Repeatedly voted the best golf course in South Africa, the Links at Fancourt Country Club is considered a highlight of any golfing package to South Africa. Fancourt owner Dr Hasso Plattner commissioned Gary Player to build a golf course that would provide a thorough test for any golfer. Player’s design team reportedly spent months studying the classic links courses of Scotland and Ireland and then brought that knowledge to South Africa.
Today, the Links is a private Club for the exclusive use of its members and accompanied guests, with limited tee times being made available to Fancourt Hotel and Manor House guests who meet minimum reservation requirements. Sculpted into what Gary Player has described as his greatest feat as a course designer, The Links has hosted some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, including the Presidents Cup (2003), the SA Open (2005) and the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions European Tour.
Apart from its distinctive design, The Links has been lauded for its vital role in environmental sustainability and awarded an accreditation as a Certified Audubon Cooperation Sanctuary. The clubhouse at The Links is located only metres from the 18th green, with terraced areas and picture windows, to take maximum advantage of course and mountain views. All in all, there is a very special atmosphere.
This exclusive golf course is considered one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Officially the prestigious course is only open to members and their guests, but those who are ready to pay a small fortune are also invited to play. The Gary Player design team worked closely with the Kruger National Park Game Reserve and nature conservation authorities to ensure that the Leopard Creek golf course blends in with the surroundings. Golfing hazards take on a new dimension at Leopard Creek, for much of the water is home to crocodiles. Extensive use has been made of water features and sightings of crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and elephant are commonplace, on the course or in the Kruger Park bordering the course.
The 505 meters par-five 13th is one of Leopard Creek’s most memorable holes. Here the green is right on the edge of the Crocodile river but 32 meters above the level of the water, offering magnificent views up the river and into the Kruger Park. From the elevated 15th tee you have a spectacular view over the course and the Kruger National Park which stretches for miles and miles across the horizon. The view from the 18th fairway down to arguably the most beautiful clubhouse in South Africa and the island green of the 18th is one of the most iconic views in South African golf.
Also making it to the top 100 Greatest Golf Courses this year is Durban Country Club. A course steeped in history and tradition, Durban Country features dates back to 1922. One of the defining characteristics of Durban Country Club is the massive undulations on the fairways, especially noticeable on the 5th, 8th and 17th holes. Offering a typical links layout, the coastal sand dunes on which the course is built offer an interesting and sometimes difficult round to both the amateur and pro golfer alike.
The course, overlooking the Blue Lagoon estuary and the Indian Ocean, has hosted the South African Open 17 times, including the centenary SA Open in 2010, more than any other club in South Africa. Also home to the Volvo Championships in 2013 and 2014. The signature par five 468-metre 3rd hole is rated the best 3rd in the world, featuring a narrow fairway lined with dense bush. A well-placed bunker on the left-hand side combines to make for a very tricky hole, making the 3rd one of most popular holes on the course.