Cleveland Wedge Demo Day & Par 18 Challenge

postponed

Dear PGC members,

Unfortunately with the wet weather, we have decided to postpone both today’s Cleveland wedge demo day and tomorrow’s Par 18 Challenge.

They will both take place next week, same time and same place. So the Cleveland Wedge Demo Day will be moved to Friday 4 September, and the Par 18 Challenge will take place on Saturday 5 September.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but we believe that these events will be so much more fun for you on a sunny day.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us on coaching@bfgolfacademy.com

Par 18 Challenge

Where: PGC Chipping Green
When: 5 September 2020
Time: 09:30-12:00
Cost: Free

Getting up and down to save par (or better yet, make birdie) is always a huge relief when you find yourself in tricky siutations around the green. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a straightforward chip, especially here at Paarl Golf Club where many of our greens are elevated and have plenty of contours.

Luckily for you, Ben will be running a Par 18 Challenge next Saturday, 5 September. In order to improve your short game, you need to identify where your game is at currently by setting a benchmark. Ben will be helping you do just that by setting up a series of 9 holes where you will attempt to get up and down on each hole.

By testing yourself in these different situations throughout the 9 holes, Ben will be able to identify areas that will help you get up and down more often and therefore, reducing your score when you get on the course.

No bookings are necessary so please do join us next Saturday to find out how you can work on your short game to get more enjoyment from your golf. Contact Hannarie at 082 990 7161 for any questions.

 

Find your

greenside control

When we’re looking at your short game and especially your wedges, we’re trying to find ways to help you become more accurate, more consistent, and to find solutions that will improve your experience around the green.
Most require a wedge that offers a blend of versatility and forgiveness. You probably play cavity back irons. Certainly where precision is required, a cavity back wedge is probably right.
Cleveland CBX2
At fitting days wedges with a design priority of ‘shot-making simplicity’ around the green prove highly popular. If you want a super easy escape from a bunker, and easy greenside chipping:
Cleveland Smart Sole
If you’re playing blades, or muscle-backs, and have a good short-game technique, then you want wedges that offer you total control over the shot with lots of versatility in how you play the shot.
Cleveland RTX4
Experience heaven
Finding the right design in your wedges will mean that your short game becomes easier. And when you’re using a wedge, on probably 20% of your shots, then the requirement for easier accuracy, matters to how you’re going to feel about your day. Make it easier.
Contact us >
 

Is choice a good thing?

We see so many adverts with Tour professionals telling us what golf ball they play (and then suggesting we need to rein back the golf ball) as though that’s relevant to you and us. What’s more important to you and us, is what golf ball you play and what golf ball works for you.
You have a choice. We can match various golf balls to your swing speed, shot-shape, performance requirement, and budget.
“The Tour professionals are right. The top golf ball brands like Srixon have improved the quality, resilience, and performance of the golf ball. And it’s not just the ball the professionals play. It’s every ball in their stable. You don’t have to compromise quality.”
Can we play matchmaker?
A golf ball might seem almost inconsequential, but it’s looking to be an effective partner to somebody. If you feel you could get more from your swing, then try out a different golf ball. Chat to us and we’ll play matchmaker.
Contact us >

We remember Eddie

Edrich Hollenbach was born on the 10th of November 1976. He grew up here in our valley as the youngest of 6 children. He attended Hugenote U.C.C Primary School and was a very active sports enthusiast.

After school Edrich (or Eddie as we knew him) started working at the golf club as a caddie. He did that to earn money to help his mom, brothers and sisters make a living. He was always a friendly character and a very spontaneous individual. Eddie was a quiet person who managed to get along with everybody he encountered in his life. He was always willing to help and had a soft spot for people in need. Eddie passed away on the 19th of August 2020 and we at Paarl Golf Club convey our sincerest condolences to Eddie’s family.

May the fairways he walks now be lush and green…

  Interim bar to be created in the Winelands Hall

After last week’s report back on the possibility of an interim bar at the halfway house and the huge amount of requests for something more permanent and user friendly, Golfing Goat came to the table and offered to create the interim bar at the Winelands venue’s bar.

