This week the Sunshine Tour returns to Sishen Golf and Country Club, one of our most memorable locations, for the third of six Vodacom of Golf Origins events in the 2016 schedule.
The last time we visited Sishen Golf and Country Club in 2012, Trevor Fisher Jnr claimed the second of back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour. Fisher followed up his victory at the Wild Coast Sun with a play-off victory over Christiaan Basson. Some four years later, we return to Kathu in the Northern Cape.
Fisher now plies his trade predominantly on the European Tour where he currently sits 109th in the Race to Dubai. It’s been a relatively quiet year for Fisher after a 2015 that included a win at the Africa Open, a share of fourth at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and a tie-third finish at the Portugal Masters.
Who to watch
Basson will be amongst those to keep an eye on after his play-off challenge in 2012, while Doug McGuigan will certainly prove to be a favourite.
McGuigan finished third at the event in 2012 and he still produces impressive results on the Sunshine Tour week-in and week-out. After four consecutive top-20 finishes, including a share of fifth at the Sun Wild Coast Sun challenge just two weeks ago, McGuigan will look for a first win since the 2011 KCM Zambia Open.
Danie van Tonder is another man who comes into the week with a recent string of impressive results. The 25-year-old has notched up four top-10 finished on the Sunshine Tour in his last five starts, including a share of second at the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge.
Jbe’ Kruger and Jacques Blaauw are back from their expeditions in Europe and Asia, while Madalitso Muthiya and Ruan de Smidt always look to push come the final day.
The course, in an area that battles with water, is regarded with affection by many of the professionals, and winds its way through a 50 hectare kameeldoring forest on the edge of the Kalahari Desert.
It was built and is maintained by Sishen Iron Ore Mine and officially opened in 1979. It was the last course designed by Robert (Bob) Grimsdell, but he did not live to see it completed.
The course is approximately 6,450 meters long, and has a rating of 72. With its unique setting, it makes for a spectacular viewing and is a truly unique South African golfing experience.
Kathu means ‘town under the trees’, after the kameeldoring forest it is situated in. The phrase was coined by an engineer working in the town in the early 1990 as part of a tourist marketing drive.
The meaning of the word ‘Kathu’ has anecdotally been attributed to a porridge brewed by the local population from the powder found in the pods of the kameeldoring trees.
Significant Stone Age sites occur in and around Kathu and on adjacent farms. These are subject to on-going archaeological research.