By Nick Herbert – The Travelling Golf Dad
Mount Edgecombe Course One, now known as The Woods, is a parkland layout, and this extremely attractive golf course has hosted numerous amateur as well as professional tournaments and will therefore test any level of golfer. With four sets of tees, the course is playable by golfers of any handicap. Durban in March has to be the best climate and the reason why so many have retired in this massively grown area right out to Ballito on the North Coast of Kwazulu Natal. A mere 25 minutes from the airport and you enter the Mount Edgecombe compound. The estate is huge with two great courses to challenge you off the tees and on the greens.
My son and I played The Woods, which has less water to negotiate than the sister course, aptly named “The Lakes”. Having shortened the 6th hole from a Par 5 to a Par 3, it has the golfer playing a Par 70 shortish track which is hilly and asks the golfer to hit accurate drives within a lush parklands setting with palm trees, roaming antelope and wind to ensure you are kept fully engaged from hole to hole. Did I say lush? Try “super lush” as the area has had exceptional rains – highest in 50 years according to course manager Kevin Stone. His focus is now on hardening the greens to ensure pitch marks are minimal and cutting the rough almost daily to ensure rounds are not slowed down by hunting for balls every hole.
We played on a quiet Monday morning on a cart and completed our round in three hours flat. The condition right now is truly tiptop with greens running quick downhill but very slow on the uphill’s which we failed to adjust to. Bunkers are not beach sand which was surprising and instead more of a clay or heavier type – still very playable and no plugged lies. Holes that we enjoyed the most were the short uphill Par 4, 5th hole which stretches out of the tips to 278m. The highlight of the back nine was a tough downhill Par 3, 14th which normally plays into the wind and is 180m with water in play. There are three special holes that constitute the course’s “Amen Corner” from the 14th to 16th. Holes 14 to 16 are where water hazards come into play.
The first one is a par 5 with water guarding the green, followed by a par 3 across water, and a par 4 where a dam must be carried to reach the fairway. These 3 holes normally are the deciding holes in club championships. A slight drawback to our Monday round was that the halfway house didn’t have many food options, but this can be understood due to low traffic. My overall rating 80/100 and currently ranks 55th on my personal freehandicaps.com personal Top100 tracks played.