We will utilize this week to move some of the equipment from the main bar to the temporary bar and will be ready to serve our members by Wednesday the 2nd of September 2020. A big word of thanks must go out to Golfing Goat who are always willing to make something work and to put the members’ needs first.

We will be counting on the support and help from our members seeing that there will be no waiters available, so members will have to fetch their own drinks from the bar themselves. I think under the circumstances that it is not too much to ask from our members. There will be a runner available to clear the tables in time for that next drink.

We thank our members for their understanding and willingness to help us make this interim arrangement a success. We are working towards finalizing the decision on which contractor will be appointed for the renovation of the bar, restaurant, and verandah area. We hope to have that appointment done by Friday the 4th of September 2020. We will also have more information available as soon as Golfing Goat has finalized their interior concept and I will share that with the members as soon as I have something from them. I had a sneak preview of what they are planning and all I can say at this point in time, is that I can’t wait for that to materialize. Watch this space…

  Club Championships open for bookings

Members please note that the club championships will be hosted on Saturday the 31st of October and Sunday the 1st of November 2020.

Since we will have certain divisions playing 27 holes per day, we will only be able to accommodate 120 players in the field. It is therefore very important that should you wish to play in this year’s club championships that you register as soon as possible. Just click on the advert below to electronically enter for the championships.

At a board meeting on Monday 24 August 2020 it was also decided to limit the competition fee to R300 per player for the championships. The decision behind this very affordable entry fee was to say thanks to our members who supported us during the lockdown period. We sincerely hope that all the available spots will be taken up and we look forward to a memorable tournament. Hopefully, we could yet again surprise participants on the day with some special arrangements.

The different divisions, formats, and prizes to be played for are explained below:

1. The divisions are as follows for the MEN based on handicap index:
• A Division: 7.3 and under playing off club (yellow) tees. Prizes for first three positions
• B Division: 7.4 to 14.9 playing off club (yellow) tees. Prizes for first three positions
• C Division: 15.0 to 30.2 maximum playing off middle (white) tees. Prizes for first two positions
• Senior Division: any H.I and over the age of 50 playing off club (yellow) tees. Prizes for first two positions
• Super Senior Division: any H.I and over the age of 60 playing off forward (blue) tees. Prizes for first three positions
• A, B and Senior divisions will play 54 holes (27 holes each day) – Stroke play with the Best Gross determining the Club Champion.
• C division will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Individual Stableford
• Super Senior division will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) Individual Stableford

2. The divisions are as follows for the LADIES based on handicap index:
• A Division: 15.3 and under playing off Red tees. Prizes for first three positions
• B Division: 15.4 to 24.3 playing off club Red tees. Prizes for first two positions
• C Division: 24.4 to 36.0 maximum playing off Red tees. Prizes for first two positions
• Senior Division: any H.I over the age of 50 playing off Red tees. Prizes for first two positions
• A, B and Senior divisions will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Stroke play with the Best Gross determining the Club Champion.
• C division will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Individual Stableford

Click on the poster to enter

We have 48 entries already!

  Club Draw has started – Get your lucky number in the draw!

Paarl Golf Club is proud to introduce its first ever Club Draw which will take place on the third Friday of every month in the Club bar. The main reasons for doing this are twofold. Firstly we would like to get the vibe back in the Clubhouse bar when we can open again and secondly, we would like to start building a fund to recover the losses incurred due to the Covid lockdown, as well as to have funds available for capital projects, course and clubhouse improvements.

The draw will be for members only and entries can be done through the poster below. Click on the poster to enter. The cost is R100 per month via debit order or R1200 once off for the year, and payment information will be sent through once the entry has been received. Members must commit to a one year entry and cannot select which months they want to enter for.

There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes per draw and members do not have to be present to win these prizes. The possible winnings per draw will range from R350 to R4 000 depending on the amount of entries received.

