Yellow 5807 metres, CR71.0/133
White 5329 metres, CR68.5/125
Blue 4995 metres, CR66.3/116
Red 4579 metres, CR64.5/113
Women’s blue, CR71.8/127
Women’s red, CR69.7/122
R630 sharing cart
Robert Trent Jones Junior 1983
35 (2022) & 28 (2021)
The iconic Wild Coast Sun course remains one of the most exhilarating golfing experiences in South Africa. Built on rugged undulating terrain next to the Indian Ocean, it offers a combination of quirky and dramatic holes, and was one of the first in the country by an American course architect.
It is surprisingly short from the club tees at 5329 metres (5828 yards), mainly because there are six par 3s, but then again there are no long par 4s. On a calm day it’s benign, yet extremely tricky and testing in a firm wind.
Owned by Sun International as part of their casino resort, the Wild Coast Sun followed in the footsteps of Sun City which had opened five years earlier. It’s a remote part of South Africa, 200 kilometres from King Shaka Airport – on an excellent highway – the beginning of a stretch of hundreds of kilometres of unspoiled and beautiful coastline known as the Wild Coast. The course can be quiet at times, which adds to the enjoyment and sense of isolation of a round.
Golf carts are compulsory today due to the hilly nature of the layout, but that wasn’t always the case. In the early years everyone walked. However, a funicular railway which took golfers up a steep hill from the 12th green to 13th tee no longer exists. Most fourballs usually employ a caddie or two, and the female Xhosa caddies are renowned for their friendly nature and ball-finding abilities.
The entrance to Wild Coast Sun is immediately across the bridge over the broad Mtamvuna River. This marks the boundary between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. So Wild Coast is in the Eastern Cape, even though as a golfing destination it aligns itself with the cluster of KZN South Coast courses. However, the club pays its affiliation fees to the Border Golf Union, 500 kilometres away in East London.
The Wild Coast Sun has had one club professional since it opened, the legendary Fred Beaver, who is now semi-retired and runs the pro shop. He arrived in September 1982, before the first holes were opened.
62 by Brett Liddle. Jean Hugo had a 60 (30-30) in October 2019 at Wild Coast Sun Challenge (eagle, 8 birdies), but there was placing.
There are six par 3s, varying in length from the 110-metre fourth – one of the few holes with an ocean view – to the 188-metre 11th. The sixth is a stunning downhill par 3 overlooking the Mtamvuna River, while the 168-metre 13th plays across a deep gorge to the green. The par-5 12th is one of the most spectacular holes in South Africa, the tee perched on the edge of a high precipice to a fairway far below bordering a wetland. The par-4 18th, again from an elevated tee, asks for a big carry over the resort’s main dam, and then a steeply uphill approach to the green.
Limited to warm-up nets at the first tee, and putting greens. There is a range for those golfers with their own golf balls on the road adjoining the tenth hole to the maintenance workshop.
The Wild Coast Sun is a resort course but club championships have been held over the past 40 years, but not every year. K Govender won the title 12 times between 1991 and 2011.
1/ The Wild Coast annually hosts Sunshine Tour events, and there have been numerous low scores on the par-70 layout, literally dozens of 61s and 62s. But the first round of 60 only came in October 2019 from veteran pro Jean Hugo, who went on to win the Wild Coast Sun Challenge. The first 61 was by Doug McGuigan in 2000, and Mark McNulty had one the next day. McNulty won six times at the Wild Coast.
2/ James Kingston’s 61 in the 2005 Nashua Masters (29-32) included scores from 1 to 5 on his card. He aced the 11th and had an eagle 2 at the second.
3/ The Wild Coast course can bite back painfully if the wind is up. Hugo’s final round after his 60 was a 74. Callum Mowat shot 61 in the first round and 76 in the second of that tournament.
4/ The Nashua Masters was played from 2001 to 2011; the lowest 72-hole winning score was 263 by Darren Fichardt in 2009, and the highest 279 by Hennie Otto in 2002.
5/ The first Sunshine Tour event at the Wild Coast was in 1984, and Seve Ballesteros was in the field, finishing third. Other international stars and major winners played in the Wild Coast Skins from 1987 to 1992.
6/ Each May since 1983 the Wild Coast hosts the Founders tournament, started by Charles Fiddian-Green and other founding members of the club.
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