Gary Player Designed Golf Courses' Tour
Southern Africa is home to some of the continent’s finest golf courses and this is perhaps not surprising considering that the region has also produced some of the World’s best professional golfers.
If you have ever wondered why the region punches so far above its weight in golfing terms – currently placed third overall among those countries with the most winners of golf’s Majors in the modern era – the golf courses these players developed their skills on is a key part of this recipe.
Gary Player’s record stands head and shoulders above the rest of his fellow countrymen while his on course exploits inside the ropes have now been matched by his flair for design and golf course architecture.
The tour will start in Gauteng, which is South Africa’s most densely populated province and the country’s commercial and political hub.
The first leg will feature games at three award winning courses, two of which are in golf estates.
Dainfern Golf and Residential Estate, on the northern borders of Sandton, was the first golf estate to be developed in Gauteng which was then known as the Transvaal.
It all starts in here... Part 1
Day 1 to 3
Gauteng: Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate and Dainfern Golf and Residential Estate
The first leg will feature games at two award winning courses which are in golf estates.
Dainfern, on the northern borders of Sandton, was the first golf estate to be developed in Gauteng which was then known as the Transvaal.
The estate has as its centrepiece the former Fourways golf course which was beautifully remodelled by the Gary Player Design Group.
Blair Atholl is unique in that the course has been constructed on the farm on which was originally Gary Player’s home on the Highveld.
In the course design Gary took inspiration from the thousands of miles he has travelled and the 100’s of golf courses he has played over the years. This has included a selection of what he considers to be the best features of some of the many golf holes he has played.
A best example of this would be the club’s third hole which bears a strong resemblance to the par 3 12th at Augusta National.
The non-golf section of the programme provides an exciting ‘menu’ of parallel activities suitable for the whole family.
This can include visiting the restaurant and shopping areas in Sandton City and Sandton Square – one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest malls and the opportunity to visit and explore the region’s more natural attractions.
Gauteng’s central location is perfect for ½ and full day access to a number of must see places, including visits to areas of cultural significance and historic interest, the Voortrekker Monument, the Cradle of Humankind (a World Heritage site) and the ‘city’ of SOWETO as examples.
Arrival in South Africa at OR Tambo International Airport | Transfer to Sandton and check into your hotel of residence | Introduction to the programme and welcome dinner
Breakfast at hotel of residence | PM - 18 holes at Dainfern Golf & Country Club | Non-golfer programme | Evening at leisure
Breakfast at hotel of residence | PM - 18 holes at Blair Atholl Golf Club | Non-golfer programme | Evening at leisure
Sun City here we come... Part 2
Day 4 to 5
North West Province: Gary Player Country Club and The Lost City Golf Club
In the Northwest, which is the province adjoining Gauteng’s northern borders, Sun City Resort, in its role as the home to the Million Dollar and Nedbank Challenge, should need no introduction and it is possibly just about as ‘complete’ a resort as one could hope to find.
Its two golf courses offer quite distinct layouts - the world-famous Gary Player Country Club and the lesser known, but very challenging Lost City.
Off the ‘tips’, even in the thinner air of the Highveld, the Gary Player Country Club is a ‘big’ course in every respect.
Still if you swallow your misplaced golfing pride and play the course from the tees suitable to your handicap level, it will be a memorable challenge and a tick on your personal golfing bucket list!
The Lost City is more subtle and far shorter. However, it is full of hidden trouble…oh and the BIG crocodiles basking on the mud flats in the hazard next to the par 3, 13th green are not plastic, as several visitors have thought in the past when they jumped down into the hazard to retrieve an errant tee shot, but the real thing!
The non-golfer can have a ball of another sort with a range of diversions from balloon safaris in the Pilanesberg National Park, to which the resort has its own entrance, and para gliding on the Sun City lake.
Four hotels and a host of bars and restaurants, various entertainment areas and a casino mean that there is also always something for everyone to do at night.
A final comment on the subject of Sun City would be that it could be said that if you can’t find something to do at this resort, then you might already be dead!…so it is a paradise for all ages and both golfers and their families.
Breakfast at hotel of residence | Transfer to Sun City Resort by road | PM - 18 holes at Lost City Golf Club | Non golfer programme | Dinner and introduction to the programme section
Breakfast at hotel of residence | PM - 18 holes at Gary Player Country Club | Non golfer programme | Dinner and prize-giving
The Garden Route... Part 3
Day 6 to 8
Western Cape: Fancourt Montagu or Outeniqua and Fancourt The Links
The tour will now move down to the Cape’s Garden Route.