There will be a possible R150 000 grand prize at the 12th and final draw of the year.

Terms and Conditions:
1. Prizes are based on number of entries received.
2. Your draw number will be linked to your entry number.
3. Payments must be received before the first Draw.
4. Failure to make payment in advance or via debit order will lead to disqualification from the Draw.
5. If for any reason a draw does not take place, it will roll over to the following week.
6. Entrants do not have to be present to be eligible to win a prize.
7. If entrant is not present at the Draw, winnings will be loaded onto their membership account.
8. There is no limit on the amount of times you can win in a year.
9. Only Paarl Golf Club Members can enter.
10. There is no limit to the amount of entries per Member.

Entries close 30 September 2020 and the first Draw will be done on Friday 16 October 2020.

We have 18 entries already!

Paarl Golf Club staff not scared to get their hands dirty

While we were busy with our aggressive hollowtining this past week on holes 1-18, our golf operations apprentice and assistant maintenance employees took the initiative to clear the riverbed on the right-hand side of hole number five.

In three days, they cleared the entire river section next to the fifth hole. Members will now again have full view of their drives and where they land (that is if the ball ends up on the fairway).

Paarl Golf Club would just like to thank the following staff and extra hands that worked on the project:
• Gideon-Hendrik Hugo
• Jaco Botha
• Heaven (extra hands)
• Abel (extra hands)

We would just like to inform our members that during the project our staff found a lot of chameleons along the river.

Interesting facts about chameleons:
• They have a 360-degree arc of vision and can see two directions at once
• Chameleons cannot hear much
• Chameleons have ballistic tongues that are 1.5-2 times the length of their body
• Chameleons have ultraviolet vision
• Almost half of the world’s chameleon species live on the island of Madagascar

Spotlight Social registration

We are currently on 294 members so please register on the app. Remember number 300 will receive a bottle of wine of the month.
We are now on 294!
How do you stand a chance to win a bottle of the wine?

The App needs to be loaded on to your smart phone or tablet. All you need to do is follow the instructions below:

1. Please click here or search for Spotlight Social in your App Store
2. You then download the app
3. You will be guided to create your profile using your [email address], as it is pre-linked to the Paarl Golf Club
4. Remember to insert your profile picture.

And that’s it – you are good to go!

In conversation with

This week we get to know one of our lady members Andrea Kritzinger. Thanks, Andrea for always being a sport to complete the questionnaire and from our side thanks for what your enthusiasm means to Paarl Golf Club. We wish you many years of happy golfing here in Paarl.

Mr Rules

Unplayable Ball Rule

I was asked to clarify the following situation. When do you apply the unplayable ball rule and who makes that decision?

A player is the only person who may decide to treat his or her ball as unplayable by taking penalty relief under Rule 19.2 or 19.3.

• Unplayable ball relief is allowed anywhere on the course, except in a penalty area.
• If a ball is unplayable in a penalty area, the player’s only relief option is to take penalty relief under Rule 17.
19.2 Relief Options for Unplayable Ball in General Area or on Putting Green

A player may take unplayable ball relief using one of the three options in each case adding one penalty stroke.

a) The player may take stroke-and-distance relief even if the original ball has not been found and identified.
b) But to take back-on-the-line relief the player must know the spot of the original ball.
c) Lateral Relief: The player may drop the original ball or another ball in this lateral relief area with the reference point being the spot of the original ball, two club-lengths, but must not be nearer the hole.

19.3 Relief Options for Unplayable Ball in Bunker
a) Normal Relief Options (One Penalty Stroke): When a player’s ball is in a bunker, The player may take unplayable ball relief for one penalty stroke under any of the options in Rule 19.2, except that: The ball must be dropped in and come to rest in a relief area in the bunker,  if the player takes either back-on-the-line relief (see Rule 19.2b) or lateral relief (see Rule 19.2c)

b) Extra Relief Option (Two Penalty Strokes): As an extra relief option when a player’s ball is in a bunker, for a total of two penalty strokes, the player may take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker under Rule 19.2.

