10 top places to play golf in Cape Town and surrounds

24 Julie 2017

Splendid natural surrounds, cool ocean breezes and rolling hills make for the perfect setting for a good game of golf. So it’s little wonder that Cape Town and the breathtaking regions that flank it are home to some of the finest places to putt, drive, pitch and chip in the whole of South Africa.

Many of the fairways and greens that dot the Mother City hold championship status and are both technically challenging and visually captivating, making them sought-after places to play for both local amateur linksmen and expert international golfers. To help you pinpoint their whereabouts, we’ve gathered together a guide to some of the top 9-hole and 18-hole golf courses and clubs in Cape Town, from affordable practice grounds and pristine coastal stretches to Winelands-based landscaping masterpieces.


Devonvale Golf & Wine Estate
Hugged by towering mountains and verdant vineyards, Devonvale Golf & Wine Estate’s par-72, 18-hole course is a fine choice for anyone eager to tee off amidst the beauty and tranquillity of the scenic Stellenbosch Winelands. The curving golfer’s paradise holds championship status, having hosted a number of significant national and provincial tournaments, including the SA Ladies Open and the Sunshine Tour (it’s regularly base to kiddies’ competitions too).  So, players can expect their golfing abilities to be subject to a true test here. Those in need of a little practice can take a few swings at the estate’s 200-m driving range, knock a few balls at the chipping and putting greens or elicit the help of Devonvale’s PGA pro, Anna Becker. Plus, sportsmen and -women all tired out from a good game can stop for a rest at the course’s halfway house after the front nine, indulge in a delicious French-inspired meal at the on-site Chez Shiraz restaurant after a whole round or even make a whole night of it and stay over at the estate’s elegant four-star lodge (visitors resting their heads here can enjoy reduced golfing prices).

Bottelary Road | Koelenhof | Stellenbosch | +27(0)21 888 4735

The River Club
Home to one of the few 9-hole, par-27 mashie courses in Cape Town, The River Club is the perfect place for both seasoned and beginner golfers to hone their short game skills on well-maintained fairways at very affordable rates (visitors pay less than R100 to play the course). The venue is also renowned as a world-class practising facility thanks to a top-class double-storey driving range (it’s sheltered and well lit, so ideal for poor weather and evening play too), putting greens, a chipping zone and a bunker practice area. Not to mention, visitors can call on the services of the Southern African Golf Institute, an esteemed training academy based at The River Club, and benefit from the expert knowledge of a number of PGA-qualified coaches. There is also a special kiddies area where visitors can drop off their little ones while they hit some balls. And if guests have worked up an appetite while swinging and chipping, they can sit down for a scrumptious meal at the club’s on-site restaurant, Slug & Lettuce.

Liesbeek Parkway | Observatory | Cape Town | +27(0)21 448 6117

De Zalze Golf Club
Sitting pretty on Stellenbosch’s picturesque De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate, this prestigious 18-hole, par-72 course, which was designed by eminent golfing architect Peter Matkovich, is ranked as one of the top four in the Western Cape by Golf Digest magazine and has played host to esteemed international competitions. The lush parkland fairways are lined with olive groves, lavender bushes, lofty trees and regiments of vineyards, and players can look forward to a rather demanding mix of both long and short par-3, -4 and -5 holes. While a natural winding river and a series of water features present challenges along most of the course, De Zalze’s signature hole 13 is likely the most trying: the tee box is located in the middle of a dam (reachable by a boardwalk), making the shot a rather tricky one. For those who want to warm up before a round, there’s a driving range and putting greens (these are only open to golfers playing a full game), and for those eager to cool down afterwards, there’s the option of wine tasting just next door at Kleine Zalze winery or dining like a king at the farm’s renowned Terroir restaurant. What’s more guests visiting the area from afar/ for a golfing vacation/ can also opt to stay but a hop and skip away from the course at the four-star Kleine Zalze Lodge, which offers special play rates to overnighters.

De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate | R44 | Stellenbosch | +27(0)21 880 7300

Royal Cape Golf Club
Established over 100 years ago and billed as the first golf club in South Africa, this Wynberg-based putters’ paradise strives to create a playing environment that is enjoyable and memorable for golfing enthusiasts of all skill levels. The challenging par-72 course offers up spectacular mountain views and boasts narrow, tree-lined fairways, well-manicured greens and a series of pretty ponds and sandy bunkers to really test driving ability. What’s more, a relentless wind keeps things rather interesting for players. A gifted PGA professional is on hand to offer golfers guided lessons and advice on how to better that back swing, and budding ball whizzes can also improve their skills at the on-site driving range (for members and those playing a full game on the day), practice net and putting, chipping and pitching greens. Plus, visitors who arrive sans the required equipment can hire out golf clubs from the venue or purchase odds and ends from Royal Cape’s shop, which stocks everything from balls and gloves to shoes and apparel.

174 Ottery Road | Wynberg | Cape Town | +27(0)21 761 6551

Steenberg Golf Club
This pristine Peter Matkovich-conceived course is located a short drive from Cape Town’s city centre, but in surrounds so scenic and rich with wildlife, it provides a complete natural escape. Resting amidst five-star restaurants, a spa and working winery on Steenberg Golf Estate, the 18-hole artwork has been expertly designed to accommodate for the strong summer South Easter and to cater to the whole spectrum of golfers, from novices to professionals (there are a wide variety of differently positioned tee boxes at each hole). While every green presents different challenges, the course’s signature 7th and 14th holes offer players a chance to chip and putt in a setting unlike that seen anywhere else. More specifically, the short and tricky hole 7 claims an island green completely surrounded by a bunker and water, and the breathtaking, mountain-enclosed hole 14 boasts the longest single green in the Southern Hemisphere (63 metres). Golfers also get to benefit from a world-class locker room, an elegant bar, a two-tier driving range and a dining area; though, visitors can expect to pay quite a pretty penny to play on this course – it’s certainly one of the pricier options in South Africa.

