For 12 months the finest senior golfers from across the world have competed in 21 tournaments across four continents and now they break new ground with the first professional tour event in Seychelles.
As the players made their journey from Mauritius the wow factor was multiplied at every step of the way: from the generous welcome on Mahe, via the spectacular flight across to Praslin, to the first glimpse of the course on arrival at Constance Lemuria.
Players craned their necks to see the 18th hole and gasped as they witnessed the dramatic tee box high on the mountain slopes.
The practice day and Pro-Am have only amplified the anticipation, much to the satisfaction of course co-designer Marc Farry.
“I was a little worried,” he admitted. “But I’ve had so many nice comments. The conditioning of the course has improved so much since the tournament was confirmed and it is overwhelming to see what has been achieved.”
Those remarks were backed up by Tom Lehman, the 1996 Open Champion and former World Number One.
“This course is good, in fact, it’s very good,” he said at the welcome party. “I first came here seven years ago and the changes since then are incredible. I take my hat off to everybody responsible.
“What makes this place special is that you just don’t get views anywhere in the world as you get from the 15th and the 18th tees here. There’s really nothing like it.”
Lehman’s compatriot Clark Dennis, the convincing eight-shot winner of last week’s MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius agreed.
“Our arrival here was pretty extraordinary and it’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen,” the 52-year-old said. “The hotel is phenomenal and I can’t wait to get the tournament started.
“I know it’s going to be a challenge and I can’t see the scoring being as low as last week. Those last six holes are tough. If you have a one-shot lead playing that last hole it’s going to be very scary.”
Lehman and Dennis are both among the favourites to lift the trophy but don’t discount South Africa’s James Kingston.
“It’s a tight golf course,” he said with a glint in his eye. “The guy who plays strategically well will have a huge advantage this week. You can’t play too defensively because this course will get you eventually.”
Rookie David Shacklady won the Pro-Am with his partner Stuart Hull and the first round tees off on Friday morning.