Check out our escorted golf tours across Japan including all the best golf and cultural venues, taking in Mount Fuji, Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima plus more!!
Check out our superb new addition to our Jamaica programme with the new inclusion of the exquisite Round Hill Hotel & Villas, near Montego Bay, with golf on the exceptional Tryall Golf Course.
Coming very soon the Island of Barbados and the wonderful Sandy Lane Hotel, arguably the best golf and beach property in the world.
If you have never played much golf in Scotland why not try one of our exclusive multi centre itineraries, great tours including Aberdeenshire and the Highlands with venues like Castle Stuart, Cruden Bay, Nairn and the awesome Royal Dornoch. Or try the Best of the West with venues like Machrihanish, The Machrie, Ardfin and Turnberry!
Book the ultimate 3 centre golfing itinerary to The Far East including a short stay in Singapore, a week at The Sanchaya Resort on Bintan Island, in Indonesia and a week at the sensational Datai Resort on Langkawi Island in Malaysia
Book now to the Ritz-Carlton, Abama for late summer to take advantage of unlimited golf offers – September is a wonderful month – the best month for sunshine in the entire year and still low season golf and hotel prices.

Welcome to Island Golf Holidays Top 20 South African Golf Courses

With the success of our top 20 golf courses worldwide on island venues, we now have pleasure in introducing our exclusive top 20 golf courses in South Africa which will soon be enhanced also by our top 20 hotels and resorts across South Africa, with a guide of where to play at each venue listed.

This exercise will open up some great ideas on building your own multi centre golfing itinerary with us to this breath-taking continent and taking in all the best South Africa has to offer.

The highlights are interesting with the Resort at Fancourt, South Africa’s most famous golfing address having all of its 3 golf courses in the top 20 which is in itself remarkable, the City of Johannesburg has 2 golf courses included and both Port Elizabeth and Durban having 3 golf courses included, with the scintillating courses at Sun City (the Gary Player) and Leopard Creek in the Bush getting very high ratings. Yes the majority of our top 20 are on the Cape from Pearl Valley at the furthest west right across to St Francis Links well east of George on the way to Port Elizabeth.

Everyone who has enjoyed a golfing holiday to South Africa in the past will know the Cape well, but there will be some golf courses in our top 20 which you may well have missed, such as Pearl Valley, Erinvale and George Golf Courses, but equally you will be tempted to try Jo’Burg, Sun City, Durban and Port Elizabeth as part of a wider itinerary in the future.

South Africa inbound travel are expecting to open up to visitors again in the month of September 2020, so the 2020-2021 season looks like it will be saved this coming winter.

Don’t forget the time to visit South Africa is November to March, with the months of February and March being incredibly busy and requiring very early reservations. The temperatures are much higher in the Jo’Burg and Durban regions throughout the year. The Cape and Garden Route can be chilly in the May – September periods but the prices are much less and the wildlife is even better.

Whatever your budget, or needs we can tailor make the very best golfing and wildlife experiences possible with our knowledge and partnership with our local experts Ascot Golf Tours, who are the best in the business.

If you would like a ZOOM session to discuss a future trip please click on the following link and we will set it up for you, for as long as 1 hour if necessary and look out for our top 20 hotels and resorts coming very soon also!

Best wishes

David Sledmere
Managing Director
Island Golf Holidays

NO 20: Royal Cape Golf Club, Cape Town

Royal Cape Golf Club Cape Town

Built to high USGA standards and having hosted the South African Open and the SA Amateur Championships multiple times, the Royal Cape Golf Club is a true championship course that tests for amateurs and professionals alike. Emanating a rich history and tradition, South Africa’s oldest golf club offers a beautiful setting views of Table Mountain from most holes that will make your visit truly memorable.

The narrow fairways demand extreme accuracy off the tee, wayward shots can be heavily penalized amongst the trees and the greens are well bunkered. There is also plenty of water on the course, especially at the corner of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and also the 14th, 15th and 16th. The most difficult holes are the par-4 3rd and the par-4 14th. The second nine offers quite a challenge for the average golfer: two challenging par 3s and a very magnificent par 4! The locals do not call it their own ‘Amen’ corner for nothing!

