South Africa is one of the finest countries in the world to play golf. Each region has a tremendous choice of top grade golf courses, generally in great condition and can be played in an excellent year-round climate. Virtually every town in South Africa has its own golf course. There are more than 500 courses in the country and the number keeps on growing. Many of these courses are of superior quality, well equipped and situated in beautiful scenery.
Visitors are always welcome and the green fees are reasonable. The country boasts an ideal climate for spending time out on the fairways under the bright African sun, and golfers here are blessed for choice. If you enjoy the challenge of a coastal course, there is a stunning selection available; if you prefer playing at altitude, where the ball flies that much further, the selection is just as good. Among the golf enthusiasts of the world, South Africa is still a well kept secret. Many courses though register growing visitor numbers from overseas.
Lost City and Gary Player Country Club
A comfortable 2-hour drive from Johannesburg by car lies the amazing Sun City Entertainment Complex. The complex is commonly known as “Fun City”, as you can do almost anything and everything you desire. The fabulous Suncity resort complex captivates visitors with its combination of golf, leisure, safari and gambling as well as world-class accommodation. Formerly the gaming capital of Africa, Sun City is still a hotspot for those wishing to gamble but also for those just wishing to relax. Nevertheless, the focus is now on the total experience of stylish entertainment in Africa. There are three world class hotels, a casino, squash, tennis, bowls, swimming, walking trails, game drives and of course, the two magnificent golf courses – The Lost City and the more famous, Gary Player Country Club that hosts the annual Million Dollar Golf Challenge.
The Lost City has a fantastic layout that utilizes the lay of the land to dramatic effect and offers a spectacular array of holes and large undulating greens. There are some unique and challenging holes, none more so than the world famous par 3, 13th hole, played downhill to a green protected by bunkers and a real life crocodile pit! Needless to say this is one hazard to be avoided at all costs. This is a spectacular course and one to be enjoyed and talked about.
Probably the most famous golf course in South Africa is the Gary Player Country Clubat Sun City, home to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, that offers the biggest first prize of any tournament in the world. The Gary Player Country Club has consistently been ranked number one in South Africa. It is a true test of golf and features many great holes. It is a very demanding course where stray shots can be severely punished and the cloverleaf shaped greens make for tough pin positions and interesting situations. There is not a bad hole on the course, but the four par 3 holes are exceptional, as are the two finishing holes on both sides (the 9th and 18th). Numerous tees afford the opportunity for players of all standards to play this course.
Rated the best course in South Africa, and 25th in the world outside the US by Golf Digest USA, Leopard Creek is situated on the border of the world-famous Kruger National Park. Gary Player’s design takes advantage of the natural environment, which is home to Africa’s “big five” – lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo – and over 200 species of birds that make their homes in the surrounding trees, some of which are over 100 years old. Players are protected from the wildlife by means of innovative architectural and landscaping techniques – although water hazards might include the odd hippopotamus or crocodile!
Fancourt is South Africa’s premier golf resort, featuring three highly rated Championship golf courses, where play is restricted to Members, their guests and hotel guests. Since opening in the early 90’s with just 27 Gary Player-designed holes, Fancourt’s Outeniqua and Montagu golf courses have matured and developed into two of the finest 18-hole parkland layouts in the country. A round on either is a special experience, sculpted and finished as they are, with rare attention to detail and designed with the coastal George winds in mind.
The Links at Fancourt was added in 2000, an awe-inspiring example of magnificent design and golf-course construction, about which designer Gary Player says: “Links golf is how the game originated and at The Links we take golfers back to the roots of golf – and they can play a ‘British Open’ all of their own!”
South Africa has produced a number of golfers of the highest calibre, including Gary Player, Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman – major winners all – and once you’ve experienced some of the courses we have to offer, you’ll begin to understand why.