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Travel Guide: South Africa

Travel Guide: South Africa

This nation is a golfing superpower in travel as well as on tour.
 

South Africa is a golfing powerhouse in more ways than one. They have won Majors in most of the decades in the modern era and currently have an especially strong batch of players; from evergreen Ernie Els to younger Major champions such as Schwartzel, Oosthuizen and Immelman.

And that quality is matched by the country’s courses – not least because of the quantity. There are more than 500 courses in South Africa, and they are some of the most picturesque in the world, with the Cape Town and the Western Cape areas particularly strong.

Each area of the country has its own star attractions and many will be known to you due to the South African events on the European Tour frequently moving around.

In 2012, East London, Royal Johannesburg and Fancourt played host in consecutive weeks in January but this year it is Royal Durban, Leopard Creek and Durban CC which welcome the world’s finest.

Leopard Creek is the star attraction in Mpumalanga, located close to Malelane at the southern border of the Kruger National Park on an estate on the banks of the Crocodile River.

Sunshine Tour supremo Johann Rupert and South African legend Gary Player laid the course out 15 years ago.
Big game surrounds this bushveld course with crocodiles and hippos lurking in the vast water features.

It is one of the country’s most famous layouts and Fancourt is another. It is the big name in the Garden Route area – but Pinnacle Point, Goose Valley, Pezula and George GC are also top class.

In the North West province, the revered Sun City complex dominates. Here, the Gary Player Country Club and the (Player designed) Lost City course are located amid lovely scenery.

Sun City is 150km northwest of Johannesburg and also boasts a casino, waterworld, various sports facilities and fantastic hotels.

Durban Country Club returns to the Tour scene this year and is one of the South Africa’s finest having hosted the national Open on many occasions. Located in KwaZulu-Natal it lies right next to the beach of the Indian Ocean.

Clovelly is one of the finest courses in the Cape region, lying between Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay on the Cape Peninsula. The undulating ground is bordered in the north by mountains covered in fynbos and by sand dunes in the south. You also get glimpses of the Indian Ocean as you play. Also good in the area are Durbanville, Metropolitan, Milnerton, Mowbray, Royal Cape, Rondebosch and Westlake.

Pearl Valley is one of several wonderful courses in the Cape Winelands area. It was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is surrounded by mountains and wine estates, with the Berg River meandering through the huge estate.

Erinvale, Devonvale and Stellenbosch make up the support cast in an area which should perhaps receive more plaudits.

In the Eastern Cape area, Humewood in Port Elizabeth is a wonderful, historic track which was opened in 1931 and is one of the few links in South Africa.

It hosted the South African Open four times and the clubhouse affords breathtaking views of the course and Algoa Bay. Finally, St Francis Bay, East Mondon and Fishriver Sun are also terrific venues.
The undulating ground is bordered in the north by mountains covered in fynbos and by sand dunes in the south.
Clovelly is one of the finest courses in the Cape region, lying between Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay on the Cape Peninsula. The undulating ground is bordered in the north by mountains covered in fynbos and by sand dunes in the south. You also get glimpses of the Indian Ocean as you play. Also good in the area are Durbanville, Metropolitan, Milnerton, Mowbray, Royal Cape, Rondebosch and Westlake.

Pearl Valley is one of several wonderful courses in the Cape Winelands area. It was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is surrounded by mountains and wine estates, with the Berg River meandering through the huge estate.

Erinvale, Devonvale and Stellenbosch make up the support cast in an area which should perhaps receive more plaudits.

In the Eastern Cape area, Humewood in Port Elizabeth is a wonderful, historic track which was opened in 1931 and is one of the few links in South Africa.

It hosted the South African Open four times and the clubhouse affords breathtaking views of the course and Algoa Bay. Finally, St Francis Bay, East Mondon and Fishriver Sun are also terrific venues.

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin

Tom is a lifetime golfer, now over 30 years playing the game. 2023 marks 10 years in golf publishing and he is still holding down a + handicap at Alwoodley in Leeds. He has played over 600 golf courses, and has been a member of at least four including his first love Louth, in Lincolnshire. Tom likes unbranded clothing, natural fibres, and pencil bags. Seacroft in Lincolnshire is where it starts and ends.

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