Length of Course: Men 6010 m Ladies 5034 m
Type of Course: Parkland
Visitors: No restrictions
Club Professional: Wellington Sonanzi
Club Shop: Yes
Practice Facilities: Yes – own balls, putting greens
Hire Facilities: Clubs, trolleys and drive carts
Catering: Bar, restaurant, halfway house
Location: Halfway between Port Elizabeth and East London
General Manager: Wessel Benson
Postal Address: P.O.Box 232, Port Alfred 6170
Phone: 040 676 1002
Fax: 040 676 1115
OLD WOMAN’S RIVER
The Eastern Cape coastline is dramatic with dense vegetation and windswept, unspoiled beaches. Gary Player, who designed the Fish River Sun course, made full use of the natural surroundings and terrain and has produced a golf course that combines drama, beauty and ruggedness to provide an excellent golfing challenge. The indigenous euphorbia trees, which are almost cactus-like in appearance, were left untouched and preside over many of the holes.
The Old Woman’s River, which you will cross twice via a river bridge, needs to be carried on both the 13th and 16th holes. On this course you will find yourself contending with bushy dunes and you may have to cope with the windy conditions that are so much part of this coastal region. The Kikuyu fairways are always in good condition and in recent years especially noticeable. Another innovation was the replacement of the original Bayview greens with quite superb Bent Grass greens. Water is in rather short supply in this region, but careful planning and the high standards set by the Fish River team have resulted in this golf course receiving accolades for its year-round quality.
The Fish River course is part of the Fish River Sun Hotel and Country Club Resort. Here you can enjoy a multitude of sports facilities as well as rock fishing and deep-sea fishing nearby.
Now in its 20th year, the course has settled in and compliments the surrounding scenery and is known by the locals simply as ‘The Fish’.
A hole that tests me every time is the
12th hole – Par 5 – Men 456 m Ladies 385 m
The river dominates the left-hand side, while the rolling fairway sweeps around the river bend from right to left. Your tee shot is to a narrow fairway and your second shot has to avoid a thicket of trees that create a narrow gap between them and the river. The fairway rises steeply to a green that is protected by a solitary tree on the left. Long hitters can cut across the water for two; the bush to the left of the green could come in to play.
‘The Fish’ is in the Eastern Cape, which is the second largest of the nine provinces of South Africa. It is worth mentioning that the ‘off-course’ choices in this province are plentiful. The area known as the Sunshine Coast has more than a million hectares of malaria-free game reserves, while further north the Wild Coast lives up to its name, with an unspoiled rugged coastline fronted by sensational beaches.
Port Elizabeth, which is known as the friendly city, has garnered a reputation for family fun due to its beachfront facilities, beaches and its boardwalk development, with a casino as the central core and shopping and dining as the other attractions. East London is set on the Buffalo River and it is the only river port city in South Africa.
The Tsitsikamma region has indigenous forests, deep gorges, lush vegetation and lies between the sea and the Tsitsikamma Mountains.
In the Northern region the remarkable Gariep Dam offers 100 km of navigable water and prehistoric fossils and San rock art were (only recently) discovered in this area.
Other major attractions are the Addo Elephant National Park, the Nelson Mandela Museum and, if the timing is right, it is worth attending the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.