Steenberg Golf Estate | 11111 Tokai Road | Tokai | Cape Town | +27(0)21 715 0227

Arabella Country Estate Golf Course
Owing to its striking natural beauty, pristine greens and the world-class golfing experience it affords, this 18-hole masterpiece in Kleinmond (roughly an hour and 20 minutes from Cape Town) is billed as the fourth best course in South Africa (2012) and regularly attracts both celebrities and professional players. Embraced by the Kogelberg mountains and flanking the Bot River Lagoon, the stretch of landscaping genius boasts a good mix of challenging holes (the 18th is considered one of the finest finishing holes in Mzansi), and any golfer that makes gross par on holes 3, 4 and 5 gets to enjoy a complimentary round in the future. The venue also claims a driving range, chipping and putting greens and offers up golf carts and clubs for hire. Anyone keen on playing here should note that green fees are rather expensive, especially for non-members, and that while it’s generally quite calm in the mornings, the wind does tend to pick up in the late afternoon.

Arabella Country Estate | R44 | Kleinmond | +27(0)28 284 0105

King David Golf Club
Founded back in 1956 as part of a country club and lauded for its open-door, non-discriminatory policy, this championship parkland golf course, which has undergone a few upgrades over the years, is, to this day, still rated as having one of the finest layouts in the country. The rolling, 6142-m stretch of fairways and greens lays claims to a good variety of par 3, 4 and 5 holes that all boast their own unique set-up and that make for a particularly demanding and rewarding golfing experience. In particular, it is the 12th hole that avid linksmen should look out for – famed pro Gary Player has previously claimed that it’s one of the finest par 3s he’s ever played. What’s more, the conveniently located club – it sits only 20 minutes from the city centre and five minutes from the Cape Town International Airport – is also base to a practise area, halfway house, restaurant and well-stocked pro shop, all of which are open to non-members too. Plus, visitors can even get their clubs customised at the store or opt to have their swing video analysed by a PGA professional. Green fees are fairly priced at King David, and the course does also run specials from time to time.

80 Palotti Road | Montana | Cape Town | +27(0)21 934 0365

Erinvale Golf Club
This premier Somerset West-based course, which was designed by acclaimed professional golfer Gary Player, is (unsurprisingly) considered one of the top 10 in the Western Cape, and, being located at the foot of the imposing Helderberg Mountain, boasts spectacular views of the winelands and ocean. Having hosted both the World Cup of Golf and the SAA Open, the estate has a pedigree that’s testament to its world-class standards and its ability to offer players a memorable and scenic golfing experience. Thanks to the towering mountains, the course is sheltered from the wind, and linksmen can look forward to driving on two rather distinct nines: the front nine is flat while the back nine, which creeps up the slopes of the Helderberg, is comparatively more hilly. Erinvale’s clubhouse and pro shop are open to anyone playing the course.

Lourensford Road | Erinvale Estate | Somerset West | +27 (0) 21 847 1906

Metropolitan Golf Club
Conveniently sprawled out right next to the V&A Waterfront and looming Cape Town Stadium, this well-maintained, coastal 9-hole course plays like it’s 18 holes, with 9 fairways, 14 greens and 18 tee boxes ensuring that players are kept challenged and interested even on their second round. Though there are a few water features (the final hole is shot right over a pond), the lush parkland course is ideal for amateurs as well as professionals and rather forgiving for those just starting out. Carts, pull trolleys and clubs are available for hire, and players can also call on the help of Metropolitan’s caddies. Not to mention, golfers can also rest at a halfway house or the clubhouse and bar. While the course is open to the public on most days, it’s closed to visitors on Saturdays and Thursday afternoons for member-only competitions.

Corner of Beach and Fritz Sonnenberg roads | Mouille Point | Cape Town | +27(0)21 430 6015/11

Atlantic Beach Golf Club
Fancy teeing off a stone’s throw away from crashing waves? As its name suggests, this championship links-style golf course stretches out over undulating dunes only 700m from the sparkling Atlantic Ocean in the coastal village of Melkbosstrand (roughly 30 minutes from Cape Town). The breeze that comes off the adjacent sea makes for interesting play (indeed, it could appear to be an entirely different course under different conditions), and requires golfers to adjust their tactics accordingly. So, players are always in for a rather exciting round at this 18-hole seaside sportsman’s utopia. What’s more, the stunning natural scenery also makes Atlantic Beach Golf Club an enjoyable place to putt: the greens flaunt picture-perfect views of Table Mountain’s silhouette, and because the club is so devoted to conservation, the fairways are lined and dotted with fragrant indigenous fynbos. In addition to great greens, the venue is also home to a pro shop, a driving range with practise bunkers, a golf academy where linksmen and -women can enjoy private and group lessons, and a leisure centre complete with a swimming pool and spa.

1 Fairway Drive | Melkbosstrand | Cape Town | +27(0)21 553 2223

Source: capetownmagazine.co.za