HomeSportGolfRoyal Harare: Sweet, green and putty!

Royal Harare: Sweet, green and putty!

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A club rich in golf history, Royal Harare, was the obvious choice to host the 2012 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open which was blessed with a field full of world- class players.

With a history dating back to 1898, the Royal Harare Golf Club remains one of the leading and best managed courses.

Backed by wonderful weather, the course didn’t disappoint and most players who took part were full of praise for the picturesque Royal Harare course layout and the condition of the greens during last week’s Sunshine Tour sanctioned event.

“I love playing out here on this fantastic course – it has a lovely layout,” said the eventual champion Chris Swanepoel after his playoff win over Trevor Fisher (Jr) in a playoff on Sunday.

Swanepoel was one of many pros who complemented the course during the week.
Earlier in the tournament, another South African, Justin Waters, a two-time Sunshine Tour winner who went on to finish in a tie for fifth, had also expressed his satisfaction on the condition of the course.

“I like the course and I think it’s in good condition. My putting is a lot better and that gives you more confidence to make a good score,” Waters said.

Royal Harare is part of the “Royal” family of golf courses around the world and has over the last three years befittingly hosted the country’s premier golf tournament.In an interview with NewsDay Sport during the course of the tournament, the Royal Harare Golf Club general manager Ian Mathieson stated timely preparation was the secret in ensuring the course was ready on time.
“We started our planning earlier than we have done in past years and we were ready to host the event a lot earlier.

“This being our third year in a row hosting this tournament, we now know exactly what’s required and we managed to get the course ready very early.

“I must say the Royal Harare team have done an amazing job. We have what I believe is a world standard golf course which is in amazing condition.

“We are honoured to have been tasked with hosting the Zim Open. It’s a huge boost to our golf and tourism to host tournaments of this magnitude, as it shows that Zimbabwe has some great golf facilities of a world-class standard to play on,” said Mathieson.

The course was originally built in the 1880s and was remodelled in the 1950s by Fred Hawtree, a noted British designer, who was charged with the responsibility of bringing the course to modern standards yet not losing its traditional ambiance.

The redesign of this top-ranked course was accomplished with the collaboration of Zimbabwean golf legend Nick Price.

Royal Harare is a typical parkland course. There are 57 of more than 550 species of trees indigenous to Zimbabwe, as well as 51 non-indigenous trees along the course. The well-manicured fairways are planted with kikuyu grass and the greens are bent grass, which was introduced in 1986. More than 74 species of birds have been identified on the course.

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