Having returned from the inaugural African Golf Safari International from the 21st to the 26th of February 2015 at Legends Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo province of South Africa I already can’t wait until the next one. It was an intoxicating (very!) combination of winter sun in the bush, beers, braai (bbq) and golf whilst making new friends from all over the world. Highlights of the week included my bunch from Northern Ireland roaring out the Wild Rover at every opportunity, my old mate Suresh calling a zebra a giraffe, helicopter golf at the Extreme 19th, glorious weather and making a 233-yard eagle on the risk and reward 18th hole! But the ultimate was the charming Aneta from Poland calling pine trees penis trees!
Many thanks to my good friend Scott Edkins from Ascot Tours who arranged the event, by far the best run event I have been to. His faithful sidekicks Werner and Jenna as well as the always smiling staff at Legends Resort couldn’t have done more to make the week go smoothly. Once we have details of next year’s event we’ll send them out and I look forward to many of you coming out and joining the fun!
The field included over 60 players from Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Poland, South Africa and the USA and I brought out eight Chaka players from Northern Ireland.
Our group flew in a day early allowing us a practice round and the opportunity to settle in in advance of the busy event that was to come.
On the first official evening we had dinner in the clubhouse and after that we went outside and were entertained by local African dancers and were able to view and enjoy stars in the clear African sky.
Having a practice round helped as after day one of the 54 hole, individual stableford competition three of my Northern Irish team were in the top five. After the round we sat back and had a few cold beers and took part in a fun putting competition with the opportunity to win a place to return next year.
On day 2 scoring became more difficult and Edwardo Juta played really well and was on top of the leader board. I finished with a birdie on 17th and an eagle on the 18th which helped make my score more respectable after a tough day at the office up till that point! Dinner was enjoyed with a an African sunset at the Extreme 19th sunset deck and enjoyed a superb variety of South African food.
The following day was truly memorable. We had an early start and went on a game drive through some stunning scenery and the highlight of the game viewing was seeing rhino in the wild. After the game drive we had breakfast al fresco before taken by helicopter up to the Hangklip Mountain tee box for the Extreme 19th Challenge. Playing this 430m par 3, with the green in the shape of the map of Africa, is a unique experience and was one of the highlights of the event. One of my team Glen Telford put his second and third balls on the green and made an excellent 5.
After lunch we played on the Par 3 Tribute course, which recreates 10 of the world’s most famous par 3’s. Petar Strnad from Czeck Republic won this par 3 men’s competition with 21 points and Marina Juta with 19 points won the ladies.
In the evening the 10th hole, which replicates the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, was used for the night golf “Hole in 1” event. After dinner all countries sang songs in their own language and a fun time was had by all. The non-golfer partners were kept busy with Big 5 game drives, a scenic helicopter flight over the Waterberg Mountains, spa treatments and trips to the wild life centre for endangered species. Lunch was served on the lake side deck and rounded off with a boat cruise on the dam.
The final day of the competition had 6 players still in the running to win including two of the NI team. Crowds gathered around the AGSI branded 18th green to welcome and applaud the winner. The champion was Edwardo Juta with a total of 114 points and he made a birdie on the 18th to secure his victory and he was heartily congratulated by Clive ‘Choker’ Irwin and the rest of the field. Lucie Kopecka from the Czech Republic won the ladies event with a well played 97 points. The band “India” provided lively music during the very festive awards ceremony, which ended this most enjoyable and successful event.
Please email us if you would like to be kept informed about next years event.