on Worldwide Golf



There isn’t much in the game Louis Oosthuizen hasn’t achieved. The South African boasts a golfing résumé that comprises of countless worldwide wins, including a famous Open triumph at St Andrews in 2010. More recently, he also opened the doors to course design and architecture. Let’s just say, he’s done the lot. Will Kent caught up with the former World Number Four to find out exactly what’s next.


As we enter 2024, the game of golf has never looked more divisive. LIV Golf, the Tour Oosthuizen now plays on, continues to dominate headlines with seemingly constant controversy. However, the distance discussion remains just as contentious, admittedly with less venom from either side of the argument.


But unlike LIV, this debate is nothing new. Whether you agree with the recent USGA and R&A ball rollback proposals or not, it’s a fact the game is played differently to how it was 20 years ago. Augusta National lengthening the 13th for the Masters is proof of just that, and that is not a sustainable solution in the battle of keeping up with modern day advancements in technology and sports science. “I’ve been saying it for a while now, you’re going to run out of space with building golf courses longer and longer,” said Oosthuizen.

Oosthuizen alongside golf course designer Peter Matkovic at La Réserve Golf Links in Mauritius

“I think they need to do a combo with a driver and the ball to bring good, old classic golf courses back to play. “Right now, there are great golf courses that have been unbelievable in the past that you can’t really have big tournaments on anymore because it’s too easy to hit a driver off the tee. I would say it’s a great thing that they’re doing and I would definitely hope that they do the driver as well.”


What is surprising is the plan to also roll back even for the high-handicap weekend warrior. The idea of having different ‘pro’ and ‘amateur’ balls appears to have been scrapped. It’s still to be seen if that’s a wise decision, but I know from my own game and watching others that we still need all the help we can get.


“I mean, how are you going to do it so it’s not the same? It’s going to be a bit difficult if you’re going to do both,” Oosthuizen replied when I asked if the ball should also be rolled back for amateurs.


“Whatever they do, they need to do it for everyone. “You need to see where the game is at, at the moment. You need to get the length on the course in the design aspect, but that’s where you get different tee boxes.


“If they roll back the ball, they’re going to lose a few tee boxes off the back and move everything up. If you design a golf course right, you can move tee boxes around and play the hole as it’s supposed to be played.”


But does Oosthuizen hope the decision to roll the ball back mean the game will be played similar to how it was in the early 2000s? “I hope so,” he responded. “I definitely hope so.”


The 2010 Open Champion was explaining this to me on the course he co-designed in Mauritius, the newly-opened La Réserve Golf Links at Heritage Golf Club. It’s the first and only contemporary links course in the Indian Ocean, with some truly stunning views from several holes. The smooth-swinging South African teamed up with architect Peter Matkovich to craft the testing layout in the south-west region of Mauritius which recently held the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on the DP World Tour. The opportunity to craft a course from scratch must surely have opened his eyes to something new in golf, even despite his lengthy and successful playing career to date.


“They told me to stay in my business and be a golfer, not a designer,” joked Oosthuizen. “There are so many things that go into designing. I was astonished with everything you need to think of. That’s where Peter is a masterclass with all those things. “I don’t want a golf course that plays really easy. From the back tees here, you need to really strike the ball well and find your way around the course. If you’re playing well, you can still make birdies. “I have one more course that we’re almost starting in Namibia. That’s a project that I’m really looking forward to.”




Despite his in-depth answers on course design, the 41-year-old wasn’t as forthcoming with his responses when discussing the fractured game at a professional level given his allegiance to LIV. It’s a dark cloud over the entire game at the minute, with us all wishing for a solution.


“People can think what they want,” he said when I quizzed him on his thoughts regarding the uneasy state of the game at the elite level. “I think something new was always good.” At the time of our interview, Oosthuizen was also fresh off the back of a win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, his first triumph in five years. He entered that tournament through one of the national spots, and he made it count with a two-shot victory at Leopard Creek.



“It feels good to be back in the winners’ circle,” he continued. “It’s been a good year. As a team, we played really well on LIV and I played some good golf. I’m very happy with the way we performed and hopefully next year we can do even better. “And with Rahm joining it’s another good player coming to LIV. He’ll be a great asset to have and exciting to play against him.” Amidst this complex landscape of professional golf, Oosthuizen still emerges as a beacon of contemplation and resolve. His dual role now as both player and now course designer reflects a commitment to preserving golf’s essence while embracing its evolution.


As he gazed across the expanse of La Réserve Golf Links in front of me, contemplating future projects and possibilities, he remains an enduring figure with a career that now stretches over 20 years long. A veteran of the game but still very much one of the biggest stars in the sport, the ‘Oosthuizen’ name is one that will be long remembered in golf for many more years to come.