Elements – Waterberg
Rating – 72
Length – 6527m (red), 6204m (white)
Best Time to Play – October, November
Elements Private Golf Reserve is a residential estate with plenty of natural game, in the form of Kudu, Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Blesbok, Red Haartebeest and Mountain Reedbuck. The course itself is a Peter Matkovich design and opened in June of 2005. It was named “Best New Course” in South Africa by Golf Digest magazine in 2006 and is currently ranked 15th in the magazine’s latest course rankings.
It’s a championship layout, designed to test the lower handicap golfer. The greens are in excellent nick and the overall manicuring is out of the top draw, with even the tee boxes being given plenty of attention. The other significant “element” in the make-up of the course is the length. If you don’t consider yourself long off the tee, then don’t make the mistake of having a pop at the red markers. The only respite on the front nine is the shortish par-four sixth, but the stroke 18 still requires an accurate tee-shot with a three-wood or hybrid and it’s one of four challenging doglegs over the opening nine holes. The par-three ninth is an interesting carry over water to a green linked to the 18th green, which makes for an eye-catching finishing hole – a par-five down the hill to a green reachable in two, but with water guarding the front. In general, the back nine, like the front, requires a fair amount of shot-shaping, if that’s something that exists in your armoury. Otherwise, you may need to hit the ball far enough, either off the tee or with your approach, to counter the challenging design. As former pro Sean Lawless says in summary, “it’s a little bit demanding off the tee, but as long as you don’t stray off the tee, it’s fair. There’s a premium on ball-striking.” Indeed, because some rather nasty bushveld awaits the errant ball-striker. Perhaps it’s fitting that the final word goes to Matkovich. “This, for me, is what golf in Africa is all about,” he said.
According to current pro Nico Haarhoff the par-three 11th can play a number of different ways, due to the elevated tee and the different potential hole locations. The 11th has a big green and missing to the right is not an option, due to a large, deep bunker and thick bushveld. “You also need to account for the elevation change and you need to factor in the wind,” says Haarhoff. “The bail-out is short and left, as this will probably leave you with a fairly simple chip up the green. The key to this hole is club selection. Take a little time on the tee to ensure you get this right. I like to flight downhill shots a little lower, so as to control the trajectory better, and that’s my recommendation with this hole.”
Rates (18 holes)
Visitors (weekday) – R290
Visitors (weekend) – R370
Cart Hire (no caddies) – R220
Club Hire – R150
Where is it?
It’s located in the Waterberg region in South Africa’s Limpopo province. The drive from Johannesburg will take you approximately three hours, whilst Pretoria is 90 minutes away. From Johannesburg, head north on the N1 Pietersburg highway and take the second Warmbaths turn-off (exit 238). From there, right at the T-junction, then first left, follow the road and turn right into Grobbelaar. From there, Elements is sign-posted.
Tel: +27 14 7366910, elementspgr.co.za