Address – Old Main Manzini/Mbabane Highway, Ezulwini
Par – 72
Rating – 72
Length – 6,140 metres
Best Time to Play – December to July
The Royal Swazi Sun championship course was opened for play in 1966. The greens and fairways were refurbished in December 1996 by renowned golf course architect Peter Matkovich. One of the most up-to-date irrigation systems was installed on the front nine, further enhancing the condition of the Durban Country Club grass greens and Kikuyu fairways. As a result, the greens have a thinner and therefore faster putting surface, and the fairways stand up well to constant use and remain relatively green throughout the year.
It’s a typical parkland layout, measuring 6140 metres from the men’s tees, and with a different mountain view from just about every tee and green. The course has been laid out on the slopes of the Lebombo mountain range, which curves gently down into the valley where the Swazi Spa Hotels are situated. The first nine holes are relatively flat, whilst the back fully exploits the mountainous terrain. Challenging features include lakes, gullies thick with vegetation, out of bounds areas close to fairways, deep bunkers and clusters of magnificent trees and indigenous plants. The clubhouse overlooks a natural amphitheatre, which in turn gives spectators a superb view of the 17th fairway over the lake and the ‘pulpit’ par-three 18th. A putting green is situated close to the clubhouse and an inviting bar on the first floor is decorated with a ‘memorabilia corner’ of trophies and paintings.
The signature hole is the par-five 12th hole. It’s the stroke 17, so, ostensibly, the second-easiest hole on the course, and measures 461 metres from the men’s tees. It’s a dog-leg and the hole enjoys majestic vistas of the Ezulwini Valley. The way to play it, firstly, is to negotiate your tee shot onto the tree-lined fairway, because a wayward drive will reduce your options significantly. However, if you’ve managed to find the fairway, reaching the green in two is a distinct possibility, particularly if you’ve caught the slope and left yourself with just a wedge into the green. But, beware, as there’s a cavernous bunker guarding the left side of the green, and that could spell trouble.
Affiliated Visitor/Non-resident – R330
Affiliated Visitor/Resident – R260
Caddies – R150
Cart – R200
Club Hire – R280
Where Is It?
It’s approximately eight kilometres south of Mbabane and is easily accessed from South Africa’s north-eastern cities, such as Nelspruit, Johannesburg and Pretoria. It’s approximately four hour’s drive from Johannesburg and the course is easy to find, located just off the highway, about three kilometres south of the village of Ezulwini, and is well sign-posted. If travelling from South Africa, entry visas for most nationalities can be obtained at the border crossing, but check before travelling.
Tel: +268 4165297, suninternational.com