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250 miles N of Lusaka
The mining town of Mufulira lies less than ten miles from the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Copperbelt Province and the golf course was built in the 1930s as a recreational amenity for the workforce at the large copper mine.
Owned by Mopani Copper Mines and operated by Mark Wiltshire’s Golf Management Company, the course at Mufulira Golf Club hosted the 3rd edition of the Zambia Open back in 1974, when Christy O’Connor Jnr won with a ten under par aggregate score of 282.
There are plans in place to renovate the course (in line with what’s been done at Mopani’s other golf facility at Nkana) and, if this comes to pass, the club would like to once again be considered as a candidate to host another Zambia Open in the future.
The Mufulira Director of Golf, Louis Bester, kindly provided the following comments:
The toughest hole on the card is number 14, which is fairly flat, long and straightforward. There are two big bunkers located to the right and left of the elevated green, with a narrow entrance to the putting surface. If you miss the green completely, you will have a very tricky bunker shot from these deep sand traps.
The signature hole is number 12, a par three requiring a mid to long iron shot from an elevated tee. The green is totally surrounded by four bunkers and very thick vegetation, making this a really challenging hole. If you stray into the rough, you might well have a difficult time retrieving then playing your ball.
Our African Correspondent, Stuart McLean, played at Mufulira in March 2016 and had this to say about his visit:
Mufulira used to host its own professional tournament every year as part of the now defunct Safari Tour. This was in the 1970s and early 1980s when the European Tour lasted seven or eight months of the year, and the British professionals would spend their winters in Africa.
In the corner of a dingy bar in the Mufulira clubhouse are recorded the names of the Mufulira Open champions between 1970 and 1984. Among them were Bernard Gallacher, Christy O’Connor Jnr, Eamonn Darcy and Jack Newton. The pros were hosted by local members in the neighbouring mine houses, and the parties that week must have been legendary.
I found it exceptionally long if I didn’t get a good drive away. There are back tees and ladies tees, that’s all. The back tees were about 6,300 metres, and as this was the ‘wet season’ the fairways were lush.
It was a step back in time, if you wanted to shoot a colonial 1930s movie here, nothing would have to be altered. Four holes on the back nine required a walk over a deserted railway line.