If you’re a golf enthusiast you’ll know the feeling of teeing off on a new course, of mentally calculating your next move, of the tranquillity of a manicured golf course and of enjoying a rewarding drink in a beautiful setting after a rewarding round of golf. You might not know though, that South Africa is brimming with golf courses able to offer you all of those feelings and more. Here are but a few examples…
1 Hans Merensky Country Club, Phalaborwa, Mpumalanga
Hans Merensky Country Club boasts a unique golfing experience in the African bush. Situated just outside of Phalaborwa, the 18-hole course backs onto the Kruger National Park, and while the large and more dangerous animals are confined to the park, it’s not uncommon to have visitors like impala, warthog and giraffe stop by as you tee off on the Bob Grimsdell-designed course. The course is great to play on thanks to the well-maintained greens, lined with trees, which incidentally are home to numerous bird species. This is world-class golfing at its best.
2 Arabella, Kleinmond, Western Cape
The Arabella golf course is located on the Arabella Estate outside Kleinmond, in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. It nestles at the foot of the Kogelberg Mountains, adjacent to the Bot River Lagoon. The setting is stunning, but when you add to the mix the Pater Matkovich design and the manicured fairways and greens, you can see why this is course is consistently voted among the top 10 in South Africa.
3 Wild Coast Sun Country Club, Port Edward, Eastern Cape
This impressive golf course forms part of the Wild Coast Sun Casino & Entertainment Complex, just outside of Port Edward. The course hugs the rugged Indian Ocean coastline, incorporating the hills, rivers, ravines and lakes of the area, creating an 18-hole course which is not only interesting and challenging, but breathtakingly beautiful too.
4 Durban Country Club, Durban, KwaZulu Natal
The Durban Country Club is renowned in South African golfing circles for hosting the South African Open no fewer than 17 times! The course’s aesthetics are worth writing home about too, surrounded as the course is by sand dunes, the sea and the Blue Lagoon estuary, while behind it the Durban city skyline provides a striking contrast to the rolling greens. The course is found less than a kilometre from Durban’s Golden Mile beach front.
5 Pecanwood Country Club, Hartbeespoort, North West
Pecanwood was developed on a farm on the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam and while the farm is long-gone, the world class golf course remains. It was designed by the retired American golfer Jack Niklaus, who had it in mind to test golfers’ intelligence rather than their strength, thus you’ll find that the Pecanwood golf course provides an extremely mental game. However, it isn’t lacking in beauty either, with the gorgeous Magaliesberg as a backdrop and the Hartbeespoort Dam not too far away either.
6 Pretoria Country Club, Pretoria, Gauteng
The Pretoria Country Club is one of the most prestigious institutions in the city and sits on the site of the original Waterkloof farm, which became the upmarket suburb of Waterkloof. Located in the tranquil southern suburb, the country club offers golfers a serene parklands course designed by the Gary Player group, which is dotted with trees and colourful flower beds.
7 Oubaai Golf Club, George, Western Cape
This Ernie Els-designed Oubaai golf course is situated outside George, close to Herold’s Bay – a particularly scenic pocket of the renowned Garden Route. This is a traditional links course which is lined with local vegetation. The course is unusually long for a links course, at 6516 metres, with the 17th hole undoubtedly stealing the show as you tee off overlooking the Indian Ocean.
8 De Zalze Golf Club, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Very few people can deny the beauty of the Cape Winelands, and similarly few golfers can turn their nose up at De Zalze. You’ll find the club just outside of Stellenbosch, and probably find it pleasing that just beyond the fairways, are acres of vineyards which creep up the lower slopes of the surrounding mountains. Furthermore, the course is interesting to play on, especially as the Blauwklippen River has been incorporated into the course.
9 San Lameer Golf Club, South Coast, KwaZulu Natal
The San Lameer Golf Club lies in a stretch on the KwaZulu Natal coastline renowned for its golf courses. The subtropical climate is conducive to tropical plant life, which lines the course, giving it an almost jungle-like feeling, while the monkeys, birds and other small animals, which share the conservancy on which the course is built, only add to the novelty value of this course.