South Africa's Greatest Golf Destinations, by Stuart McLean and Jamie Thom
Stuart McLean and Jamie Thom explain why South Africa's greatest golf destinations are so exciting to play, what prestigious tournaments they have hosted, and which illustrious players have competed there.
My first chance to see 'inside' a golf course was at Elements Private Golf Reserve near Bela-Bela in Limpopo. I was tasked with photographing the course from before ground was broken to the finished product. Every few months I made the two-hour drive to the Waterberg bush veld, and watching the course develop was fascinating. The engineering and technical side of it was complex - how greens are built in layers, the irrigation system and its wiring, managing the flow and storage of water. The creative aspect was also intriguing - watching golf course designer Peter Matkovich pace out the holes and plan each detail, such as what trees were going to be part of the design, where a bunker would go, the positioning of a tee box, the slope of a fairway and the shape of a green. Once you know what is involved in building a golf course and what is below ground level, you have a new appreciation of what is above the ground. The vision and imagination of a good course designer is a marvel; it is 'art and engineering in the ground'. South Africa has a rich golfing history and a handful of courses that are more than a hundred years old. The first golf club formed in the country was in the Cape, around 1885, where members played on a course called Waterloo Green, which is now Royal Cape. Our first national championship was held in Kimberley in 1892 and our first Open Championship in Port Elizabeth in 1903.
Golf courses have come a long way since those flat and simple layouts. Earthmoving machinery allows a bland piece of land to be shaped into just about anything. New methods of construction, modern irrigation systems and highly scientific horticultural practices, aided by big budgets and modern design styles, explain how the expansive courses of today have been achieved. With my photographs I have tried to capture the character of each course and what defines it. I like to show the hole in the most beautiful way, but I also try to show it the way golfers would see it so that they can imagine themselves playing it. With an extensive library of images, the thought of a book had been in the back of my mind when Random House Struik called to ask if I was interested in collaborating on a golf travel guide to South Africa. I presented my idea of what I wanted to produce and from both these concepts this book was born.
The travel aspect seemed appropriate because travelling in South Africa is one of the most satisfying aspects of my work. From Alicedale and Kathu to Port Edward and Phalaborwa, I have met wonderful people and been reminded of how extraordinary South Africa is. The beauty of our landscapes and the warmth of our people are ever-present. South Africa's diversity is reflected in our more than two hundred 18-hole golf courses. We have grand old courses, stunning natural links courses, parkland courses with towering trees lining the fairways, and dramatic courses built along ocean cliffs, among vineyards, high up in the mountains, in the bushveld and in game reserves. Bushveld courses are unique to South Africa and it is no surprise that many of our most highly rated courses are found in this category. In this book I have tried to illustrate this variety and showcase our top-ranked courses.
The final course photographed for this book was Sishen in the Northern Cape. I had been looking for a reason to go there and when it jumped up the Golf Digest rankings, I decided to make the six-hour trip from Johannesburg to Kathu. And I am glad I did. Sishen exemplifies what I love about golf courses - photography and travel. It is a magnificent course that plays among majestic camelthorn trees, and is possibly the prettiest I have ever photographed, an astounding gem in a little mining town that few people visit. South Africa has many such places and I hope this book will grow the game of golf and promote our industry, as well as spread the message of what a fabulous golf destination this country is.
This is an excerpt from the book: South Africa's Greatest Golf Destinations, by Stuart McLean and Jamie Thom.
Title: South Africa's Greatest Golf Destinations
Author: Stuart McLean
Photographer: Jamie Thom
Publisher: Random House Struik
Imprint: Travel and Heritage
Cape Town, South Africa 2009
ISBN 9781770076228 / ISBN 978-1-77-007622-8
Hardcover, dustjacket, 24x27 cm, 192 pages, throughout colour photos
McLean, Stuart und Thom, Jamie im Namibiana-Buchangebot
This lavishly illustrated coffee-table book explains why South Africa's Greatest Golf Destinations are so exciting to play, what prestigious tournaments they have hosted, and which illustrious players have competed there.
Lighthouses of South Africa is an epic story of shipping over the centuries and of mariners who embarked on competitive quests for wealth and exploration, braving the Cape of Good Hope.
A guide to development and evolution of a uniquely South African gardening style
Ein wunderbares, umfangreiches Südafrika-Kochbuch aus der Buchreihe "essen & leben".