It’s officially the end of Day 3 of my Garden Route Golf Tour (if you take away the ‘running start’ I had to the trip on the weekend).
Today I played my second round of golf on the Garden Route Golf Passport, and of all the courses I am going to playing this week, Pezula Championship Course, was probably one of the ones I have been most looking forward to.
Yesterday I made the long drive back to Knysna (30 minutes) from Plettenberg Bay and was dropped off by the Baz Bus at the African Jewel Lodge, which is very centrally located only two blocks from the main road and 10 minutes walk from the Waterfront area. I am staying in the dorm room again (@ R100 per night), but they also have a variety of double and twin rooms.
I was a little bit disappointed this morning when the Tuk-Tuk I ordered as my taxi to the course ended up being a smoky old Honda, but in retrospect it might have been a bit chilly in the open seats at the back at 6:45am.
That was about were my disappointment ended today, the club and facilities at Pezula were amazing. Now I know, I am used to travelling on a shoestring budget, changing clothes in the car park of a course in New Zealand, or eating peanut butter sandwiches from the trunk of the car instead of a Halfway House, but I have also worked at some of the finest private Country Clubs in the USA and this looks and feels just like them.
The course doesn’t allow you much time to warm up as the 1st hole is the Stroke 1 hole, a Par 5, which was made even harder as I duffed my 4-iron just past the ladies tee. I lost my first ball on the 4th hole as I hit my tee shot straight into the sun that had just come up over the horizon. I hoped I would find it in the middle of the fairway, but no such luck!
The Front Nine plays across the hill, so as to overlook the town of Knysna and the lagoon, while the Back Nine affords sweeping views of steep cliffs and the waves of the Indian Ocean pounding up against them. It is the type of course that I am sure will be easier to play the second time, as you learn the course and figure where you can and can’t hit blind tee and approach shots. I think I must have hit at least a dozen of the hundred or so bunkers that cover the course, and being the eternal optimist I choose to look at it with the view that I managed to avoid more than 90 of the bunkers they set out to trap me with!
Apart from the average golf on my part, the experience was incredible, a once in a lifetime experience that hope isn’t just a once in a lifetime experience! I was worried that the anticipation would be hard to match, but it was everything I could have hoped for and more, and thanks to the Garden Route Golf Passport, someone travelling and playing golf on a shoestring budget like myself, I was able to experience a round of golf at one of the top courses in South Africa.
I didn’t have a Limo, Rolls Royce or even a cheap rental car waiting for me at valet when I handed back my golf cart, instead I strapped my golf clubs into the back of a Tuk-Tuk and headed back into town and to the African Jewel Lodge.
In the evening I headed down to the waterfront to see if I could go on a sunset cruise out onto the lagoon, but they were all sold out. The alternative wasn’t too bad and I was happy to settle for a cold Savanna Dry and an awesome sunset with a view over the Harbour.
Next stop George, to play George Golf Club and Kingswood Golf Estate…