This area has one of South Africa’s most iconic coastlines and is where Fancourt will play the host duties for the group in the penultimate leg of the tour.
South Africa’s number 1 ranked golf course (38th in Golf Digest’s most recent World Rankings), The Links, is one of three courses at Fancourt, all of which are in South Africa’s top 20 list.
The Links, which hosted the famously tied President’s Cup in 2003 and Gary Players considers to be his finest work as a golf course architect, is a ‘serious’ golf course.
Not only is The Links a wonderful layout, but it is a shining example of what can be achieved by man, both for his own sporting entertainment and also in terms of the finished product protecting, sustaining and enhancing the ecology and environment in which it was as constructed.
It is a private members’ club, with access limited to a small number of Fancourt Hotel and Manor House guests who satisfy certain reservation requirements.
Ranked 14 in South Africa, Fancourt’s Outeniqua golf course presents an 18-hole parkland layout that is tailored to provide a laid-back golfing experience. The course provides for easier game play than its counterpart, the Montagu while offering its fair share of challenges and water hazards on as many as 11 of its holes. Designed by Gary Player and named after the mountain range that forms its breath-taking backdrop, the course is pristinely conditioned to accommodate a large volume of players.
All the courses at Fancourt are superbly conditioned as befits a resort which has won numerous awards and was recently voted in the top 10 of CCNGo’s World list and by the World Golf Award’s as the best golf hotel in South Africa.
If the non-golfers can manage to prise themselves away from the attractions of the resort they will find a number of marvellous beaches, for which the region is justly famous, close to hand.
The Montagu Pass is a must visit while the concierge’s desk, at either Fancourt Hotel or Manor Lodge, will be able to recommend and book a wide range of activities.
The Montagu, which was the first of the courses completed at Fancourt, is at number 8 on SA’s top 20 listing and is a gorgeous parkland layout.
Exquisitely conditioned to provide a riveting golfing experience, this tree-lined course covers large tracts of varying terrain on rolling land. A detailed stroke saver takes golfers through the course, providing distance measurements and images that assist players with navigating the course. A warm-up area, featuring a full-length range and a chipping and bunker practice area, is available to golfers before play. Golf carts are available for hire, weather permitting.
Breakfast at hotel of residence | AM - Balloon Safari in the Pilanesberg | PM - transfer to George on the Garden Route | Check into Fancourt | Dinner and introduction to the programme section
Breakfast at hotel of residence | PM - 18 holes at Montagu or Outeniqua | Non golfer programme | Evening at leisure
Breakfast at hotel of residence | PM - 18 holes at Montagu or The Links | Non golfer programme | Dinner and prize-giving
The Cape... Part 4
Day 9 to 11
Western Cape: Erinvale Country and Golf Estate
For its final leg the Gary Player Designed Courses Tour will move down to Cape Town in the Western Cape.
South Africa’s ‘mother city’ is also one of the World’s most visited cities and steeped with history.
Near Somerset West lies Erinvale Golf & Country Estate which will be the host course for the final leg of this golfing journey and which, since being opened in 1995, has blossomed into one of the region’s finest estates.
The course in framed by the Helderberg and Hottentot Hollands mountain ranges and this majestic backdrop is echoed by the golf course.
Apart from being beautifully conditioned, in this design Gary Player has managed to capture that elusive mix of a championship test, which can also be enjoyed by the average golfer.
The Cape possesses a long menu of things to do, from a visit to Cape Point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet to a trip, weather permitting, up the city’s world famous Table Mountain.
It would be fair to say that no trip to this region would be complete without a visit to one of Cape’s iconic wine farms.
However, if history and culture are your ‘thing’, then a visit to Robben Island, the Castle of Good Hope and the Bo Kaap or District Six museums should satisfy this thirst.
For the nature lovers, you can go whale spotting in Hermanus, dive with great white sharks, or alternatively just while away a sunshine filled day on one of the peninsula’s fabulous beaches.
Breakfast at hotel of residence | Depart - for Cape Town | Check into Erinvale Hotel & Spa | Welcome dinner
Breakfast at hotel of residence | PM - 18 holes at Erinvale Golf & Country Club | Non-golfers programme | Dinner and prize-giving
Breakfast at hotel of residence | AM - wine tour and lunch | PM - Depart from Cape Town