Extract

President Cyril Ramaphosa doesn’t get much opportunity for frivolous pastimes like golf, but with the festive season upon us there’s a chance for a quick nine holes on a course designed for our Buffalo Soldier. A man of the people, he’ll attract a gallery of fans cheering him on and a sprinkling of detractors willing his every putt to stay out of the hole.

So, on the first tee at noon, Mzansi Country Club. The hole known as ANC Agony, par four. A few practice swings with the driver and the Buffalo crunches it down the middle, unsurprisingly, to grudging, muted applause from women’s and youth league types.

He’s left himself a longish second shot, over a blind rise. Leave it short and he’ll have to take his chances with the five iron. Too aggressive and he could end up in the water behind the green. He pushes it right: awful shot, really, which leaves him in the long grass where the hiss of snakes is a distraction. Worse still, he’s disrupted a secret meeting of striking caddies in a blue-gum grove. He manages to chip it close to the hole, leaving a tricky putt on a green that is notoriously hard to read. Will it break left, or right? Two putts and it’s down. Sigh, bogey. On to the par-three second, Bathabile’s Ballbreaker. A deceptively short hole, the Buffalo nonetheless has to cross a crocodile-infested water hazard. Does he go high and try to land it soft, or skid it in low with backspin? He’s played this hole before (bogey) and this time he’s left it on the edge of the green with his first. The presidential ball is in the first cut of rough and will require a leader’s finesse to p...

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