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May 22, 2019updated Jun 05, 2019

Five of the Best Golf Courses in South Africa

By Alex Martin

In this latest story in an ongoing series, Elite Traveler takes a look at five of the best golf courses in South Africa.

From the nine-time major winner Gary Player to the former world No 1 Ernie Els, South Africa has produced some of the best golfers the world has ever seen.

But golf is not just an export in South Africa: The Rainbow Nation and its long list of incredible courses attract tourists from all over the world.

Whether you want to challenge yourself on the links courses on the windy Western Cape or share the tee with wildlife in the edge of a nature reserve, South Africa has a world-class course to suit all tastes. Here, we take a look at five that you simply cannot miss.

The Gary Player Golf Course

As the name suggests, the Gary Player Course was designed by South Africa’s most famous golfer of the same name. It is home to the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge, which with a prize of $2million, has hosted some of the game’s biggest stars.

It is one of the longest courses in the country, stretching almost 8,000 yards and proving a test for even the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour. The endless sunshine in this part of South Africa means playing conditions rarely stray away from perfect.

There are no memberships in the country club as it forms part of the Sun City resort. All guests who pay the green fee (around $65) can enjoy the facilities such as the gym and spa after their round.

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The 18th hole with the clubhouse in the background

The Links at Fancourt Country Club

The Links Course at the Fancourt Estate is widely regarded as South Africa’s best. On top of that, it is one of the most exclusive. Prospective members must pass a background check and an interview with the club’s president before they are invited to pay the $100,000 membership fee.

You don’t have to be a member to play, however; a few tee times are reserved for guests at the exclusive Fancourt Hotel and members can invite guests to play with them.

Once you have cleared those hurdles you will have access to one of the most glorious links courses in the world. It was also designed by Player, but only after he and his team had learned everything they could about Scottish links courses. Its windswept terrain and dune-style landscape provides a tough challenge for even the most seasoned golfer.

Durban Country Club

The Durban Country Club course is as close to a national treasure as any golf course in South Africa. It has played host to 17 South African Opens, more than any other, and is a mainstay in the World’s Top 100 list.

The course is situated next to the warm Indian Ocean and is lined with lush vegetation over its undulating terrain. It remains largely unchanged from the original 1920s design and its opening five holes are considered to be the best opening in the world.

Following the round, members can enjoy one of the best and most exclusive country clubs in South Africa. The opulent building boasts two restaurants, a pool and even has a childcare facility for parents seeking solace on the fairways.

 

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The East Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington

The Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golf clubs were rivals for much of their illustrious history but merged into one facility in 1998. Both courses are long and challenging, but it is the East Course that presents the tougher test.

It is one of the longest on the European Tour, measuring in at an impressive 7,592 yards from the tips. A disproportionate amount of that yardage comes in two successive holes, the 10th and 11th. Both of these back-to-back par fours are over 500 yards in length and only the very best come through them with an undamaged scorecard.

The Country Club boasts an unrivaled history. First established in 1891, it has undergone a number of restorations and relocations but is today a modern facility. Its storied walls have also been home to the PGA of South Africa since 2005.

 

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Leopard Creek Country Club

We finish our list with quite possibly the most exclusive country club in South Africa. Few clubs in the world have a membership requirement quite as selective as Leopard Creek. Naturally, membership is by invitation only and to be considered you must own or have a share in one of the properties on the estate. You can, however, access the course and the incredible thatched-roof clubhouse by staying at one of the nearby lodges.

Located on the edge of the Kruger National Park, stunning wildlife usually offers golfers a welcome distraction from their tee shot. There is a fence to keep the big five at bay, but don’t be surprised to see a hippo or a lion walking by on the other side.

The course itself was designed by Player and hosts the annual Alfred Dunhill Challenge. Members also enjoy use of the recently completed par three course, which replicates some of the most famous par threes in the world, and a state-of-the-art training facility.

 

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