January 18, 2013
Ten good reasons to go golfing around Cape Town
Larry Gould is a Frenchman by birth, an Englishman by education and a South African by choice.
He is a former international hotelier, having worked in Europe, USA, the Caribbean, East Africa and the Seychelles. During this time in the hospitality industry he earned the nickname the "Golfing Hotelier" because of his passion for the game.
He came to South Africa in 1979 for a three-week holiday and never left. He told us: “I fell in love with the scenery, the beaches, the mountains, the people and, as a Frenchman, the wine!”
In South Africa he has been the General Manager of Fancourt in George, and with the advent of democracy and the impending tourism boom he identified the need for a guide to local golf courses for international golfers.
For the past 18 years he has produced his regional guides The Larry Gould Guides to Golf (where to play and where to stay).
Golf in South Africa began in 1885 when Lieutenant-General Sir Henry D’Oyley Torrens, commander of the British garrison stationed in the Cape, founded the Royal Cape Golf Club. Well over a century later the course has stood the test of time and remains one of the Cape’s premier golfing destinations. A relatively flat course, it weaves through avenues of trees and water features which add to the appeal and challenge of the game.
Perhaps the best view of Table Mountain can be appreciated from the third tee of the Milnerton Golf Club. Here you need to turn your back on the waiting fairway, but I guarantee it's worth it. The course lies between sea and lagoon and has the aura of a true links course.
It comes as a surprise to many that I include a nine-hole course on my list. It isn’t just a nine-holer, however, it’s the jewel of the city: the Metropolitan Golf Course. Set in the shadow of the Cape Town Stadium nd with ocean and Table Mountain as backdrops, there are a variety of greens to be played.
Bracketing the N2 – the south coast highway out of Cape Town – are the Mowbray and Rondebosch golf courses. Both are centenarians and steeped in tradition, and both are blessed with established tree-lined fairways. Mowbray offers a classic challenge on flat terrain, while Rondebosch has a rolling landscape with a highly visible and testing canal as one of its memorable features.
The Westlake Golf Club, famed for its excellent greens and flat-top pines, has garnered a deserved reputation for its highly social atmosphere. This social aspect is mirrored by the dune-lined layout of the charming Clovelly Country Club. Here, a superb clubhouse is set at elevation, where it overlooks the course, scenic surrounds and the ocean.
One of the "new" courses to be found in the Cape’s southern suburbs is the Peter Matkovich-designed Steenberg Golf Course. Set in the heart of an award-winning real estate development, the experience is one of exceptional, manicured greens, enhanced by quite magnificent mountain backdrops.
Near the Cape Town International Airport is the King David Golf Club, which has a different ambience to many other Cape courses. Here, undulating fairways are the main feature, along with an abundance of established trees, doglegs and large to small greens. In recent years the course has improved its look to one of near perfection.
Only half an hour from the city is the famous Cape Winelands. In the Helderberg region, the Erinvale Golf Course, a Gary Player masterpiece, is located centrally in one of South Africa’s premier housing estates. The course gained its international reputation as host of the 1996 World Cup of Golf event in which a worldwide audience saw Ernie Els and Wayne Westner win on home soil. Erinvale's reputation was built, however, on its spectacular scenery as captured by international television crews.