Luxury golf estates are quite a common sight in South Africa. Known for it’s majestic landscapes and beautiful wildlife, South Africa has a lot going for it in terms of creating the perfect scenic golf course. It is no wonder that this country has delivered their fair share of golfing legends like Gary Player, Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen. Here are the top five golf courses as rated by the Golf Digest.
5. Pearl Valley Golf Estate
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 170-hectare championship golf course (par 72) is situated amongst beautiful vineyards that only the Cape Winelands of South Africa can offer. With the dramatic Drakenstein Mountains in the background, the course is easily one of the most visually spectacular courses in the world and is only a short 45 minute drive from Cape Town. Pearl Valley has won numerous awards over the years including the Best Golf Course of the Year 2005 as well as a PMR Diamond Arrow Award in 2008. This 18-hole golf course is considered by some as one of the most challenging courses in Africa.
4. Arabella Golf Club
Just outside the sleepy town of Kleinmond (Western Cape), lies the picturesque Arabella Golf Course. With the Bot River Lagoon at it’s feet and the Kogelberg mountain range as a backdrop, it is no wonder that Arabella Golf Club comes up as one of the top 5 courses in South Africa. The legendary 18-hole (par 72) Championship course was designed and built in 1999 by the highly acclaimed South African golf course architect Peter Matkovich. Between wild fynbos and the odd Hadada roaming the pristine fairways you will find challenging bunkers and numerous water hazards. After a long day of golfing you can retreat to the luxury and beauty of the Arabella Hotel and Spa.
3. Gary Player Country Club
When you think about the Gary Player Country Club, the first thing that comes to mind is the Nedbank Golf Challenge and well, Gary Player of course. This difficult and demanding 18 hole (par 72) course is situated in the beautiful Sun City Resort and is the perfect place to go to when you are looking for a golfing/family holiday. Don’t let the relatively flat gradient of the course mislead you, there are quite a few strategically placed bunkers and water hazards to test even the most experienced golfer. Gary Player Country club was the first golf facility in South Africa offering multiple tees to ensure that all golfers, regardless of their skill level, can enjoy the course. Even thought Sun City is a two and a half hour drive from Johannesburg, once you get there you will soon see what all the fuss is about. Sun City is more than just a resort with a golf course, it has a casino and a huge water park complete with a wave pool.
2. Fancourt CC (The Links)
“I feel a genuine affinity for Fancourt having been involved from day one as a designer of the original golf courses. I experienced one of the greatest thrills of my golf career here when captaining the International Presidents Cup team against Jack Nicklaus’ American team, and it is the home of perhaps my greatest achievement as a golf designer, the Links.” These words came straight from the mouth the great Gary Player and it is enough to get any golfer excited to play on The Links. Drawing some inspiration at the classic links courses of Scotland and Ireland, Player and his design team attempted to created a course consisting of a combination of the best the above mentioned courses had to offer. As a result, the awe-inspiring 18 hole (par 70) The Links was born.
This golf course is situated along the Garden Route, close to the town of George, Western Cape.
1. Leopard Creek Country Club
Coming up at the number one spot is Leopard Creek Country Club. It is not hard to see why this golf course is rated the top golf course of South Africa. Maybe it is because it is situated in the beautiful Mpumalanga Province next to the Crocodile River, or maybe it is because it is bordering the Kruger National Park. Maybe it is the exhilarating combination of the two that result in hippos peacefully grazing on the fairways or a couple of crocodiles basking next to the water hazards. The course is a four-hour drive from Johannesburg or 40minutes by plane. Out of the 18 holes (par 72), the 16th definitely stands out. Overlooking the Kruger National Park and the Crocodile river you might forget that you came to play golf and instead spend more time watching game. The Leopard Creek Country Club offers a top class golfing experience in an undisturbed pristine wildlife environment. This is the true Africa!
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