want to bring out a three or five-wood to celebrate their round in style before walking off for a round of refreshments.
Tee-off is between 7am and 4pm from September to April and between 8am and 3pm from May to August. You can reach the clubhouse on 083 304 2476.