Tagged as the number 1 course in the country, my expectations were very high. I had the benefit of playing the course twice at different times of the day so I got to experience varying playing conditions.
The 9th and 18th green share a pond, giving the ‘island green’ affect which certainly grabs your attention and demands a perfectly struck (and judged) approach shop to avoid the need for swimming trunks. The back nine at Leopard Creek offers fabulous variety, challenge, risk, reward and even a downhill Redan par 3 with Kruger National Park as the jaw-dropping back drop. The 11th is a par 4 playing straight uphill with a tight tee-shot, the 12th is the Redan – however, the best hole on the property is the par 5 13th hole. I was massively impressed with every shot on this hole. The drive plays out to a diagonal plateau with water the whole way down the left-hand side until the green. The fairway narrows on the second shot leaving a daunting 80-100 yard pitch for the third shot on the green which is perched menacingly above the Crocodile River. The magnificence of Kruger National Park marries beautifully with the iconic 13th hole. I also appreciated the “all or none” feeling you have standing the par 3 16th hole which asks for a 190 yard shot over water. Most photographs at Leopard Creek are of the glorious downhill par 5 18th which brings you back to that treacherous island green.
Date: September 07, 2015