The South African golf architect, Peter Matkovich, who designed the Heritage Golf Club course, feels honoured to have been a part of the first ever tri-sanctioned tournament in golf history.
photos : manoj nawoor | rogers image bank
How does it feel to have been the mastermind behind the course that has hosted what will certainly go down in history as the most prestigious golf event to date in this part of the world?
It has been an honour to be a part of this wonderful event and to see how golf tourism in Mauritius continues to grow and flourish. The golf course has certainly been built to championship standards and has done the whole of Mauritius proud.
What benefits will the course potentially derive from such an event as the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts?
The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will elevate the Heritage Golf Club to new heights through the incredible exposure it has received throughout the event. It will allow new markets to see the quality of golf courses that we have in Mauritius and there is no doubt that the number of golf arrivals will increase.
It’s been 10 years now since the Heritage Golf Club welcomed its first players. What are your thoughts on its evolution over the years?
The Heritage Golf Club has matured beautifully over the years; the vegetation is now well established and the golf course manicuring is superb. It is imperative that golf courses continue to evolve and improve with time and the Heritage Golf Club is a great example of this.
What makes this course stand out from the rest?
This golf course is special on so many fronts. The incredible surroundings and vistas of the Indian Ocean, coupled with the wonderful natural topography, make the Heritage Golf Club the type of course that you could play every day and never get tired of. It offers something for all levels of ability and can be enjoyed by both beginners and professionals alike, as we have seen during the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. What makes the course different and unique is that we have done our utmost to put golf back into the design in order to test players both physically and mentally. Our philosophy is centred on building courses where every golfer can honestly enjoy their round and be challenged. So the course was designed with the average player in mind, rather than the top professional. We also made regular site visits through every step of construction to ensure that every detail was examined and addressed.
And what does the future have in store for the Domaine de Bel Ombre in terms of golfing?
The Domaine de Bel Ombre is going to be the reference point for golf in the Indian Ocean.
A club professional turned golf architect
Peter Matkovich and his family moved to South Africa from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and settled at the Circle Golf Club, Pinetown, in 1973. Soon thereafter they moved to the Umhlali Country Club where he fulfilled the roles of club professional, course superintendent and playing professional. Umhlali was then only a 9-hole course and Peter took on the job of designing and building the new holes and at the same time redesigning many of the existing ones. The new course opened in 1975 and was Peter’s first foray into golf course design and construction. A few years later he was appointed course architect of the Worcester Golf Course. In the early 1990s, he teamed up with his long-time friend, Dale Hayes, one of the best players on the Professional tour, to create Matkovich & Hayes. Peter’s first appointment thereafter was for the San Lameer Estate in South Africa in 1990 and to date the Matkovich & Hayes Construction team have built 20 championship courses and one executive course, and carried out major redesign and renovation to another 20 in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.