Ebotse Links – August 2016
With the record breaking Open Championship still fresh in our minds, we thought it was time to tackle what is probably the premier links layout in Johannesburg. Ebotse Links course is located in Benoni on the East Rand. Ebotse is a surprise for first time visitors, it is a really good facility and a real test of golf. When I used the work “tackle” in the opening sentence, I was not going for dramatic effect. This course is a real test of golf for the Everyday golfer. For our single figure handicap brethren, who can hit it straight and control that little white sphere, Ebotse is probably a great change from the many parkland style courses throughout Johannesburg. For the mid to high handicap golfer who cannot accurately predict on any tee-box exactly which direction their ball will go, Ebotse is daunting.
Links golf was His idea of a practical joke
I think when God gave the Scottish Gents the idea for golf in around the early 1500s, it was His way of providing a challenging and entertaining pastime. Links golf was, I think, His idea of a practical joke. It is hard enough for most flawed golfers to hit the fairways, but then unreasonably unfair to place mounds all over the fairway so as to never give you a flat lie to hit your next shot even after you have managed to hit one straight for a change. Woe betide if you miss the fairway.
Ebotse, like other links courses, is unforgiving. If you find your ball (unlikely without a spotter), you will probably find yourself clambering up the side of a steep hill like some mountain goat, then have to try and hack the ball out from some crazy angle. If you are fortunate the ball may actually come out. The more likely (and sensible) outcome is that you take an unplayable lie and try and salvage something out of the hole. If God is feeling particularly irritable that day, he will get the wind to blow and this is the time to invest heartily in a lot of golf balls … because you will need them!
A unique driving range
Ebotse is a course that everyone should play at least once, the Peter Matkovich designed course is different to most courses on the Highveld and requires more thought and course management than most. It is picturesque and the greens were in very good condition. A unique feature is their driving range facility, where you hit your practice balls into a lake instead of a grass field. The balls actually float and they have their ball collector paddling a canoe around the lake collecting the balls. A really novel idea. The clubhouse was under construction during our visit, so only parts of it were accessible. It looks as if it will be an excellent facility once it has been completed. You’ve got to play it once. There will definitely be some of the best stories in the bar from your four ball, after a round at Ebotse Links.
My scariest hole – Number 12 – par 5 – The tee shot is a nightmare, especially for my “power Fade” Ebotse’s very own Amen Corner.
My favourite hole – Number 18 – par 5 – you can smell the beers in the Clubhouse.
Overall Experience rating by the Everyday Golfer: 8.5 out of 10.
Ebotse Golf and Country Estate website