The BWD Tournament Hole of the Week: November 10-13, 2016. The 9th at Gary Player CC, Home of Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Tournament: Nedbank Golf Challenge – Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa
Hole: 9th – Par 5, 596 Yards
Architect(s): Gary Player – 1979

Architectural Summary:

The 9th hole at the Gary Player Country Club presents a risk-reward par 5 scoring opportunity to close the front nine. Measuring 596 yards, the hole will often encourage a risky second shot, specifically for longer players, into the large green with a strong hybrid or 3 wood. From the tee, competitors will look to play to the right side of the fairway in hopes to attain the best angle of approach if going for the green in two shots. A single, but rather large, fairway bunker is located to the right of the fairway from 275 yards to 300 yards, and desert trees with low limbs line the fairway which can create trouble for any players missing the fairway. Players looking to play conservatively from the tee will play to the left side of the fairway, away from the fairway bunker, which actually shortens the length of the hole but also creates a second shot where the green is “blind” as it is tucked behind a grouping of trees. Only a small percentage of the field is long enough to reach the green in two shots. If the fairway is missed, players will be forced to lay up. A small lake is located short and left of the slightly elevated green which will encourage “lay-up” shots to be played to the right side of the fairway. The island green is surrounded by an “upper” lake, measures 43 yards wide and 23 yards deep, and features subtle undulation. The green, which slopes from back right to front left, can present difficult pin locations towards the edges, particularly back-right, where approach shots can easily find the water if mishit. Overall, competitors should be able to score well on the final par 5 of the front nine if the water is avoided around the island green.

Statistical Analysis:

During the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge, the 9th hole played as the most difficult par 5 with a scoring average of 4.78 (2 eagles, 47 birdies, 54 pars, 12 bogeys, and 5 doubles).

Fun Facts:

  • The Gary Player CC is located in the crater of an extinct volcano. The golf course is also bordered by the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
  • Marc Leishman, 2015 tournament champion, played the 9th hole to -3 with three birdies in his 5-stroke victory. Only one competitor played the 9th better, Chris Wood played the hole to -4 with one eagle and two birdies.
  • Since 1981, the Gary Player CC has been home to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, formerly known as the Million Dollar Golf Challenge. The tournament became part of the European Tour in 2014.