If you have any questions, please contact me at paarlmrrules@gmail.com

Enjoy your golf,
Mr R

What you should remember when playing golf at PGC during level 2 lockdown

I know this might be boring by now but please realise that we are still under level 3 lockdown rules, which did not change since inception. I see a lot of members and visitors who seem to forget that there are specific rules that we need to adhere to. Various golf courses have been visited by the police over the last three weeks and we don’t want Paarl Golf Club to be the reason why golf was stopped in the Western Cape. So please stick to the rules and ensure that everybody can play the game we love.

Click here for the rules regarding entering the Club.

Many moons ago

Although Anville van Wyk helped with a number of people on the photograph I will run with this photograph for another week.

FLTR: Johan Loubser, middle four including lady still unknown, on right hand-side John Winton
Last week’s photograph did not get any reaction so just to be fair I will let it run another week. Please members help me out on these four individuals below. Please email me at manager@paarlgc.co.za if you recognise the ladies and gentlemen in the photo.

Know your birdies from your eagles

Lanner Falcon (Edelvalk)

 

Description

It is a large falcon, at 43–50 cm (17–20 in) length with a wingspan of 95–105 cm (37–41 in). European lanner falcons (Falco biarmicus feldeggi, also called Feldegg’s falcon) have slate grey or brown-grey upperparts; most African subspecies are a paler blue grey above. The breast is streaked in northern birds, resembling greyish saker falcons, but the lanner has a reddish back to the head. Sexes are similar, but the browner young birds resemble saker falcons even more. However, sakers have a lighter top of the head and less clear head-side patterns. The lanner’s call is a harsh “wray-e”.

Behaviour, feeding and breeding

The lanner falcon is a bird of open country and savanna. It usually hunts by horizontal pursuit, rather than the peregrine falcon’s stoop from a height, and takes mainly bird prey in flight. It lays three to four eggs on a cliff ledge nest, or occasionally in an old stick nest in a tree.

In the wild, lanner falcon numbers are somewhat declining in Europe, though the species remains relatively common in parts of Africa.

Golf quote of the week

Step up your short game

Over the last few weeks we have focused mainly on the short game with our Saturday Masterclasses. From the feedback that I received it seems that everyone has enjoyed the sessions and picked up some valuable tips.

Lately, I’ve had many golfers who are struggling with their shortgame coming to me for lessons. The lockdown definitely played a role, but the wet and soft conditions also make chipping and pitching very difficult.

Cleveland wedge demo

This is where using the right type of wedge can really make a big difference. Cleveland makes some of the best wedges, and with their CBX 2 and Smartsole wedges, they have produced some exceptional clubs that will help your game in tricky conditions. The Smartsole wedge is also very forgiving out of the bunkers, to the extent that sometimes you feel like you are cheating. It has a lot to do with the bounce of your wedge and this is where many golfers go wrong.

We are planning a Cleveland wedge demo day for Friday the 28th of August. Members who are interested in trying out all of the different wedges and putters are welcome to join us at the chipping green next to the clubhouse. The brand new Cleveland RTX wedges will also be available to try out.

If you can’t make the demo, or if you are unsure of your wedges,
book a time with me and I will make sure that your equipment is right for you.

The Srixon Soft Feel Ball is on special at the moment. This is one of the most popular balls out there and is used by many golfers for its feel and spin control. Read more about it in the article below about the technical data of the ball.

Wishing everyone a wonderful long weekend. Enjoy the golf!

BF Golf Academy Masterclasses

This Saturday we are having another two classes from 09:00 – 10:00 and 10:00 – 11:00. The topic we will be covering is putting. Book now to get your spot and become a master of the green!

Programme:
8 August – Putting – club
15 August – Recovery play (uneven lies, low & high shots, hooks & slices, getting out of thick rough) – range
22 August – Driving – range

The cost is R150 per session. This is a very good way to get your game back in shape. First come, first serve. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

If sessions get rained out, we will repeat them at a later stage.