There is good practice range near the clubhouse as well as three practice nets

NO 19: De Zalze Golf Club, Stellenbosch

Having hosted both the Eisenhower Trophy and the Espirito Santo Trophy in October 2006, the De Zalze Golf Club, set on the 300-hectare greater Kliene Zalze Estate, is laid out in the midst of working vineyards and orchards backed by the spectacular Stellenbosch Mountain range. Located in the heart of the famous winelands of Stellenbosch, findly known as ‘Little Europe’, the superb holes are set on rolling and undulating terrain, meandering between grape on the vine, fruit on the tree and an array of great water features.

Renowned golf course architect, Peter Matkovich, has lent his name to the course, making most of the stunning setting while placing a premium on accuracy. The course has excellent Kikuyu fairways and large Bent Grass greens, all with the Matkovich trademark of finely manicured aprons. De Zalze offers a fine mix of parkland holes, its main defences being the water features on several of the holes. The oak-lined Blaauwklippen River winds its way through the golf estate and comes into play at various intervals.

NO 18: Pinnacle Point Golf Course, Mossel Bay

The Pinnacle Point Golf Course, co-designed by renowned golf architect Peter Matkovich and British Open champion Darren Clarke, stretches along four kilometres of spectacular coastline and boasts dramatic cliff-side holes as well as a virgin beachfront. Awe inspiring views are a given with the stunning ocean visible from every hole on what has been aptly called as South Africa’s response to the hallowed Pebble Beach.

The emerald green fairways and tees offer a perfect surface for making shots and the bent grass greens will ensure a challenging and entertaining game. The seven holes perched precariously along the cliff edge not only intimidate but also seduce the golfer with both their challenges and their beauty, and are justifiably some of the world’s most photographed holes. Most golfers immediately associate Pinnacle Point when relating to golf along the famous Garden Route, making it a must play when in the area.

NO 17: Outeniqua Golf Course at Fancourt, George

A majestic 18-hole parkland layout at Fancourt, designed by the legendary Grand Slam golfer Gary Player, the Outeniqua is quite similar to the Montagu and offers challenging design and fine conditioning to ensure an excellent test for all levels of golfers. With play being restricted to hotel residents, members and their guests, the course rarely seems crowded and you can enjoy a peaceful and comfortable round of golf at your pace. Although set in the same surroundings as its better known counterparts, the Outeniqua has developed an individual personality rivalling the others.

As with all courses at Fancourt, there are a variety of tees from which to choose to play, ensuring that golfers are unlikely to ever feel overpowered by the course. Excellent water features and creeks interspersed with uphill and downhill challenges and excellent bunkering (recently renovated) are all augmented in the charm and challenge by the colourful flora to be seen throughout the course.

NO 16: Zimbali Country Club, Ballito, Durban

The Zimbali Golf Course was designed by Tom Weiskopf – his first in Africa – where he has incorporated natural features such as indigenous trees, vegetation and some beautiful wetland areas, whilst still managing to challenge players of all handicaps. A truly spectacular golf estate which offers up sweeping panoramas of the surrounding, ocean, hills and forest, Zimbali Country Club, opened in 1996 and has firmly cemented itself as one of the area’s favourites. Located just outside of Ballito on KwaZulu-Natal’s Dolphin Coast, Zimbali occupies some of the finest estate in the country.

With wonderful accolades and praise coming from the likes of Compleat Golfer and Golf Digest, it is little wonder why so many enjoy a round at Zimbali, and when all has been said and done out on course – the clubhouse is an absolute joy to retreat into. The facilities on offer are world class and have been decorated in a Classical African theme.

NO 15: Erinvale Golf Club, Somerset West

The Erinvale golf course, designed by the legendary Gary Player, is conveniently located on the borders of Somerset West and only half an hour from the vibrant Cape Town. Having hosted the 1996 World Cup of Golf and the second oldest tournament in the world, the prestigious SAA Open in 2003 and 2004, Erinvale is no stranger to worldwide media coverage.

