Thursday, July 31, 2008

Entebbe Club

It's the longest course in Uganda, beating UGC by 350 yards. It has 2 very long par 3's, the longest par 4 in UG, and 5 par 5's. Play in the cool of the morning and bring water....lots of it.

Water is a main attraction here, although there is none on the course itself, Lake Victoria is just a short par four away, and you get beautiful views from many of the holes (bad light today, so maybe a picture next week).
In addition, you play along the Rhino enclosure and near the chimp island of the Zoo, so that's a bonus, as is the view of State House and a lovely old chapel and the cricket oval, with its art-deco pavilion lies in the middle of the course. You get the occasional jet fighter screaming overhead as well. All in all a busy visual golf experience.

It's got some very cute tee markers, the holes are named after club members

as usual, clicking on the small image gets you a large one

I've played Entebbe many times, even won a prize at a tournament last month, but never looked at it with a critical course design eye before. Entebbe is a monster, long, heavily bunkered and full of mature trees. Despite the dry conditions (I hit a 390 yard drive today!!!, well 290, with 100 yds of roll) the course still plays long. On 17, the longest par four, I hit a very good driver and a well struck 3 wood, and wasn't quite pin high. I even had to hit fairway woods on 2 of the par 3's!

Besides length Entebbe also defends its honor with dozens of bunkers in the fairways, rough and around the greens. They are well raked now, but it's heavy lake sand, not the light fluffy stuff, which makes for a harder sand save, especially if you try to "pick it clean". I'm a decent bunker player, and I was in the same bunker on 2 different occasions ON THE SAME HOLE today. Thank God it wasn't this one (left).

The Main challenge however is the trees and the high grass that grows around them in the rough. New stands of pine have been liberally planted around the course, which are a real menace to play out of. It's the mature trees that are the real obstacle though, forcing you to shape your shot around them or avoid them altogether. Besides the usual driving into a gap, several of the par 3's holes here force you to hit OVER very tall (and wide) trees or stands of trees .

If you go to Entebbe, bring plenty of ammo, you WILL lose balls here, and you WILL spend a lot of time looking for them. I guess that's part of what makes it so tiring. It's a real slog, but they do have a cart they will rent you for 30k UGX, they seem amenable to negotiate this price ;-)

The clubhouse is large, has a limited, though very good menu and a well stocked "pro shop". Snooker has it's own room (which seems par for Uganda), which it seems to be sharing with the flags for some reason. Perhaps they were lonely on the course?!

There are plenty of caddies here, but not early in the weekday mornings. Caddy Day is Monday, and caddy fees are 4/6k for Junior/Senior caddies. There are 5 caddies who own their own clubs (hand me downs), and all the caddies share them. Green fees are 4k if you are a UGU club member, 30k for non members. Clubnite is Fridays, and it's 5k (going up to 8k soon). I like Entebbe, it's a laid back, never busy and has a lovely setting. I think the termite damage to the greens may be the only thing that keeps it out of the top echelon of Uganda courses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Entebbe Club is in a place of its own in Uganda! Your description of the course was almost 90% correct. Visit it now and you will have another story to write about! Everything there is improving by the the day. Some greens are being replanted while others are being tendered to keep out the weeds on a weekly basis. Hopefully they will be ready for the East African Challenge and Uganda Open, which the club will be hosting this year.