The Madibaz will take a trip to the City of Saints this weekend to play the Belmont golf course in preparation of the upcoming University Sports South Africa tournament.
The annual event will be hosted by Rhodes University from December 4 to 8 – the first varsity week to be played on the challenging layout.
The 18-hole course, which opened in 2015, is the newest in the Eastern Cape. It is located 10 kilometres to the south of Makhanda in a narrow agricultural valley with undulating terrain.
The course is relatively short at 5 710m and includes five par-5s, five par-3s and eight par-4s, six of which are shorter than 350m.
The sloping surfaces of many of the greens create a strong defence against the lack of distance, as does the indigenous bush bordering most of the holes.
Madibaz Golf Club president Karl du Preez described the course as one that suited those who were more familiar with the challenges.
“We are fortunate that our players were exposed to the conditions at Belmont during the intervarsity (with Rhodes, Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu) earlier this year, but it is a course you need to play often to develop your strategy.”
That is why they are recceing it this weekend, he said.
“It is to give our players further opportunities to familiarise themselves with the demands of the layout.”
Madibaz will take two four-man teams to the event, with the A side focused on finishing among the medals.
In the previous USSA tournament, a depleted Madibaz outfit ended fourth last.
“We were missing JP van der Watt and Altin van der Merwe on that occasion,” Madibaz Sport golf manager Theresa le Roux said.
“This time we have our best players available and will definitely be aiming to move up in the final rankings.”
Besides the difficulties presented by the course, she felt that the hot weather in the region at this time of the year could also prove to be an obstacle.
“They will have to adapt to it.”
With the top four showing good form at the moment, Le Roux was quietly confident of achieving a good result. She, however, did not rule out standout performances by the other four.
The first three days of the tournament are dedicated to the individual stroke play competition with the final two reserved for the team event.
Madibaz A: Van der Watt, Tian Tibsheraeny, Wian van Aswegen and Lumkile Mantshiyo.
Madibaz B: Michael McLean, Joshua van Vuuren, Chris Engelbrecht and Marchell Pretorius.