21st April 2020 | Sunshine Tour
The hole I miss playing right now – players speak
Some look daunting. Some look gorgeous to the eye. Some are treacherously inviting. No matter the golf course, there’s always that one hole that any player can’t wait to play again, or wishes never to lay eyes upon for the remainder of their careers.
With the national lockdown in full effect and social distancing encouraged as a way to fight the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), professional golfers – while appreciating the importance of staying at home and limiting social contact, and while they are grateful to spend time with families – are itching to get out onto the fairways.
“I miss feeling fearful on the 10th tee box at Nkana Golf Club,” Michael Palmer says, it’s not my favourite hole by any stretch of the imagination but I miss having to overcome that feeling of pressure on that tee box. It’s a very tight tee shot with an angle and all sorts of trees there which makes it very daunting. That’s the hole I miss playing right now.” Nkana Golf Club is in Kitwe up the Copperbelt region of Zambia and is host to the Mopani Redpath Zambia Open.
Longing for the same thrill as Palmer feels when stepping up to the 10th at Nkana Golf Club in Ndola, Toto Thimba Jr admits that the hole he misses playing isn’t the easiest and that is exactly what he misses about it.
“The eighth hole at the Gary Player Country Club,” he says, “that hole is tough. That hole makes you think. You will be five-under after round one and get there on day two and miss the cut. I miss it because it challenges me, it’s not your easy hole. You will think hard there.” The Gary Player Country Club is home to ‘Africa’s Major’, the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Nevertheless, while some holes will make a player earn his money for sure as Thimba rightly points out, some are just so beautiful so that they become a distraction when a player isn’t focused on the job at hand.
“I miss playing the 13th hole at Leopard Creek,” says Ruan De Smidt, “that hole is unreal. There are not many golf courses with features like those and just standing there and looking down at the river is something special.”
Daniel van Tonder who came sixth at last year’s Alfred Dunhill Championship says the one hole he misses playing is the 18th hole at Leopard Creek. “That hole has been kind to me,” he says.
In last year’s competition there, Van Tonder walked away with a birdie, two pars and bogey in the four days he played that hole, to eventually finish sixth in the tournament. “It’s a beautiful hole and I really like Leopard Creek.”