Gary Player-designed course set to make DP World Tour history

Various changes have been made to the course since last year, and golfers will have to be more accurate off the tee.

The Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate course will make history this week as the longest course ever played on the DP World Tour when the first round of the Investec South African Open tees off tomorrow.

The 7 528m par-72 course designed by Gary Player is predicted to be a tough test this week with a few changes from last year.

“We’ve had the best part of a year to prepare for this year’s Investec South African Open and the course will play a little differently to last year,” says Paul Marks, the director of golf at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate.

“The golfers will have to be more accurate off the tee this year. Last year the rough wasn’t penal enough so we’ve grown the rough. If a long hitter is slightly offline, the second shot will definitely be more challenging this year.

“We’ve also narrowed the fairways on some of the holes by about three to four metres on either side, so that will place an even greater premium on accuracy off the tee. This is a wide golf course, but it will definitely be more challenging off the tee this year and not just place a premium on length off the tee.

“The putting surfaces are incredible at the moment, so anybody who putts well is going to do well this week. But having said that, there will be some tight pin placements in the week.”

This is the second time that this course, built on Player’s farm, will host the South African Open.

“We are very grateful to Investec, the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour for the honour of hosting the Investec South African Open once again,” says Marks.

“The fact that this championship is played on Gary Player’s farm and the fact that he won this Open a record 13 times is also a great sense of pride for us.”

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