Built on a narrow stretch of land which escalates sharply uphill, Erinvale is an estate course with two distinctly different nines. The front nine is flat, winding its way through the park-like terrain estate which calls for challenging approach shots to the long narrow putting surfaces, while the back nine meanders through the foothills of the magnificent Helderberg, with breathtaking views of the False Bay coastline from the top holes. The signature par-four 17th hole requires golfers to play downhill from an elevated tee, with tall pines flanking one side of the fairway, and an out-of-bounds fence the other.

NO 14: Simola Golf Course, Knysna

The Simola Golf Estate on the hills above picturesque Knysna is a breathtaking experience that combines achingly beautiful views of the enchanting forests, town, lagoon and Indian Ocean that lay out before it. The Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, which was officially opened by the ‘Golden Bear’ himself in September 2005, is only one of 5 Nicklaus signature courses in South Africa, and definitely the most scenic.

The course offers challenging and satisfying golf along with some exceptionally spectacular scenery. Every hole boasts exceptional views. The high ridges keep away the wind that often plays spoilsport on coastal courses. The immaculate Kikuyu Fairways flow with the natural undulating contours of the terrain. The excellent Bent Grass, smaller than expected of a modern course, in typical Nicklaus fashion, are strategically designed to challenge the golfer to choose the right approach to them to maximise scoring chances. All in all, be prepared for a rewarding morning of play: both visually as well as in terms of the game.

NO 13: Pezula Championship Course, Knysna

Designed by David Dale and Ronald Fream, the Pezula Championship Course is spectacularly situated atop the famous Knysna Heads, and this high vantage point allows for majestic panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna lagoon and the Outeniqua Mountain Range. Knysna, a Garden Route gem, is known for its enchanting beauty and the Pezula Championship Course is right at its epicentre.

The landscape remains scenic and unspoiled and the quality of the fairways and the greens adds to the pleasure of playing on this course which has moods as varied as the hilly and rugged terrain it stands on. There are three signature holes, the 13th through 15th and they are all on the cliff that overlooks the Indian Ocean. The 5 different tee options cater to all golfing levels and the course, that is difficult to navigate on foot, provides golf carts. The downhill holes, matched with classic sweeping fairways winding through forested areas, make for an unforgettable round of golf.

NO 12: Pearl Valley Golf Course, Franschhoek

Located between the magnificent Simonsberg and Drakenstein Mountain Ranges, it shares its borders with two of the most well-known and picturesque winemaking towns in the Cape – Paarl and Franschhoek. From the vineyards and orchards that border the course to the mighty Berg River flowing through it to the mountainous backdrops of every hole, playing here is an experience that cannot be adequately described in words.

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has used his abundant store of knowledge and experience in the game to develop the most visually spectacular golf course in the country. The design of the Pearl Valley Golf Course has received praises galore for its magnificent rich, deep, green all-season fairways and the clever use of dazzling water features, which often protect the splendid large and subtle bent grass greens. The bunkers, in true Nicklaus fashion, are shallow, long and relatively undaunting.

NO 11: George Golf Club, George

Beautifully manicured and set in the heart of the scenic Garden Route, the George Golf Course has the majestic Outeniqua Mountains serving as the backdrop and offers breathtaking landscapes of the mountain and surrounding plateau. Being among the oldest clubs in the country, it is a course much respected for its playability, and is often fondly referred to as “the Old Course.” The fairways and greens are diligently kept in top notch condition year round and that itself speaks volumes about the passion with which the grounds are kept pristine.

For a course that feels as if it has been carved out of a forest, the fairways have a surprisingly generous width. The signature par 3 17th hole has always been revered as one of the best par 3′s in the world. It’s a long par 3 that leaves you no room for error and is therefore rated as the second most difficult hole on the back nine. This hole also finds pride of place among the top 500 in the world, and is the best par 3 in South Africa.

