Yellow 6792 metres, CR75.9/148
White 6348 metres, CR73.4/143
Blue 5759 metres, CR70.2/135
Red 5266 metres, CR67.5/127
Women’s blue, CR76.4/147
Women’s red, CR72.9/140
Peter Matkovich 2005
010 591 2951
17 (2021) & 29 (2020)
The bushveld course at Elements Private Golf Reserve has been blessed with good rainfall the last two years, following a lengthy drought in the Waterberg region of Limpopo, and has returned to the excellent conditioning which saw it ranked among the country’s Top 10 courses when it first opened for play.
Visitors are always taken by surprise at the natural beauty and magnificence of this modern Peter Matkovich layout, set in a tranquil bushveld location with a diverse range of wildlife roaming the property. This sprawling championship layout is not what you would expect in a remote second-home residential golf estate, certainly not one with slick bent grass greens the equal of courses in Gauteng.
Matkovich loves the bushveld, and camping on site during the construction period fed his creative thinking in the design of some interesting and original looking holes. The opening par 4 is one of them. The uphill fairway appears to disappear into the bush, but once there you see a narrow gap through the trees leading to the green. Walking through that shady glade is the entrance to a unique golfing environment. The terrain is rugged and rocky, the holes running between natural hillsides in a valley of indigenous trees, so there are subtle changes in elevation.
Water in this dry area is precious, and in 2017 the Elements Body Corporate concluded arrangements with neighbouring properties to ensure they have enough water to irrigate the fairways in winter. The large dam around the adjoining ninth and 18th greens, a feature of both closing holes, has water in it more frequently after being dry for years. Elements Body Corporate acquired the clubhouse and commercial rights from the previous hotel group operator.
The multi-storey clubhouse sits prominently on a high ridge, with panoramic views over the course and the surrounding landscape.
Elements is a blissful place to escape from busy city life. Star gazing is listed among the estate’s activities.
A new pulpit tee has transformed the par-3 ninth into one of the signature holes. Built at the top of a hillside overlooking the dam and clubhouse, it’s a lengthy climb if you’re walking, but the view and the thrill of the tee shot will compensate. The par 5s at Elements are all strong lengthy holes, concluding with the 18th where a big drive can run forever down a hillside towards a green guarded on the left by the main dam. Doglegs abound on the course, with greens hidden away among the bushy vegetation.
Luxury homes (four bedrooms) and lodges (two bedrooms) on the estate are available to rent, with either valley or bush views. All have fully equipped kitchens, swimming pools and braai areas. The units are serviced. Email email@example.com for bookings. Visit Elements website for options, or www.gameoflife.co.za or www.funholidays.co.za. Guest houses outside estate.
Spacious range adjoining clubhouse and close to both starting tees, plus short-game area.
1/ President Cyril Ramaphosa owns a nearby game farm and plays Elements regularly. On New Year’s Day 2015 he had a hole-in-one on the second. His name is on the honours board.
2/ Ten kilometres of corrugated dirt road needs to be navigated to reach the estate entrance from Bela Bela.
3/ This is a low-density estate with 308 home sites on a 495-hectare property. It has an excellent network of mountain bike trails, and tennis courts. A spa operates primarily over weekends and on demand.
4/ Elements was Golf Digest Best New Course in 2006.
5/ Another Matkovich bushveld course, Zebula, is 38 kilometres away along a dirt road.
6/ Elements hosted the 2021 SA Mid-Amateur Interprovincial, its first big tournament.
2021 Kobus Schlimmer & Nicky van Eyk
2020 Norman Kok & Retha Meyer
2019 Gerhart Meyer & Elfra van Eyk
A highlight of any round at Elements is playing the "pulpit hole," the par-3 ninth. The high tee built on a ridge opposite the clubhouse wasn't part of the original design, but rather a later addition. And it would never have worked in the era before golf carts. Walking up the long steep path from the eighth green would be too much of an ordeal for most golfers on a hot bushveld day. It would take golfers another five minutes to catch their breath before playing. The height is similar to Peter Matkovich's other pulpit par 3 at Cotswold Downs, but the carry to the green is much longer and creates doubt in your mind about what club to use to make sure of pitching the green. Your choice must be correct or you're in trouble. If you come up even fractionally short you're in the wetland at the foot of a steep bank with no view of the flag. Those who take a longer club find the back bunkers come into play, leaving a tricky downhill recovery shot. It's a memorable hole, but then each of the other par 3s are also distinctive. The 15th is a beauty, played through an avenue of trees to a remarkably long and undulating green.
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