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Top 5 Golf Courses of Zambia 2017

19 October, 2016

Top 5 Golf Courses of Zambia 2017

Top 100 Golf Courses presents its inaugural ranking chart for Zambia

It was around this time last year that we published our first rankings for Nigeria so we felt it was about time we took the plunge back into the Dark Continent to unearth another African chart. We’ve recently added Stuart McLean, respected author and Editor of Golf Digest South Africa, to the Top 100 team and his recent trip to Zambia prompted us to formulate our first Top 5 chart for the country.

According to the Zambia Golf Union, there are currently twenty-two clubs affiliated to the national governing body. The Union’s website isn’t exactly bursting with information about golf courses located within its boundaries but we’ve managed to tap into several other reliable sources to find out more about the top tracks within the country so we’re confident that we’ve correctly identified the handful of courses which deserve most recognition.

We also learned through our research that architect Peter Matkovich (who recently made South African professional Louis Oosthuizen a partner in his design group) is currently working on a couple of Zambian projects, one called Bonanza in Lusaka and the other in Kalumbila, and they’re scheduled to open for play next year. Perhaps one, or even both, of these new designs will appear in the next edition of our listings.

The Zambia Open has become a permanent fixture on the Sunshine Tour since it was added to the circuit back in 1996, though the first edition of the nation’s foremost professional tournament was held twenty-four years before then, when Welshman Craig Defoy won the first of his back-to-back Zambian titles. Interestingly, of the forty annual Opens that have taken place up until this year, all but one (Chainama Hills in 2008) have been hosted by the five courses in our new chart.

And so, without further ado, we present our new Zambian rankings, where a couple of outstanding courses from the Copperbelt Province head the standings. The mineral-rich Copperbelt Province lies alongside Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its copper mines and smelters have for many years provided employment for tens of thousands of workers who live in the mining towns strung out along the border.

At number 1, we have Nkana, which our correspondent Stuart says “once occupied a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being one of the busiest courses in the world during the boom years of the Copperbelt in the 1950s and 1960s, averaging 50,000 rounds a year.” Located in the city of Kitwe and operated by the Mopani Copper Mine, the course hosted the Zambian Open for the first time in 2014 and Stuart describes it as “one of my favourite courses in Africa… Nkana is where all Zambian golfers now want to play.”

In the runner-up position, Nchanga is situated in Chingola, sixty-five kilometres northwest of Kitwe, and it’s another course built by a mining company. The Zambian Open has been held here three times in the last eleven years and it’s a course that Stuart thinks epitomises what you might imagine about playing golf in Central Africa, with “giant trees and ant heaps, huge bamboo groves, tropical bush, gushing streams, lush vegetation and holes carved by early pioneers to this country.”

At number 3, the course at the prestigious Lusaka Golf Club in Zambia’s capital city has hosted no fewer than twenty-five Zambia Opens since 1973. It’s here the event was won in the 1970s by Englishmen Peter Cowan and Peter Townsend, followed by Scotsmen Ewen Murray and Brian Barnes during the 1980s – and not to be outdone by their UK counterparts, Welshmen Ian Woosnam and David Llewellyn also claimed the title at this venue in 1985 and 1988, respectively.

Back to the Copperbelt Province, where the final two courses in our national chart are situated. At number 4, Ndola sits sixty kilometres southeast of Kitwe and it was formed in 1921, so it’s the third oldest club in the country. Our man Stuart says “it’s known as the ‘Anthill golf course,’ having 365 of them on the property. Magnificent trees now grow out of these ant heaps, creating a fearsome hazard. Put your ball in them, and you are truly in trouble as it may lie among tree limbs or in holes.”

Mufulira completes our new table at number 5 and this 18-hole layout, which lies an hour’s drive north of Kitwe, “has championship qualities written all over it,” according to Stuart McLean. “It’s an amazing golf course, flat but full of character, many holes defined by tall trees that were magnificent hazards in their own right. Sadly, it’s very run down – in 2008 it was closed, before being reopened – but just walking the holes was an enchanting African experience.”

To view the complete detailed list of the Top 5 Golf Courses in Zambia click the link.

We always welcome comments when we update national rankings so we’re keen to know what you think of our new Top 5 for Zambia. Is there a certain course that we’ve left out or maybe we’ve included one that really shouldn’t be there? Do we have the five layouts ranked in the correct order? Please click the “Respond to this article” link below if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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