Enjoyed the beautiful variety of holes at Houghton watching the Joburg Open. It’s a brilliantly balanced course in terms of where tour pros can attack and where to show caution. The greens were outstanding, both in condition and in their varied contours to provide edgy pin positions. I will use the remarkable length off the tee of Wilco Nienaber to illustrate Houghton’s strengths and weaknesses. There were five holes that Nienaber dominated, the three par 5s (3, 5 and 10) and two short par 4s (1 and 17). He was 16-under on these holes, yet 8-over on the other 13. Both the first and 17th played a little like long par 3s, yielding 290 birdies and 2 eagles. I was pleased to see one of the club’s normal par-5s (15) played as a par 4. Another par 5, either 3 or 5, should also have been a 4 for this tournament. Everyone was hitting irons for their second shots (55 eagles and 495 birdies on the two of them). They played to a lower scoring average than 15. In the highveld, anything under 520 metres should be a 4 for the pros. That would give a more realistic judge of the course’s defence in terms of sub-par scores.