If you want to confuse a golfer, change the layout of a hole. Worse still, change the stroke of the hole to depict difficulty. As if that is not bad enough, change the direction of the hole.
That’s exactly what the new design of the Par 4 Number 7 did to this hole. Only years ago this was a reasonable par 4 playing fairly easy even for high handicapped. Although there was a hazard to the left, it was far enough to stay out of sight.
Finding the green in regulation was not an unreasonable expectation. Scoring the hole was not uncommon.
And then the course was closed for a redesign, opening in 2015 with seven brand new holes and 18 new greens. It was reborn as Firethorn from what used to be called just Randpark.
And now today, number 7 is a new, er, firethorn. Playing as a Stroke 2, the innocuous hazard has become an integral part of the hole, an albatross around the necks of many a golfer.
The tee box lies elevated behind a creek. You need nothing less 150m to land on the fairway. The infamous creek that runs through the entire course embraces the entire hole to the right up to the green.
Right of the creek is a huge bush that only a few years ago was just there for ambience. Today the bush is made for terror. A slice for right-handers and a hook for left-handers is a non-starter.
This means starting left is imperative. But don’t stay left. A fairway bunker awaits to catch you there. If not, there is a progression of trees lining the left of the fairway, under which you don’t want to find yourself.
But once, or if you find the fairway, this is a beauty of a hole. Not too long, with a green big enough and negotiable greenside bunkers.
Played well, a rewarding hole. Feared, a killer.
GREEN FEES: From R490
VALUE FOR MONEY:
Credit 15th Club