The Golf Coast

Aside from 120 kilometres of pristine sand and seven Blue Flag beaches, KZN’s South Coast is prime golfing territory.

Turn south at Durban and you can take your pick of 11 golf courses all within close proximity of one another.

Scottburgh Golf Club

This semi-links course situated in the northernmost part of the Golf Coast is comparatively short at 5 323 metres, with five spectacular par threes, 11 par fours and two par fives, with the average par four being 330 metres long. The par-four third hole is especially challenging: it has an extremely narrow fairway with out of bounds on the right and coastal forest on the left. Factor in coastal breezes and even good golfers might need to wipe sweat from their brow! Another spectacular shot is from the par-four 18th, where players fly the drive over tall trees and hope that the wind is in their favour to shift the ball onto the fairway below.

+27 39 976 0041

Umdoni Park Golf Club

Measuring only 5 560 metres from the tips, this course hosts several top KZN amateur events, but for many, the real draw is the panoramic sea views. Established by Sir Frank Reynolds and presented to the nation in 1920 to preserve the indigenous fauna and flora, Umdoni Park boasts an 18-hole course set within a 200-hectare coastal forest. The par-five 18th and par-three 16th holes are both elevated tees, which makes length judgment critical.

+27 39 975 1615

Umkomaas Golf Club

The course at this relaxed, family-focused club was first constructed as a nine-hole layout in 1913 but was expanded to 18 holes in 1926. Most holes offer great sea views. Although not overly long, the course can be challenging for low handicappers, especially when the coastal winds blow.

+27 39 973 1042

San Lameer Country Club

In February, San Lameer played host to the SA Women’s Masters, the second largest event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. This 18-hole championship course is situated within a nature conservancy with some 195 bird species to see and wildlife that includes impala, reedbuck, bushbuck and duiker – all part of the experience. Designed by Peter Matkovich and Dale Hayes, the course is set around one of the last remaining wetland forests on the South Coast, avoiding areas of sensitive vegetation. Harry Mandy, who plays the South Coast courses each year with a group of golfers from the Midlands, says, “It’s not an easy course – there’s a bit too much water for me! It’s a spectacular setting and great for the better golfers in our group.” Accommodation is offered in the four-star San Lameer Hotel or in self-catering villas – there’s a spa, MTB trail and access to two lovely beaches.

+27 39 313 5141

Harding Country Club

Situated 45 kilometres inland from Port Shepstone, this course offers a rural getaway for casual and experienced golfers, who will be stretched by its six water hazards. Although it’s a nine-hole course, you can play 18 holes thanks to two tee-boxes provided at each hole.

+27 39 433 1738

 Port Shepstone Country Club

Situated alongside the Umbango River, this splendid par-72, 18-hole course has recently undergone major renovations. In 1928, the president of the tennis club asked Syd Brews to design its first incarnation as a nine-hole golf course. The greens were originally sand, and club members, local farmers and labourers ploughed, harrowed and levelled the land, planting fairways and greens. Today, the course regularly hosts championship events.

+27 39 695 0141

Margate Country Club

With an elevated course and great inland views, plus dams, waterfalls and water features, this testy 18-holer in one of the South Coast’s main towns features five picturesque par threes with a signature 11th which requires an accurate tee-shot over a ravine. The ninth and 18th holes are both par five and sure to challenge any golfer.

+27 39 312 0571

Port Edward Country Club

The water hazards and sea breezes combine to make this a demanding nine-hole golfing experience. It’s often difficult to reach par, but having an ocean view from every tee box certainly makes it worthwhile trying. Duplicate tees make it possible to play a full 18 holes.

+27 39 311 2589

Selborne Park Golf Estate

Set in the sleepy seaside town of Pennington, Selborne offers a rather gracious golfing experience – an 18-hole, par-72 course with manicured fairways set around one of only two privately-owned coastal forests in South Africa. Designed by Denis Barker, one of the original proprietors of the Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa, the course opened for play in May 1987. It’s a challenging course, with an excellent driving range and Africa’s biggest putting green. Golfers can stay at the four-star hotel or self-cater at serviced villas that surround the course on the 80-hectare eco-estate. Guests also get access to Selborne’s private beach club and swimming pool just metres from the breakers.

+27 87 135 0559

Southbroom Golf Club

Established in 1938, this is a classic, scenic course, set alongside the Frederika Nature Reserve and the Indian Ocean. Resident golf director and PGA pro Derek James describes it as “a fun course”, and Southbroom was indeed rated top contender for South Africa’s Most Fun Courses by Golf Digest back in 2012. “It’s a shortish course in beautiful surroundings, in very good condition. There are waterways and natural bush that attract birds and wildlife, so accuracy off the tee is important.” James is proud of what he describes as “one of the most talked-about signature holes in SA”: the fourth, which is a short par three that looks down to the shoreline. Recent improvements doubled the size of the green on the par-five ninth, which now sweeps towards a large water hazard.

The club’s bar and kitchen also had an upgrade, and the patio has a new glassed-in section offering views of the course and out to sea.

+27 39 316 6051

Wild Coast Sun Country Club

Although technically just south of the KZN-Eastern Cape border, this beauty is just a few minutes from the South Coast town of Port Edward. Glimpsing at the score card will give the impression of a walk in the park, and, at just 5 329 metres with six par threes, the course may sound like a pushover. In reality, the Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed course is among South Africa’s most testing, if very user-friendly. Arranged between the Umtamvuna and Mzamba rivers in one of the country’s most absorbing, rugged and raw regions, this is a thrilling course that takes you through a dramatic landscape of ravines and hills, rivers and dams. One look at the untamed cliffs dropping away into the Indian Ocean will make you understand why this is called the Wild Coast, where tumultuous seas have destroyed countless ships. One hole, dauntingly nicknamed “Green Mamba”, involves a waterfall and a funicular ride and is considered reason enough to make the trip to this southernmost end of the Golf Coast.

+27 39 305 2799

Image: ©Shutterstock - 457331305
Image: ©Shutterstock - 457331305

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