Whether it is a winter getaway from the north or a stop-in at any time of the year from any locale, South Africa has plenty of golfing treats.
However, when it comes to packing the majesty in and getting the most out of a short trip, there is one area you should set course for as soon as you can.
The Garden Route’s stellar offering of golf courses includes 14 of South Africa’s top 100 18-hole layouts.
George alone sports three of the country’s top 20 courses and arguably South Africa’s best course.
It is easy to see why the Garden Route won the esteem of Golf Digest as South Africa’s No 1 Golf destination.
The Links at Fancourt worth the trip alone
The Links at Fancourt consistently tops lists as South Africa’s best course, and in terms of expertly moulding an 18-hole layout into its environment, it is up there with Pearl Valley and Leopard Creek.
Fancourt resort sports another pair of excellent courses in the Montagu and Outeniqua which are both rated into the top 20 by South Africa’s Top 100 Courses.
“The Links at Fancourt is one of the world’s most significant and creative design achievements,” the site proclaims.
“Gary Player was set the challenge of building a unique and distinctive five-star golf course for Fancourt owner Hasso Plattner, and produced something monumental for the game in South Africa.”
If you want a comprehensive golfing experience on the Garden Route you would do well to not miss out on playing the George Golf Club.
A parkland gem that has stood the test of time, it has earned the nickname of “the old course” in relation to the much newer offerings at Fancourt.
The famous dam at George GC is in play on the 1st, 17th and 18th but is only really a hazard to a wild hook off the tees at 18. That trio of holes are also considered the features of the course. The clubhouse offers stunning views of the gorgeous 18th.
Rounding out the five courses in George that are all individually worth a trip to play is the newest layout, which is at the Kingswood Golf Club.
Adjoining Fancourt Links but belonging to a separate private residential development.
Kingswood’s greens have earned praise from a broad spectrum of critics with none finding any fault with their condition.
Knysna not to be outdone
Knysna has not been oblivious to the Graden Route golfing boom and sports its own world-class lineup of courses.
Those include the excellent Simola and Pezula as well as the OG Knysna Gold Club.
Perched in the hills above the Garden Route village of Knysna lies the captivating Simola, a signature design by Jack Nicklaus.
Pezula boasts some of the most Instagrammable holes in South Africa. This course, situated atop the East Head, offers a series of picturesque holes with views over the town of Knysna.
One of the most well-liked layouts on the Garden Route is the Knysna Golf Club, a short but challenging parkland course situated on a picturesque setting next to the Knysna Lagoon. Compared to the two breathtaking resort layouts of Knysna, Pezula and Simola, it offers a milder challenge by contrast but an enjoyable experience. And with stunning modern greens complexes, its overall conditioning typically matches that of the other two courses.
Mossel Bay makes its case
Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay is a spectacular golfing experience that has rightly been compared with the likes of Pebble Beach, Old Head, Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand and Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic.
Garden Route highlight, Pinnacle Point boasts several holes with incredible wow factor, and even when you play inland, you can still take in breathtaking vistas of the Indian Ocean.
The Mossel Bay Golf Club also offers golf with ocean views on every hole across a links-inspired course at a fairly reasonable price, considering the stunning setting.
Some other Garden Route gems
Oubaai in Herold’s Bay is another course that will take your breath away with its incredible vistas.
The Plettenberg Bay Country Club and Goose Valley make Plet just as much of a golf destination as its Garden Route peers.
Oudtshoorn Golf Club is officially the oldest club on the Garden Route and offers a unique Klein Karoo golfing experience.