Eighteen top professionals have provided strategic design input towards the creation of a new course in one of the most spectacular locations anywhere in the world: The ‘Signatures’ course at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort, Limpopo, South Africa. The card of the course reads like a leader board at a major:
Out: Immelman, Bjorn, Furyk, Langer, Campbell, Montgomerie, Weir, Villegas, Rose
In: Harrington, Jacquelin, Woosnam, Donald, Allenby, Singh, Garcia, Choi, Goosen.
The 50,000 acre development is headed up by Peet Cilliers, CEO of Legend Lodges, Hotels and Resort and the Legend IFA Company. Cilliers says, “As part of a wilderness conservancy policy supporting Africa’s wildlife, the design and layout of the resort has been undertaken in such a manner as to minimise the impact on the natural resources and surroundings, preserving the pristine ‘bushveld’ environment and ensure that the resort remains one of the most eco-friendly in Africa.”
IMG’s Michael Pask was invited to bring the concept of a different professional on every hole into reality. The players he invited were excited by the prospect of making their mark in this prestigious development and took great pains to examine the plans and photographs which IMG discussed individually with them.
Pask said, “This project is one of great integrity. It is situated in an area of breathtaking beauty. We had to make sure that the design reflected this not only physically but philosophically. Therefore it was essential that each of the professionals spent good time with the design team. I am delighted with the way the project is evolving as a result of this effort”.
A number of the professionals have now visited the site and fine-tuned their input to the course which will open in the African summer of 2008/9.
The “world-in-one” golf course is the brainchild of innovative Englishman Graham Cooke, a partner in the project, who was also the “inventor” of the Extreme 19th Hole.
This is a spectacular par 3 played off the top of Hanglip Mountain some 430 metres above the savannah plain. Access to the tee is only by helicopter. The target is an oversized green the shape of the African continent. The ball hangs in the air for some 25 seconds. A one million dollar prize is on offer for a hole in one!
The Legend’s golf consultant, Richard Wax of Golf Surveys Ltd, reckons that in a career spanning over twenty years he has appraised more than 1,000 sites with potential for golf development. He says that The Legend is only the third to obtain a perfect 10/10 rating on his detailed criteria, following Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews and the Robert Trent Jones Sr/Jr course at Vidauban in the south of France.
Entabeni Legend Golf and Safari Resort www.legendlodges.co.za