South Africa has produced some amazing golfers from Gary Player to Retief Goosen, and rising stars like Trevor Immelman and Tim Clark. These pros either got their start on these top 10 golf courses, or make a point to visit them while at home. If you’re taking your set of clubs on your trip to South Africa, don’t miss these.
Don’t mind the baboons, monkeys and impalas that will be watching you as you play on this wild but elegant course. Leopard Creek coexists nicely with the bushveld, creating a perfectly manicured setting amid the local fauna. From the river’s-edge green of the par-five 13th, players often see hippos and elephants, and from the elevated tee at the long 15th, players get an amazing view of the surrounding savanna.
South Africa’s most challenging course, Links at Fancourt is a former flat airfield-turned-golfer’s dream. Players navigate through high mounds and dunes covered in picturesque tall bush grass and on many holes one can catch great views of the Outeniqua Mountains. The course is also dotted with lovely small lakes and marshes.
Southeast of Cape Town is Botrivier Lagoon, the largest lagoon in South Africa, and around it is this stunning course where players are pleasantly distracted by 130 different species of birds, the Kogelberg Mountains, forest and natural fynbos (evergreen shrubland only found in South Africa.)
Durban Country Club is one of South Africa’s most respected institutions, with not only a world-class course but also a spa and fine-dining restaurant. The dunesy holes next to the Indian Ocean make this course unique, and the narrow valleys, tight routes and famous winds make this a deliciously challenging course.
This Jack Nicklaus masterpiece is covered in nine manmade lakes and manicured bent-grass greens and sits in the gorgeous Franschhoek winelands. Players like to stop for a deep breath at the waterside green on the par-three 13th.
Pezula Golf Club sits on the cliff-top plateau of the Knysna Heads. On one side players have views of a lagoon; on the other, the Indian Ocean, and surrounding them are the Outeniqua Mountains. This is a slightly wild landscape, not suited for golfers who prefer a manicured course. But it makes for an invigorating and challenging round of golf with the sand dunes, the waves crashing below and sometimes-fierce wind.
Steenberg Golf Club
Open since the mid-90s, Steenberg features a hybrid design: part traditional, with hills of bent grass and sand-and water-protected island greens, and part modern because of the real estate hugging some of the fairways. Players enjoy it all with a glass of Steenberg’s own merlot at the 19th hole.
Humewood Golf Club
Humewood hosted the 2006 South African Open and is the only natural-links course in the country. Sitting in the gorgeous coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the club is considered to be of first-class pedigree with an elegant clubhouse at the 19th hole with amazing views of Algoa Bay.
Royal Cape has been around since 1885 and has hosted the South Africa open 10 times. Of course the original layout was a bit rough and the course has come a long way since then, with well-grassed fairways, perfectly manicured greens and challenging bunkers. Top players like Gary Player, Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman have enjoyed the course.
Sitting above the picturesque Garden Route in the town of Knysna, Simola is home to lush indigenous vegetation and forests, making for a unique golf experience. The property doubles as a five-star hotel with a gourmet restaurant and outstanding spa.