NO 10: Arabella Golf Club, Hermanus

Ranked as the 4th best course in South Africa and #1 in Western Cape, the Arabella parklands course hugs the Bot River lagoon with spectacular views across the Kogelberg mountain range. Designed by the acclaimed Peter Matkovich, this spectacular layout opened in 1999. Home to the annual Nelson Mandela Invitational Tournament since 2003, a Gary Player charity initiative, it has hosted Jack Nicklaus, Samuel L Jackson, Ronan Keating and several other celebrities. Arabella’s well-balanced, flowing layout perfectly complements its tricky sand traps, clever water hazards, kikuyu fairways and dominant bent greens.

The signature 8th hole is one of the most beautiful par-5’s ever, while the snaking Par-4 18th on the estuary’s shoreline was recently voted as the best finishing hole in South Africa. And then there’s the ‘Turn’- consisting of holes 3, 4 and 5 which like Augusta’s Amen Corner, are considered the most challenging on the course. The best part- a par gross score on the Turn wins a complimentary round of golf!

NO 9: Glendower Golf Club, Johannesburg

Set in the lush residential area of Edenvale, Johannesburg, Glendower Golf Club takes pride in being one of the best in Gauteng. Glendower recently hosted Paul McGinley (Ryder Cup Captain) in the SA Open Championship in 2013 and in his words, “It’s one of the best I’ve ever played, very visual, really well bunkered and extremely well set up. We don’t get to play on many traditional courses anymore and I was delighted. I could see this as a real potential venue for a U.S. Open if it was in America.” Praise doesn’t come higher than that!

Established in 1939, the club has gone on to host many spectacular & historical golfing events. The attention to detail is impeccable, and this is evident in the presentation of the fairways, greens and club facilities. Glendower is a beautiful, challenging course, and every passionate golfer should play at least one round here. The Par 72 boasts over sixty bunkers, water hazards on 11 out of 18 holes, exceptional practise facilities and a very trendy clubhouse.

NO 8: Montagu Golf Course at Fancourt, George

Voted the number one golf course in South Africa in 2000, the Montagu Golf Course at Fancourt is named after the mountain pass of the same name, and is part of the original 27-hole design at Fancourt by the legendary Gary Player in the early 90s. This classic tree-lined parklands layout underwent a major facelift in 2005 under renowned Scottish golf architect David McLay Kidd.

The upgrade saw two completely new holes – the 1st and the 9th., redefined bunkers and greens and introduction of several water features such as the dam. Celebrated for its immaculate, round the year conditioning, the Montagu GC is currently ranked at #6 in South Africa (Golf Digest, 2014). The signature hole is the Par-3 17th, reminiscent of the 12th hole at Augusta National – the permanent home of the US Masters.

NO 7: St Francis Links, St Francis Bay

The best Links course in the Eastern Cape and a regular member of the top ten golf clubs in South Africa, an honour only a handful of clubs share. Designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and occupying some of the most prestigious estate in the country, no expense was spared creating what is called “South Africa’s pure links.”

And while St Francis Links may not have been grazing land it suits the description to the tee, so to say. The course is hauntingly beautiful, surrounded indigenous shrub, outlying dunes and a host of wildlife with views that overlook the picturesque St Francis Village houses with their white walls and black thatched roofs.

NO 6: Royal Johannesburg & Kensington East Championship Course, Johannesburg

Situated northwest of Johannesburg’s bustling city centre lays one of the most prestigious golf clubs in South African history – The Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Course. At almost 130 years old, the club is one of the oldest in South Africa and received its royal prefix in 1931 when King George the Fifth visited South Africa. Two years after this famous visit the second of the clubs two legendary courses was born and is known, quite widely, as the East Course.

The East course has gone on to host no less than seven South African Opens and has played host to a large number of other important national and international events. Golfers Digest and The Complete Golfer both consistently rank The East Course in South Africa’s top ten golf courses and this is no easy accomplishment.

NO 5: The Gary Player Golf Course & Country Club, Sun City

One of South Africa ‘s most famous golf courses, the Gary Player Country Club is home to the prestigious Nedbank Golf Challenge. Here, every year in December, the “Million Dollar Challenge”, is hosted by Gary Player and is one of the world’s richest golf tournaments. Many of the game’s superstars have graced the fairways of this course.