Book your spot >
Don’t forget about our winter coaching specials! Would you like to sharpen up a few skills so that you come back even better than before lockdown? Book yourself into one of Ben’s great coaching packages and get a lot more than you bargained for!

This offer is valid until the end of August and packages are to be completed by the end of December 2020.

Contact Hannarie at 082 990 7161  for more info and bookings.

 

The price of success

We keep reading about the need to “rein back the golf ball” to ensure it doesn’t go as far, and that it should become more susceptible to a slice or hook. Apparently, the golf ball is now a rocket destined to fly true and straight.
Watch the video >
So, has your golf ball been going too far? Has your golf ball been going too straight?
Do you want that problem?
If you do, then apparently the latest generation Srixon Golf Balls go too fast, too far, and too straight. It’s time you check them out.
 

Find your

distance control

Let’s really care about your experience from 80 metres in. Can we start by thinking about you distance accuracy with your fuller wedge shots? How many times do you hit a fuller wedge the correct distance (even if it’s off line)?
Are you making this challenge harder than it should be? To make that judgment, let’s start with your irons. Are they blades? Probably not. Now look at your wedge. If you’re playing cavity back irons, is your wedge also cavity back or is it a blade?
A cavity back wedge is more forgiving. You’ll see a more consistent ball speed on mishits slightly away from the sweet spot. You’ll notice improved distance accuracy. And that’s exactly what most of our golfers need.
Book a wedge assessment
Come and spend some time with us, especially if it’s a few years since you upgraded your wedges, and we’ll have a look at how your wedges work with your game, and how we can improve your results and experience.
Contact us >

We have a winner!

Voting done to help us pick the best photo for the front page of the new 27-hole scorecard

Thank you to all the members that voted for the best photograph to use on our new 27-hole scorecard. Out of 62 votes, photograph number three accumulated the most votes (29) and photograph number one got 21 votes. We therefore have decided to utilize photograph one for the background of the sponsors to please as many members we can. Just a critical correction of where the example of the sample of a 27-hole scorecard of the Nefyn Club in the UK came from. It was actually our captain, Jacques Olivier, who brought it to our offices some months ago. Sorry Steph, I know that you would have brought one as well if you have visited that area. Thanks Jacques for the effort to bring this back all the way from the UK.

Photo 1 to be used by sponsors

Photo 3 – New front page photo

Club Championships moved to

31st October and 1st of November 2020

It has been a challenging 2020 and efforts to arrange the Club Championships to be done before the aggressive hollowtining that is planned from the 17th of August 2020 created unhappiness with various members. It was therefore decided by the Captains Committee as well as PGC management to rather postpone the championships to ensure that it maintains the status of a championship that it deserves.

The new dates for the 2020/21 Club championships are now set for 31st of October and 1st of November 2020. This will allow the playing of the Club Championships over a two-day period in the format that members of the club have gotten used to by now.

The different divisions, formats and prizes to be played for are explained below:

1. The divisions are as follows for the men based on handicap index:
• A Division: 7.3 and under playing off club (yellow) tees. Prizes for first three positions.
• B Division: 7.4 to 14.9 playing off club (yellow) tees. Prizes for first three positions.
• C Division: 15.0 to 30.2 maximum playing off middle (white) tees. Prizes for first two positions.
• Senior Division: any H.I and over the age of 50 playing off club (yellow) tees. Prizes for first two positions.
• Super Senior Division: any H.I and over the age of 60 playing off forward (blue) tees. Prizes for first three positions.

Please take note of the following:
• A, B and Senior divisions will play 54 holes (27 holes each day) – Stroke play with the best Gross determining the Club Champion.
• C division will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Individual Stableford
• Super Senior division will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Individual Stableford

2. The divisions are as follows for the ladies based on handicap index:
• A Division: 15.3 and under playing off Red tees. Prizes for first three positions.
• B Division: 15.4 to 24.3 playing off club Red tees. Prizes for first two positions.
• C Division: 24.4 to 36.0 maximum playing off Red tees. Prizes for first two positions.
• Senior Division: any H.I over the age of 50 playing off Red tees. Prizes for first two positions.

