The spectacular Legend Golf & Safari resort
Architecturally resembling the ancient kingdom of Monomotapa, the Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa’s Entabeni Safari Conservatory in the Limpopo province is one of the world’s greatest golf resorts. It’s one of the most innovative golf and safari developments on the planet today with a unique signature course, where each of the 18 holes was individually designed by the world’s top golfers. But when I visited the resort last week, attending an investment conference organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), I was mesmerised by its uniqueness.
The key attraction was the famous Extreme 19th hole, the world’s highest and longest par 3 hole. The tee-box is perched off a mountain and played to a green crafted in the shape of the African continent, some 400 metres below the tee. This is what has made Legend Golf & Safari Resort the talk of the international golf travel industry. The hole, set high up on top of the majestical Hanglip Mountain, has captured the imagination of many like no other hole in the world because of its unique and spectacular location.
Accessible only by helicopter, the Extreme 19th hole is considered by many to be a hole not for the faint-hearted, the most stunning and challenging par 3 golf hole in the world. The golfers take a helicopter ride to the tee and back after hitting. There is a prize of US$1 million for any player that makes a hole in one. Although eight players have made birdies, and 96 pars — including many professional golfers, the prize money is yet to be claimed as no golfer has scored a hole in one.
Few holes in the history of golf have generated as much interest as this amazing golf hole.. The Extreme 19th hole was conceived by Graham Cooke of the United Kingdom and designed by David Riddle, the resort’s director of golf. It’s the highest and longest par 3 in the world — 400 metres up the Hanglip Mountain.
One needs to hit the ball about 260-270 metres to perch the green because of the elevation. Three time major champion, Padraig Harrington is one of only a selected few who have managed to par this breathtaking hole. “It’s just an unbelievable experience,” Riddle said. “Guests are helicoptered to the peak of the mountain. This is the only place in the world where one decides whether to use a golf cart or walk or fly to the tee-box. Obviously the only way up there is with the helicopter and you get an unbelievable helicopter flight when you play. Because of the height of the drive, it takes about 30 seconds to land on top of the mountain. Four separate cameras follow the shots and a golfer is given six balls complete with tracking chips.”
“The green is based on the map of Africa just to highlight and signify the African renaissance and the changes happening in Africa.
Golfing superstars as well as celebrities from across the world of sport and entertainment have been equally as impressed with this most unique hole.”
A guest commented: “This is what golf needed, something fresh, something different and I feel like a child again.” The statement was endorsed by Stewart Mangoma, chief financial officer with Zimplats who won the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe competition with 19 points last Saturday. He said it was great winning the competition at such a magnificent course.
Sam Maloka, an international marketing manager (Australasia and Europe) at the Limpopo Economic Development Agency in Limpopo Province, South Africa said the golf course, designed by 18 of the world’s top golfers was a new and unique creation in the world. “Legends Golf Course is a new and unique creation in the Limpopo Province, paying tribute not only to the world’s greatest golfers and golf courses, the resort also celebrates the African history in its designs, built in the images of the Great Monomotapa Kingdom of southern Africa in the modern States of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”
The designs of the Legend Golf Course begins with a South African professional golfer and designer, Trevor Immelman on hole 1 and ends with another South African professional and designer, Retief Goosen on hole 18. Other names in the list of signatures who were honoured to design a hole includes two-time Open and US PGA champion, Padraig Harrington, Bernard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Justin Rose, Vijay Singh, Raphel Jacquelin and Sergio Garcia.