The second tournament on the Vodacom Origins of Golf series tees off at Zebula Country Club this week, where series patron Retief Goosen has both fond and frightening memories.
GoosenÂs career is the theme of the prestigious pro-am series, which has been dubbed ÂThe Goose ChaseÂ. Each event features a select group of invited amateurs teeing it up alongside the Sunshine TourÂs professionals for the chance to win a place in the final at the end of the year, and the chance to play golf with Goosen there.
But for this week, Goosen believes the golfers will enjoy the bushveld feel of the Zebula course as much as he does, which is why he has a home there.
ÂGrowing up in Polokwane we were always on the farms on the weekends. It was either my grandfatherÂs farm or my dadÂs farm. So I grew up in the bush. I love the silence, I love hearing all the animals, and I love just sitting around the fire at night,Â says Goosen.
But he also remembers well how the local wildlife once got a bit too close for comfort.
ÂWe had a scary experience in our house there a few years ago. The kids were watching TV downstairs in the playroom, and my wife Tracy was sitting with them. Leo got up to get a drink out of the fridge and said, ÂMommy, thereÂs a snake hereÂ. It was behind the bench, and turned out to be a Mozambican spitting cobra. It was a scary moment. I was sitting upstairs with my caddie, Mark. We ran downstairs and managed to get rid of the snake.Â
Professional Ryan Cairns won the opening event on the six-tournament series in May. But a host of golfers will travel to Zebula in good form.
Jake Roos is coming off a win and a finish of tied 8th in recent weeks. Andrew Georgiou has twice finished in the top three recently, while Albert Pistorius has two top-tens over the past three events on the Sunshine Tour.
And Goosen believes theyÂll be rewarded with a course that provides a good challenge.
ÂThe golf course is always in great shape and I enjoy playing it. It has good practice facilities. I played a couple of rounds there last December with my brothers, and it was in great shape.Â
By Michael Vlismas