Michael Vlismas: As Louis Oosthuizen makes his way around Royal Birkdale in this week’s Open Championship, one man very interested to hear his thoughts on the course is leading African golf course architect Peter Matkovich.
Matkovich and Oosthuizen are now partners in the highly successful Matkovich Group, which is behind some of South Africa’s most celebrated golf courses and over 50 designs throughout the rest of Africa.
The two will co-design their first golf course together in Mauritius as the second 18-hole golf course at the celebrated Heritage Resorts. The resort’s current course, The Heritage Golf Club, was also designed by Matkovich and has been voted the “Best Golf Course “ in the Indian Ocean for the past three years by the World Golf Awards.
This year it will host the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open – a tri-sanctioned tournament between the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour – for the second time, and with Oosthuizen also in the field.
And it’s Oosthuizen’s global playing career on some of the world’s most iconic golf courses as well as his eye for the land that attracted Matkovich to the idea of a partnership with the young South African star.
“Louis plays all over the world and is always seeing something new and different that we could incorporate into our designs. He is a global golfer and this will also give us an opportunity to be more global as a company. We are now looking at the next 10 to 15 years and the future of our brand,” says Matkovich.
“Louis has a passion for what he does and a desire for excellence. He is also a son of the land through his farming background he shares my love of nature.”
The two share another bond as well – a love for the Old Course in St Andrews. Oosthuizen won the Open here by seven strokes in 2010 and Matkovich, who has been designing golf courses since 1975, is a tremendous admirer of links architecture.
“The Old Course gets it right. It was just there. To me, the greatest fun of some of the links courses are what I call a link hole, where you’ve got to get from one area to another – a good designer makes that hole playable. My dream would be to build a golf course in a sand area because I love links golf.”
The co-design with Matkovich in Mauritius will certainly put the 34-year-old Oosthuizen on the map as one of the youngest golf course architects in the game, and with the chance to tee off with a truly memorable course at Heritage Resorts.
“My passion for playing golf has now lead me to explore my passion for golf design and I’m thrilled to be co-designing this incredible second golf course at Heritage Resorts with Peter,” said Oosthuizen.
“Our first project together could not be more exotic; who would not dream of designing a course on the paradise island of Mauritius and in none other than one of the most beautiful resorts on the island, Heritage Resorts. I’m really looking forward to creating a golf course which perfectly balances the challenge of a championship layout with the element of fun that needs to be incorporated into any golf course.”