Please take note of the following:
• A, B and Senior divisions will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Stroke play with the best Gross determining the Club Champion.
• C division will play 36 holes (18 holes each day) – Individual Stableford

We sincerely hope that this change will be for the better and for any inconvenience caused by it we apologise.

Hope to see you all competing in the championships.

Reciprocity during hollowtining

We are 11 days from our aggressive hollowtining project and wanted to give the members who would like to play elsewhere during that period some time to arrange that as well as to have a good variety of courses to choose from. Our thanks go out to the different golf clubs that offered our members these good reciprocity rates. Please support them and also arrange your game as per restrictions.

The following golf courses are available to our members:

Handling of competition scorecards during Covid

Saturday 1st of August 2020 saw us playing our first competition since lockdown started. This was the moment that many members were waiting for and the booking sheet confirmed that. There was some confusion as to how the scoring should be handled to minimize the possibility of too many people handling the scorecard.

Please note that no matter what type of competition format only one scorecard per fourball should he handed in. In this way only one person would touch the scorecard during the round and after the round our scorers can sanitize the cards before they handle them.

Other players in the fourball can still keep their scores but the one person filling in the competition scorecard must be kept up to date of all the scores. It is advisable that the scorecard be verified by the other players in the fourball before it is handed in.

2019/20 Knockout Competition nearing end

The 2019/2020 Knockouts are 4 games from completion after the B-division knockout final was played last Sunday. Congratulations to Willem Pretorius who had to fight 18 holes before he could sink the winning putt against Fred Bowles. It was nice to see the happy smiles and camaraderie after a fierce 18-hole battle. This being the essence of knockout golf.

This weekend sees JP Hugo and Irvin Kellerman in a semi-final match against Tim Hadfield and Mike Hope in the Betterball Knockouts with Alida Kotzee and Ingrid Meter already waiting for the winners of this match to conclude the Finals. In the Mixed Knockouts the semi-finals match between Jacques and Loween Olivier against Willem Pretorius and Alida Kotzee will be played on Wednesday the 12th of August. The winners of this match will face Maria Kirton and Gavin Blignaut in the finals.

The entries for the 2020/2021 season will be sent out shortly and we plan to make this a huge occasion with regular feedback to the Members and a “live scoreboard” of how the different matches went down.

Please support local entrepreneurs

Two local students who had to stop their studies started this delivery concept after they did some shopping for their grandparents. They asked us to please just spread the word of what they are trying to do. Please support them or just spread the word if some of your family might be in need of such a service.

Thank you for your support.

Spotlight Social registration

You might recall that I promised a bottle of wine of the month to the member who activated as the 250th member on Spotlight Social. Congratulations to Linda Meyer who was the lucky 250th member that applied for registration. We are currently on 279 members so please put in some effort to register on the app. Remember number 300 will receive a bottle of wine of the month.
We are now on 279!
How do you stand a chance to win a bottle of the wine?

The App needs to be loaded on to your smart phone or tablet. All you need to do is follow the instructions below:

1. Please click here or search for Spotlight Social in your App Store
2. You then download the app
3. You will be guided to create your profile using your [email address], as it is pre-linked to the Paarl Golf Club
4. Remember to insert your profile picture.

And that’s it – you are good to go!

In conversation with

This week we get to know one of our lady committee members Loween Olivier. Thanks, Loween for always being a sport to complete the questionnaire and from our side thanks for what your bubbly personality means to Paarl Golf Club. We wish you many years of happy golfing here in Paarl.

What you should remember when playing golf at PGC during level 3 lockdown

I know this might be boring by now but please realise that we are still under level 3 lockdown rules, which did not change since inception. I see a lot of members and visitors who seem to forget that there are specific rules that we need to adhere to. Various golf courses have been visited by the police over the last three weeks and we don’t want Paarl Golf Club to be the reason why golf was stopped in the Western Cape. So please stick to the rules and ensure that everybody can play the game we love.

