Designed by Annika Sorenstam in conjunction with Stan Eby of European Golf Design, the course at Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro nestles in the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains, where you generally only see the hole that you’re playing on this beautiful bushveld course. It’s regarded as one of the best courses for bird watching and twitchers can expect to see more than a hundred different species in any given day.
Opened for play in 2008, it’s part of an impressive residential complex that’s been developed by the Erasmus family on farmland that belonged to them. It’s also the first African project undertaken by EGD and Annika’s second signature course after Mission Hills, Shenzhen.
Despite the fact that it measures more than 7,700 yards from the white tees, Annika says the course “will favour the strategic player rather than the big hitter”. We presume she’s referring to golfers who play from the two most forward sets of tees – reds are 5659 yards and greens are 6556 yards – because even the second-tier blue tees require a golf ball to be propelled all of 7,194 yards round this course.
The short par four 11th is a contender for signature hole. The tee shot is played over a stream that winds its way along the left side of the fairway, past a couple of sentinel Marula trees, towards the only two-tiered green on the course. This hole is followed shortly after at the 13th by another terrific par four. On the tee, golfers get a chance to soak in the scenery from the highest point on the course before launching a drive onto a fairway that doglegs to the right.
Jeremy Slessor, MD of European Golf Design, kindly commented as follows:
Situated within the Waterberg mountain range, in Limpopo and just two hours north of Johannesburg, Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro is the first golf course designed by a woman in the African continent. Annika Sorenstam, along with Stan Eby of European Golf Design, has designed a course to reward those that play as she played during her career – with strategy in mind, rather than sheer power. As she said “You have to think about every shot – the course will favour the player that can think, and play, strategically.”
With views of undisturbed bushveld, the commitment was to design and develop the course to preserve and enhance the indigenous flora and fauna. Wide undulating fairways are punctuated by zone of wild, native grasses, deep bunkers and a natural ravine which cuts through many of the holes, creating both aesthetic interest and challenge. The course, from the back tees, plays to a length of 7,055m, although at an elevation of almost a mile, the ball travels about 10% further than normal. From the forward tees, the course is a much more comfortable 5145m. Part of Annika's unique approach was to ensure that the whole family could enjoy the course, with special thought given to the placement of the forward tees, allowing women, juniors and seniors the opportunity to enjoy playing through the sheer natural beauty of the Estate.