The ground at Bunkers Hill was the third and final site chosen by East London Golf Club members and the course opened in 1923, thirty years after the club was formed. The course has hosted the South African Open six times (between 1930 and 2001) and it’s widely regarded as one of the top tracks in the Eastern Cape. A sixteen-year-old Ernie Els won his only SA Amateur here in 1986.
Located a short distance north of East London and set out on elevated ground close to the coast, the layout has a great mix of parkland and links features with undulating fairways and elevated greens, many of which are heavily protected by bunkers. East London has been described as “a delightful world of roller-coaster golf” where golfers have to contend with steep climbs up and down dunes, more often than not with a strong wind blowing in off the sea.
The signature hole 9th is a dogleg left par four where the tee shot is struck from an elevated tee to the crest of a high,
sloping fairway. A good drive will take the slope into a beautiful narrow
valley, and allow a long second shot into the green. The second part of the hole
is daunting, both sides of the hole being framed by thick coastal
East London first hosted the Sunshine Tour’s
Africa Open in 2009, when it was won by Retief Goosen. In 2010 it became part of
the European Tour, and the winners have been Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen
(twice), Darren Fichardt, Thomas Aiken and Trevor Fisher. The last Africa Open
was played in 2015, when the sponsorship was discontinued.