Royal Port Alfred has become an impressively conditioned course over the past year, and I’ve rarely seen the greens running as true and flowingly as they are now. What a difference it makes to such an interesting layout. I visited soon after the annual Mad Hatter tournament, the club’s popular festival week, and that may have been the reason. Playing this ancient layout (used for golf since 1907) is an enriching experience because it’s all about dealing with the natural elements of wind and hilly terrain, ignoring the distances you normally hit certain clubs. At the 290m uphill 15th into the breeze I had to convince myself that a 6-iron was the club from 100 metres out, and still left it short of the pin. That’s the difference between golf in the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape. The two destinations adjoin each other, yet one is manicured and predictable modern golfing heaven and the other is wild, anachronistic and quirky. How lucky we are to have both to enjoy.