Built in an extinct volcanic crater, this immaculate golfing paradise conforms to the stringent US PGA specifications and was recently named South Africa’s Best Golf Course in the World Golf Awards 2015. Stretching over more than 7000 metres, it definitely is one of the world’s longest golf courses. It has been cleverly designed with imaginatively placed bunkers and multiple tees to give both novice and skilled golfers a satisfying round. The kikuyu fairways and bent-grass greens offer a near-perfect playing surface.

NO 4: Humewood Golf Club, Port Elizabeth

Home to one of the world’s most challenging links courses, Humewood is ranked 11th among South Africa’s Top golf courses. Found in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the golf course is a genuine seaside links, with wide and undulating fairways, fast greens and thick coastal bush. Course designer Colonel SV Hotchkin, inspired by the the Muirfield Links in Scotland, broke away from the traditional 9 holes out and 9 holes back approach and built a course of two separate 9’s.

Each 9 returns to the Clubhouse in the middle of the course such that the holes run in different directions so that the golfer does not get to play a long sequence of holes, either downwind or into the wind. His design included 8 par 5’s on a par 76 layout. Humewood also boasts a variety of animal life with an abundance of plovers, otherwise known as “kiewietjies”, which is also the club’s emblem. Humewood has hosted the SA Amateur 10 times and the SA Open 5 times apart from being the venue of the Goodyear Classic, a major Sunshine Tour event, from 1984-1992.

NO 3: Leopard Creek Country Club, Malalane, Kruger Region

Internationally recognised as a world class golf course, Leopard Creek, designed by Gary Player, is located strategically on the border of the Kruger National Park near Malalane. The course typifies the essence of African golf at its best with indigenous bushveld bordering the pristine fairways and greens. The course has hosted many PGA professional tournaments including the well known South African Sunshine Tour.

Home to the annual Alfred Dunhill Golf Tournament, this wonderful layout has numerous animals strolling on the fairways. It’s common to hear a buffalo snort or see a giraffe near the fence on your drive, while the pitch shot might need a hit over a lake full of crocodiles and hippos. The clubhouse, filled with golfing memorabilia, is one of the best in all of Africa: an extraordinary piece of architecture with a thatch roof.

NO 2: Durban Country Club, Durban

You know you’re in for a golfing treat when your golf course gets featured on top 100 lists of the world’s finest golf layouts for many years. Add to this the distinction of possessing the greatest third hole in the world, and the Durban Country Club becomes deserving of every bit of fame and attention that has come its way. It comes as no surprise then that it has been the chosen venue for the SA Open Championships 14 times! The rare combination of scenic surrounds with a challenging course make the golfing experience at Durban Country Club uniquely memorable.

The course is extremely demanding and requires you to play well in order to score well. The renowned par 5 third hole has a truly magnificent aura, following a narrow and undulating valley to a challenging target. The first five holes provide a testing challenge, leaving very little margin for error on the narrow, bush-lined fairways. The elevated tees and steep slopes combine with the strong onshore winds blowing through the valley to make it a course that is often enjoyed but seldom mastered..

NO 1: The Links Golf Course at Fancourt, George

An inland-links style challenge to test the best in the world is how the Fancourt Links was visualised at its conception. Designed by the legendary Gary Player and considered to be his design masterpiece, the Links at Fancourt recreates the classic courses of Scotland and Ireland in a typically South African setting with the majestic Outeniqua mountains serving as a dramatic backdrop.

Conceived on a former airport site, the resulting aura is that of a pure links layout in spite of its inland location, with only the climate and the mountains serving as reminders that the golfer is not in the British Isles. Having hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup (which ended in a dramatic tie between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els with Nelson Mandela in attendance) and the 2005 SAA Open, playing at The Links is a very, very special experience.


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 by Steve on Island Golf Holidays

We have just returned from our luxury golf vacation to Dubai and Mauritius with Island Golf Holidays. This is the third ‘ big trip’ that...

 by Steve on Island Golf Holidays

We have just returned from our luxury golf vacation to Dubai and Mauritius with Island Golf Holidays. This is the third ‘ big trip’ that...

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