Click here for the rules regarding entering the Club.

Many moons ago

The four gentlemen of last week has now all been identified. Thanks to Ernie Pauw for letting us know who they are.
FLTR: Derek Hobson, James van Niekerk, Johan Wiid and Dirkie Laubscher/Loubser
Last week’s three was quickly identified by Anville van Wyk.
FLTR: Johan Loubser (Captain 1978), Douggie Green (Captain early 70s) and Andy van Wyk (Captain 1988)
The photograph this week from the treasure chest is the one below. I sincerely hope that I would receive some feedback on who the people on the photograph are. Please email me at manager@paarlgc.co.za if you recognise the gentlemen in the photo. By now we know the man in the middle is Andy van Wyk. The gentlemen on both sides of him are the challenge.

Know your birdies from your eagles

Black Shouldered Kite (Blouvalk)

Description

The black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus), also known as the black-shouldered kite, is a small diurnal bird of prey in the family Accipitridae best known for its habit of hovering over open grasslands in the manner of the much smaller kestrels. This kite is distinctive, with long wings; white, grey and black plumage; and owl-like forward-facing eyes with red irises. They are not migratory, but show nomadism in response to weather and food availability. They are well adapted to utilize periodic upsurges in rodent populations and can raise multiple broods in a single year unlike most birds of prey.

This long-winged raptor is predominantly grey or white with black shoulder patches, wing tips and eye stripe. The long falcon-like wings extend beyond the tail when the bird is perched. In flight, the short and square tail is visible and it is not forked as in the typical kites. When perched, often on roadside wires, it often adjusts its wings and jerks its tail up and down as if to balance itself. The sexes are alike in plumage. Their large forward-facing eyes placed under a bony shelf that shades them is distinctive; their velvety plumage and zygodactyl feet are characters shared with owls. They are thought to have been adapted for living in savanna habitats where seasonal rodent population peaks occur. Such food resources are also favoured by the owls. The inner vanes of the feathers have velvety barbules.

Behaviour, feeding and breeding

The black-winged kite breeds at different times of the year across its range. Males establish territories and defend them from competition. Females move into the territories of males. Studies in Africa found that males were more numerous than females. Courtship is noisy and involves chases and once the pair is formed they copulate frequently. The nest is a loose platform of twigs in which 3 or 4 eggs are laid. The female spends more effort in the construction of the nest than the male. The eggs are pale creamy with spots of deep red. Both parents incubate but when the chicks hatch, the male spends more time on foraging for food. Females initially feed the young, sometimes hunting close to the nest but will also receive food from the male. After fledging the young birds continue to be dependent for food on the male parent for about 80 days, initially transferring food at perch and later in the air. Young birds have reddish brown feathers on the upperparts and on the breast. The reddish colour is derived from porphyrins and is thought to provide the young birds some camouflage. Once breeding is complete females often move on to new territories sometimes deserting before the young fledge, leaving males to feed and raise the young. Both males and females show considerable nomadism. Unlike most birds of prey, they are capable of raising multiple broods in a year, and young birds are known to disperse widely, adaptations that helps them utilize periodic rodent population surges. Their opportunistic breeding capabilities are also accompanied by irregular patterns of moult. Young birds show “arrested” moult, retaining feathers for a season and then rapidly moulting them in a serial descendent pattern, where more than one primary feather is moulted at the same time. The adult plumage is found after two years.

Their prey includes grasshoppers, crickets and other large insects, lizards, and rodents. Injured birds, small snakes and frogs have also been reported. The black-winged kite flies slowly during hunting like a harrier, but it will also hover like a Kestrel. It has on rare occasions been known to hunt prey in flight. Perches are used for hunting and for feeding but large prey may sometimes be handled on the ground. In southern Africa, they appear to favour roadside verges for foraging and are sometimes killed by collisions with vehicles.

Golf quote of the week