Par – 71
Rating – 72 (club tees)
Length – 6164m (championship tees)
Best Time to Play – April to December
Originally constructed in 1943, Leopard Rock consisted of a short, fun nine-hole course with beautiful views, until Tony Taberer, a prominent businessman, purchased the hotel in 1990 and began renovation and expansion of the resort. Taberer commissioned leading golf course architect, Peter Matkovich, to design a championship golf course. Work commenced in late 1991 and the first nine holes opened in May of 1993.
“Leopard Rock is a parklands course with a view from almost every tee”, says resident professional Byran Rocher. The course has bent grass greens, kikuyu tees and fairways that are lined with indigenous trees, wild orchids, tree ferns and a spectacular variety of bird life. On the front nine, after holing out on the picturesque eighth green, which is surrounded by fern trees and a water feature, you walk through the rocks up to the ninth tee, to face “The Leopard Rock” – one of the many feature holes. It’s an intimidating par-three, which plays 160 metres from the club tees, with the carry all over water. The first few holes of the back nine are fairly straightforward, before the stern test starts at the par-four 13th hole. It’s 412 metres long and the tee shot needs to be threaded between the rocks on the left and the lush tropical forest on the right. You are then faced with an approach shot of between 150 and 200 metres over a ravine, which runs across the front of the green, which has a severe slope ready to punish any errant shot. “Leopard Rock is relatively difficult for the average golfer”, says Rocher, “with several carries over thick bush or water”. That being said, with the length only 6164 metres from the championships tees, the course plays fairly short for professional golfers, although there is some defence in the form of the undulating greens, which are built to USGA specification.
With stunning views from almost every hole, it’s difficult to single out one of the 18. But, officially, the signature hole is the 14th hole. It’s a downhill par-three, with an elevation drop of 30 metres from tee to green, against the spectacular back-drop of the mountainous Burma Valley. “At 165 metres from the club tee, it requires a short to middle iron to a green that is protected by two small dams on the left and palm trees on the right”, says Rocher. “The sensible play is to the front right of the green, which would leave you a decent chance to make par”
Hotel Resident – U$25 – 18 Holes
Non-Resident Visitor – U$40 – 18 Holes
Caddy – U$10 – 18 Holes
Cart Hire – U$30 – 18 Holes
Club Hire – U$20 – 18 Holes
From Harare, it’s approximately 300 kilometres, in an easterly direction, to Mutare and Leopard Rock is situated 35 kilometres from Mutare in the Bvumba Mountains. Leopard Rock is well sign-posted and easy to find, if you follow the Bvumba Road.
Tel: +263 (0) 20 60115; +263 (0) 772 100790, theleopardrock.com