Enjoy golf? We got you cover in Cape Town & the Garden Route
The Golf Digest in South Africa brings out bi-annual rankings for the top golf courses in South Africa. This article focuses on our take on the Top 10 Golf Courses in Cape Town, Winelands, Hermanus & the Garden Route.
The Cape’s golf courses have dropped down the country’s rankings in recent years, partly because of water shortages. But also because of the emergence of so many excellent country lifestyle estates in and close to Johannesburg. these have given the Cape a good run for its money. But the courses below are some of the most scenically beautiful courses in the country. And they are easy to incorporate into a South African holiday itinerary.
Our rankings differ from the Golf Digest rankings in that the Digest covers the whole of South Africa. So some of the country’s best golf courses, though immaculate, are not readily available to the keen overseas golfer. Either because of their location or their exclusive club membership which does not easily permit visitors.
Our top 10 golf courses in Cape Town include some of the top golf courses which are relatively easily accessible to the golfing visitor. We have put the Golf Digest Rankings at the bottom of each description for your reference.
1) The Links at Fancourt Golf Estate, Garden Route
The Links course at Fancourt, is a truly unique and challenging course, especially if the wind blows, with rolling fairways alongside punishing roughs. Fancourt is considered to be the most impressively designed course in South Africa. Unique to South Africa, the course presents undulating windswept terrain and dune-style landscape. As a result, the Links presents a stern test in all weather conditions. Perhaps the most eye-catching hole is the par-three 2nd hole, with a bunker in the heart of the massive green!
George, Garden Route • Links • 6 930m • Golf Carts • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 No 1
2) Pearl Valley Country Club, Winelands
Pearl Valley has risen dramatically in the rankings in the last 2 years, up from Number 17 to Numer 2. This is one of Jack Nicklaus’s most visually pleasing golf courses. The 500 acre Pearl Valley Golf Estate is surrounded by the Simonsberg and Drakenstein Mountains. And bordered by vineyards with the Berg River acting as a water hazard through the course. The combination of the intense colours of the greens and fairways, together with the brilliant white river sand lining the bunkers was carefully planned, making Pearl Valley one of the most spectacular golf courses in South Africa.
Paarl, Cape Winelands • Parkland 6 719m • Carts available • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 No 2
3) Montagu at Fancourt Golf Estate, Garden Route
The Montagu at Fancourt has consistently been rated within the top 10 courses in South Africa, even ranked as the top course a few times in the past. The Fancourt Montagu is considered one of the best-conditioned golf courses in South Africa. It is cleverly designed, picturesque, and presents a challenge to golfers of all levels, taking in a setting of mountains, water, and wildlife.
As with the other Fancourt courses, play is restricted to members, their guests, and Fancourt Hotel or Fancourt Manor House guests, so there is ample time to savor the Fancourt golfing experience. The warm-up area, featuring a full-length range and a chipping and bunker practice area, is available to all golfers before play.
George, Garden Route • Parkland • 6 714m • Golf Carts • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 Number 8
4) Arabella Country Club, near Hermanus
The Arabella Country Club & Arabella Hotel overlooks the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, a mass of over 1,200 species of wild flowers and fynbos. The sweeping grandeur of the mountains and lagoon backdrop, complements this 18-hole championship course. Peter Matkovich, the exemplary golf architect was the designer.
Arabella Country Club provides both a wonderful golf challenge and an eye-catching landscape. Bordering the largest natural lagoon in South Africa, the Bot River Lagoon, with the 9th, 17th, and 18th holes running parallel to the water. The wetland is home to thousands of waterbirds so keep your eyes peeled for the flamingos.
Near Hermanus • Parkland 6 381m • Golf Carts • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 Number 10
5) Outeniqua at Fancourt Golf Estate, Garden Route
The Outeniqua course at Fancourt, set in rolling parkland, has the stunning backdrop of the Outeniqua Mountains. This course is similar in design to The Montagu, being shaped by the legendary Gary Player. It offers world-class conditioning and a setting that takes in mountains, water, and wildlife. A gentle opening par 4 with a fairly wide landing area, a large water hazard on the 14th hole, and a good finishing 18th hole, the Outeniqua creates a wonderful challenge for all golfing enthusiasts. As with all Fancourt courses, there are a variety of tees from which to choose to play, ensuring that you never feel overwhelmed by the course.
George, Garden Route • Parkland 6 312m • Golf Carts • SA Golf Digest/Top 100 2020 Number 18
6) Pezula Golf Estate, Knysna Garden Route
Pezula Golf Course lies in a stunning setting on the clifftops of the Knysna heads with views to the Indian Ocean to one side, the Knysna Lagoon to another, and the indigenous rainforest to a third. The whole course is covered with beautiful fynbos, which strongly resembles Scottish heather. You can stay at the Pezula Hotel or at a boutique hotel that has golf membership such as Kanonkop House…
Pezula course will prove challenging to the expert, yet it has five tees to every hole which makes it accessible to the social and junior players. The course offers breathtaking views over the forest, the Knysna Lagoon, and the Indian Ocean with holes such as the 14th built right on the breach of the cliffs. The succession of the forest, cliff, and sea locations changing elevations and clever bunkering offers a true test of skill.
