The city of Ndola is the third largest in Zambia with a population of around half a million people and it’s the capital of the copperbelt province. It lies just to the south of Democratic Republic of Congo and, although still a major provider of cement in the country, its pre-1980s production heydays are long since gone.
Like many towns and cities in the country, Ndola's sporting life was heavily supported by the now disbanded mining conglomerate, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd, and with the demise of ZCCM, many facilities have unfortunately disappeared. Ndola Golf Club has happily stayed alive and continues to thrive, even with the continuation of troubled economic times in the area.
The inaugural Zambia Open on the Sunshine Tour was held at Ndola back in 1972 – won by Welshman Craig DeFoy – and the club hosted the event three more times (Sam Torrance winning in 1975, Tommy Horton in 1977 and Brian Barnes in 1979) before it moved to Lusaka in 1980. The competition made a brief reappearance back at Ndola in 1996 before it moved again to its old spiritual home in 2007, reappearing twice again in 2009 and 2010.
Our African Correspondent, Stuart
McLean, played at Ndola in March 2016 and had this to say about his
Ndola was the only course I played (on a recent trip to Zambia) which lies in the heart of a city. A busy main road runs parallel to the uphill 18th hole, next to a shopping mall. But the other seventeen holes are thankfully very much away from the bustle and noise and have the same peaceful surroundings I found elsewhere.
There’s a superb finishing stretch of holes directly in front of the elevated old clubhouse building, from which you can watch play on 16 to 18 under the shade of the trees. The greens of 16 and 18 are side by side.
Ndola was the first club to introduce professional tournaments to the country, as early as 1954 before the new course was opened in 1959. Harold Henning, Retief Waltman, Denis Hutchinson and Papwa Sewgolum were among the early champions, plus Terry Westbrook who was once the club pro.
The Cock of the North tournament is no longer played, but Ndola has hosted four Zambian Opens since it became part of the Sunshine Tour in 1996, plus the inaugural Zambia Ladies Open in 2014. A hotel is being built alongside the opening hole, so one can expect tournaments to return again.
One of the unique features of golf courses in Zambia are the giant ant heaps. They were used as natural features when the courses were originally built. Virtually every course has them, in varying degrees of height and size, but they seem to be more prevalent than ever at Ndola Golf Club.