Some of the best, sometimes lesser known Golf courses in South Africa
The Arabella Golf Club is situated close to Kleinmond, (just outside of Hermanus), Western Cape. Challenging enough to bring you back for more, enjoyable enough to make you not want to leave. This course complements the environment without disappointing the golfer, whether expert or amateur. The Arabella golf course is ranked by Complete Golfer magazine as the number one golf course in the Western Cape. It is also featured in Golf Digest’s USA’s Top 60 courses outside of America in 2007. Designed and built in 1999 by celebrated South African golf course architect Peter Matkovich, who is also credited with the design of De Zalze and Steenberg, this classic parkland course has spectacular views across the Bot River lagoon and across the Kogelberg mountain range. Voted the number two golf course in South Africa and the top golf course in the Western Cape, the Arabella Golf Club is also home to the Nelson Mandela Invitational.
Atlantic Beach Golf Estate is a Championship Links style Golf Course with traditional style and an ocean breeze off the ocean. The Atlantic Beach Links Golf Courses have been built with a serious commitment to the preservation of the indigenous fauna and flora. Atlantic Beach Golf Estate is situated on Birkenhead Drive, Melkbosstrand, with Table Mountain as backdrop to an excellent 18 holes of golf. Atlantic Beach Golf Club is the only true Links in the greater Western Cape and it will be a true test for all levels of golfers.
Amid the picturesque Winelands of the Western Cape’s historic Paarl / Franschhoek Valley, framed by the majestic Drakenstein Mountains and the famous Paarl Rock, lies Boschenmeer Golf Estate. Boschenmeer has incredible views over the Winelands, a relaxed atmosphere and a tranquil riverside setting. Tee up to play on this David Frost signature golf course – the first 27-hole layout in the Western Cape. The course offers world-class beauty and playability – to the extent that readers of Golf Today magazine voted the fourth hole of the Boschenmeer Nine as the best in South Africa in 2002. Pro-golfer David Frost grew up here and is an integral part of the Paarl Golf Club, where he first played as a school member. This top professional has brought his years of skill, knowledge and international experience of playing various golf courses, and incorporated his knowledge with the golf course design team to create this stunning 27-hole venue that consists of the “Berg River Nine” (1-9), the “Paarl Nine” (10-18), and the new “Boschenmeer Nine” (19-27).
Champange Sports Resort Golf Course is situated in the Central Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal. The course has been extended to an 18-hole layout designed by Huch Biaocchi. The backdrop of Cathkin and Champagne Peaks makes it one of the most scenic courses in South Africa and it is a fair challenge for the low handicapper as well as being “playable” by the occasional weekend golfer. The top 30 ranked 18 hole championship golf course has been rated as South Africa’s most beautiful golf course in recent years with the clubhouse rated in the top five 19th holes in South Africa. All the Greens are of the highest quality and are planted with L93 bent-grass which have proven extremely suitable for the region, particularly in winter where the greens remain ‘green’, receptive and true to line. Whilst badly misdirected shots will be punished, particularly in the wetlands and at the water holes, fairways are wide and bordered by light rough.
The Clarens Golf and Trout Estate is situated in the Free State. The par 71 golf course, designed and constructed by Golf Data, is bound to excite every level of golfer. All 18 holes meander along and across the tranquil river and its splendid series of dams and cascading waterfalls. The manicured Kikuyu fairways and Bent Grass Greens are framed by mature Willow and magnificent Lombardi poplar trees, and great care has been taken to ensure that each round of golf you play will be more memorable than the one before. The stylish clubhouse is strategically positioned to view the finish of both nines, as well as the magnificent Mount Horeb (Setlofe). According to Basotho legend, the mountain Setlofe is a shy maiden. She was betrothed to the warrior, Matsa (Rhebokkop) who jilted her for another. This broke Setlofe’s heart and even now, when she thinks about it, she draws her veil around her head and weeps. Thus when Setlofe is shrouded in cloud, it will soon rain in Clarens.
Erinvale offers a unique golfing challenge to all levels of players, with breathtaking views of the Cape Winelands as well as the beautiful False Bay Coastline. Since Erinvale’s inception in 1994, this Gary Player designed course has hosted the 1996 World Cup of Golf and both the 2003 and 2004 South African Open, the 2nd oldest golf championship in the world. This superbly maintained championship course offers the golfer two distinctly different nines. The flat outward nine is defined by challenging approach shots to long narrow putting surfaces, with the inward nine offering beautiful vistas from its undulating fairways and a finish that rates among the best in the world.
The Fish River Golf Course is situated close to Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape. With breath taking views of the Indian Ocean from several of its holes, the Fish River Sun Country Club offers golfers a parkland type challenge along the beautiful and unspoiled coast. At 6 300 meters this Gary Player designed course is no push-over. An essential aspect contributing to the enjoyment of any golf experience is the condition of the course and here you will find the course is beautifully kept. In designing the course Gary Player went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the outstanding natural features of the area were not compromised. The course therefore takes the golfer on a seaside ramble that is most rewarding no matter what the golf is like.
The San Lameer Estate, on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, was the very first Golfing Estate developed in South Africa. San Lameer is a 169 hectare nature conservancy, landscaped with privately owned luxury villas surrounding the trying 18 hole, professional golf course, and a world class hotel. The climate of San Lameer is pleasantly sub-tropical, with cool breezes from the Indian Ocean. The 18 hole golf course is stunning and challenging, designed around a wetland forest. Game abounds, with 195 bird species, indigenous buck and other species. Designed by Peter Malkovich and Dale Hayes, the course features lots of water and magnificent views. To enjoy this course you will have to play conservative golf, straight down the middle, and stay out of trouble.
Selborne is perfectly positioned on the sub-tropical coast of KwaZulu Natal. Selborne has built a reputation as the “Augusta of South Africa”. Created in 1985 when Denis Barker decided to turn his diary stud farm into a golf course, Selborne’s claim to having one of the premier championship golf courses in the country is well justified when you consider the amount of both professional and amateur golfers from around the world who return every year for the pleasure it gives them. In terms of the ultimate golfing experience, Selborne is the recipient of Complete Golfer’s Five-star Golf Experience Award; based on service excellence, top-class clubhouse facilities, golf course conditioning and last but not least the overall lingering experience. Rated independently by Golf Digest magazine as a top 100 South African golf course, Selborne Golf Course is one of the most spectacular 18 hole golf courses in southern Africa. Wild coastal forest frames a superbly manicured course where the only disturbance may be one of nature’s creatures.
Zimbali Golf Course is situated just outside Ballito, on the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu Natal. Zimbali is well known for its stunning 18-hole golf course. It offers a challenging round of golf of world-class standards and stunning views. The Zimbali Golf Coastal Resort Course varies. Tom Wieskopf, the designer of this masterpiece and past winner of the British and SA Open championship, stays true to his philosophy of providing a fair challenge to golfers of any level. Starting off with a coastal links feel, the course takes a dramatic turn through rough rolling wetlands and ends up in the Zimbali Coastal forest. The course is also a tough walk but fortunately golf carts are compulsory. Most of the tees are high on the side of hills or sand dunes. The fairways cut through the valley and the greens, seemingly always at the bottom of the next hill.