Knysna, Garden Route • Parkland 6 355m • Carts available • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 Number 22
7) Simola Golf Course, Knysna Garden Route
Simola is a relatively new course that is fast rising up the rankings, also in Knysna on the Garden Route. This Jack Nicklaus course opened in 2005 and sits majestically on a wooded landscape overlooking the Knysna River and lagoon.
Untroubled by the wind that plagues so may coastal courses – and boasting an unusual configuration of five par-5s and five par-3s, Simola offers challenging and rewarding golf for pros and high-handicap players alike.
Knysna, Garden Route • Parklands 6 401m • Golf Carts • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 No 20
8) Erinvale Country Club, Winelands
Erinvale’s setting is stunning with the Hottentot Holland mountains as a backdrop. However, this beautifully manicured championship course boasts some of the country’s most challenging and spectacular holes. The course has two distinctly different nine holes to challenge the enthusiastic golfer. Again water and bunkers feature heavily with the additional challenge of the gradients! It has a driving range, putting green and chipping green for practice. Erinvale’s demanding front nine meanders through park-like terrain, whilst the back nine provide a contrasting challenge winding its way through the foothills of the mountains with panoramic views of False Bay. On the 15th hole you crest the hill and enjoy a spectacular view of Gordons Bay before you. You can stay at Erinvale Hotel.
Cape Winelands • Parkland 6 506m • Carts available • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 Number 27
9) De Zalze Country Club, Winelands
De Zalze was designed by well-known South African golf architect, Peter Matkovich. He made the most of this stunning setting and created a course that places a premium on accuracy. The course is set among vineyards and orange groves of the Cape Winelands, alongside the Blaauwklippen River.
The course has a memorable layout with many challenges, especially the second nine. The oak tree-lined Blaauwklippen River which winds its way through the golf estate comes into play at various intervals. The short par-four 12th is played from an island tee over a large stretch of water to a green that can be driven if you’re brave enough to carry the water. The par five with two fairways is another interesting hole set amongst the citrus trees.
Cape Winelands • Parkland 6 385m • Carts available • Golf in Cape Town – SA Golf Digest 2020 No 35
10) Steenberg Golf Estate, Cape Town
Steenberg is the first real golf course in Cape Town in the rankings. Surrounded by vineyards, Steenberg’s parkland course lies in the verdant Constantia valley in the crook of the Constantiaberg mountains with extensive mountain and forest views from the course. Designed by Peter Matkovich, Steenberg offers some testing and varied golf with tee boxes amongst the vineyards, much use of water, and natural sandbanks in the heathland. You can stay at Steenberg Hotel with its excellent restaurant, spa & wine cellar…
The course features four distinct areas: wetlands, parkland, the Cape flats, and fynbos. Visually spectacular and technically challenging, these are the sort of holes that make golfing a true pleasure. (Golf in Cape Town – Golf Digest 2020 Number 54)
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Clovelly Golf Course, Cape Town
Clovelly Golf Course is scenically one of the best courses on the Cape Peninsula. It is more varied than many of the parkland courses. The lovely colonial clubhouse enjoys a slightly elevated position above the course which takes full advantage of its coastal setting with deep sand dunes encroaching upon the fairways. It is known for its rolling fairways, undulating holes, and magnificent landscaping. Wind also plays a significant factor at Clovelly! A relatively quiet course, Clovelly is a tight par 72 with a testing mix of interesting holes and elevated greens accompanied by beautiful views of Silvermine River and lakes. Sand dunes abound the course, which has natural water features and a wide variety of indigenous fauna and flora, notably the variety of trees lining the fairways. (Golf Digest Number 2020 – Number 49)
Hope you have enjoyed this post on the top 10 golf courses in Cape Town. Check out Part 2 which focuses on the Top 10 Golf Courses in South Africa in Sun City, the Kruger, and KZN… Or head to our Golf pages for more sample golf holidays.
Other Notable Mentions
Cape Town has a number of golf courses that don’t quite make the cut here. But the following are well worth a mention…
- George Golf Club – Number 14
- Pinnacle Point, Western Garden Route – Number 20
- Royal Cape – Number 43
- Oubaai, Garden Route – Number 44
- Hermanus – Number 45
- Stellenbosch – Number 61
- Atlantic Beach – Number 69
About the Authors of Top 10 Golf Courses in Cape Town- Cedarberg Africa
Cedarberg Africa is a Africa safari specialist focusing on Southern Africa. We put together tailor-made itineraries which are designed around YOUR interests. Whether it is a stand-alone golfing trip or combining golf with safari. Or adding some golf into a highlights tour of South Africa. We have been in business for nearly 25 years so we know what we’re doing!