This is a list of our top five golf courses in South Africa, based on nothing more scientific than personal preference. Although we have tried to give some justification for our choices the over riding principle is simple; if somebody offered us an all expenses paid trip/round at a course of our choice, where would we choose to play.
This is the definition of a South African golf course. Scotland has it’s Links courses, South Africa has it’s bushveld courses and this is our favourite. It’s location and overall experience count heavily in it’s favour, as on golf course design alone in another setting we’re not sure if it would still hold onto number one but, would certainly be right up there. It has our favourite set of par fives in the country.
Gary Player Country Club
No surprise that it’s another bushveld course at number two. This is a great design and for the most part very playable for golfers of any ability but, if you stray off line in some places don’t bother looking for your ball! The setting and aura around Leopard Creek just pip Gary Player CC into the number one spot.
The Links at Fancourt
Often rated at number one in the country and to be honest there is very little to choose between the top three, even the top five for that matter. This course is beautiful and in great condition but it’s brutal! Especially if the wind blows! We also found it somehow feels out of place, like it’s missing an ocean view here or there. It’s spectacular in it’s own right but not as natural as either Leopard Creek or Gary Player CC.
St Francis Links
Another fantastic links style course. It suffers a similar problem to Fancourt in that it is probably a little too tough for the average golfer to enjoy day in and day out, especially in anything less than perfect conditions. The greens can also be a mystery if you only play here once in a while. That said it is beautiful, always in great condition and unlike The Fancourt Links the surroundings feel very natural. It just loses out slightly on the strength of the layout.
Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, East Course
This could well be our favourite layout of all. Unfortunately it just can’t compete on the overall experience side of the top four. Royal Joburg is a classic members golf club and it’s busy, this makes it impossible to keep the wear and tear as low as those more exclusive facilities. Winter in the Highveld also makes all the courses brown and therefore not in ideal condition but play it anytime between November and April and you’re in for a real treat. If this course had less traffic and was in a location that it stayed green all year round with an exotic location I’m pretty sure it would be competing for number one! Be forewarned however, like the rest of the Top Five, it’s also a tough course.
So there it is our top five courses in the country. What are your favourite golf courses and why? What do you think of our selection, leave us a comment.