August 19, 2013
The Cape Town Stadium Course: The Golfing Jewel in the Mother City
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).
They were voted as one of the ‘top 10 best 9 hole golf courses in South Africa’ and were awarded the ‘leading golf club in South Africa’ award by the annual John Collier Survey for environmental and good governance.
This displayed an acute understanding of compliance levels and how these levels are linked to principles of sustainability. So it looks like the Metropolitan Golf Club, founded in 1895 and one of South Africa’s oldest golf clubs, is on course to stay around with good quality and good management for some time to come.
The course has changed considerably over the last 115 years, but it is the changes that have taken place due to South Africa hosting the 2010 fFIFA Soccer World Cup that have made the biggest impact. The location near the city proved to be the one chosen to build the 68 000 seat Cape Town Stadium and the course had to be redesigned to accommodate this major infrastructure.
The ‘new’ course officially opened on 15 May, 2010 and the standards presented to the returning members (who were away for three years) have achieved the stated aim of the club, to be the ‘Jewel in the City’, with a golf course manicured to perfection.
Teeing off in the Mother City …
The location already provides reason to play this surprising challenge so close the City center. Situated between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, the golf experience is blessed with stunning views of both.Obviously the soccer stadium is now the dominant backdrop on many of the holes, but fortunately it has aesthetic merit.
The new course has a modern design feel and while four holes (considerably remodelled) remain in the original location, the other five have been introduced on land previously used as sports fields.A tunnel under the road leads to these holes and here the greeting is of wide open fairways, several new challenging and visually pleasant water features and several of the holes offer a two green choice for variety when playing the 9-holes for the second time.
The introduction throughout the course of ‘Love Grass’ has given shape to many of the holes and added a requirement for accuracy, as Love Grass can become an oxymoron to the wayward player.The club also took the opportunity to make improvements of its clubhouse facilities and now the customer journey is surely as good as any in the Cape region.
The view from the upstairs bar, while dominated by the stadium allows for views of Table Mountain and the ocean and the green belt of the golf course makes for a wonderful contrast in the shadow of the stadium.
For more information, please visit www.metropolitangolfclub.co.za .
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