With all its beaches open and boasting the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the province, the KZN South Coast is #SummerReady! But there’s so much more to this subtropical haven, particularly for those who enjoy spending some quality time on the greens.
“The KZN South Coast is also known as ‘The Golf Coast’ for good reason!” commented Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “The region is home to 11 impressive courses which offer golfers of all handicaps a place to compete or unwind. Our courses also have welcoming country clubs with historic bars and restaurants where golfers can enjoy a round of drinks or a great meal, with many boasting world-class sea views.”
To entice visitors to this golfing paradise, the SCTIE has provided an overview of its ‘11 reasons to visit the KZN South Coast’ – in no particular order!
1. Umkomaas Golf Club (Umkomaas)
The oldest club in the region started with a 9-hole layout in 1913 and extended to 18 holes in 1926, before a complete redesign in 1932 by renowned course designer, Robert Grimsdell. Capitalising on the natural contours and fantastic sea views, Umkomaas offers golfers a challenging round – especially when the wind picks up. This user-friendly course is suited to mid-level golfers with a great clubhouse with braai facilities. Dubbed ‘The Friendliest Club’, families are welcome at Umkomaas which offers a KidzGolf Programme and regular weekly contests.
2. Scottburgh Golf Club (Scottburgh)
The undulating course of Scottburgh also boasts ocean views, and can also get a little trickier on those windy days. Comparatively short at 5 323m, Scottburgh boasts two par 5s and five spectacular par 3 holes, with the par 4 third hole the most talked about on the course! It has the narrowest of fairways with out-of-bounds on the right and a coastal forest on the left to contend with. This is a welcoming place to start any Golf Coast adventure.
3. Selborne Golf Course (Pennington)
Designed by Denis Barker, Selborne has been developed in one of the country’s premium residential golf estates, with the course challenges being the downfall of many a player during the Sunshine Tour! Water is a prominent feature on the majority of the holes; but the driving range – alongside Africa’s biggest putting green – is fantastic. Selborne has played host to many Pro-Ams and the South African Women’s Open, with great on-site facilities including a restaurant, world-class spa, accommodation and Barker’s Bar.
4. Umdoni Park Golf Club (Umdoni Pennington)
This is a real hidden treasure along The Golf Coast boasting ocean views from 70% of the 18-hole course and located within some 200 hectares of indigenous coastal forest. Measuring only 5 560-metres from the tees, it has proven a sufficiently testing course for several top KZN amateur events. Umdoni Park’s elevation changes make it an adventure of judgment and shot-making, with the par 5 18th and par 3 16th holes both elevated tees, making the length judgment critical. First built in 1920, the clubhouse has undergone recent renovations to welcome all guests.
5. Port Shepstone Country Club (Port Shepstone)
The first 9-holes of the course were laid out in 1912 with the upgraded design of the remaining nine done by Syd Brews in 1928. During the digging of this course, a fossilized elephant’s tooth was found which is still housed at the local museum! This championship-hosting course is located between the Indian Ocean and the Umzimkulu River. The front nine of the course is very open, which means sea breezes and big drives, while the back nine winds through thick indigenous bush along the river banks. As the area’s premier country club, Port Shepstone boasts a range of great facilities including bowling greens, a cricket field, tennis and squash courts.
6. Harding Country Club (Harding)
For something a bit different on The Golf Coast, drive 45 minutes inland from Port Shepstone to the quaint farming town of Harding. Located at the base of the Ingeli Mountain range in the Mzimkulwane River valley and surrounded by ancient indigenous forests, this is a course worth playing. Although it’s a 9-hole course, the double tee-boxes make for a pleasant 18-hole round of golf for casual and more experienced players alike. Harding is also famous for its 19th-hole hospitality where visitors can enjoy a bite to eat and enjoy a drink with some of the friendliest locals.
7. Margate Country Club (Margate)
This is one of the finest courses on The Golf Coast, found on the outskirts of Margate which is also known as The Fun Capital of the region! Margate Golf Course is a delight to play, year-round, with picturesque inland views and incredible water features to navigate, including the stunning ravine on the 11th hole. For those bird lovers, Margate’s course has an abundance of colourful inhabitants such as Manikins, Pygmy Kingfishers and African Harrier-Hawks. The clubhouse has great facilities including a snooker room, restaurants and the most welcoming 19th-hole bar in town.
8. Southbroom Golf Club (Southbroom)
For a memorable golfing adventure, head over to the beautiful coastal town of Southbroom where its 19-hole short course offers views of the ocean alongside the lush indigenous vegetation of the Frederika Nature Reserve. In fact, the 4th hole par three has been described as one of South Africa’s most beautiful by the legendary golfer, Gary Player. The neatly manicured course has had several upgrades over the years, with the par-5 9th hole sweeping towards the edge of a large water hazard almost hidden from view! Established in 1938, and host to the South African Women’s Open and many corporate events, the course provides a sufficiently challenging round, followed by a great stop in at the 19th hole.
9. San Lameer Golf Course (San Lameer Estate – Marina Beach)
Bird lovers will also do well to visit San Lameer, not only considered a world-class golf course, but home to some 195 different bird species (and wildlife). First established in 1973, it’s comparatively young by local standards but is no less popular for it! This testing course has well-manicured greens and water to navigate on 12 of the 18 holes! Golfers can expect a tight layout, narrow fairways, large bunkers and thick rough on this course designed by legends, Peter Matkovich and Dale Hayes. San Lameer has played host to the South Africa Women’s Open and Masters over the years, as well as the South African Men’s interprovincial tournament.
10. Port Edward Country Club (Port Edward)
The nine-hole course at Port Edward is a fantastic round, with undulating terrain and big coastal winds testing skill levels and fitness. There are double tees for those wanting a longer round, with the 19th hole a welcome place to meet locals and take in the views. Four of the holes have water hazards with sea views from almost every tee box. Par 3 is straight downhill to the 5th hole with spectacular views, but the wind can pick up making this seemingly easy shot much tougher! The development of the course over the years has been a community-led initiative, resulting in a hugely popular golf course that welcomes locals and visitors.
11. Wild Coast Sun Country Club (Wild Coast Sun)
Rated as one of the country’s top 10 golf courses consistently, the Wild Coast forms part of the South African PGA circuit with a par 70 card rating. This unique 18-hole course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, incorporates the natural topography and geography of the region with several natural elevation changes across gorges and waterfalls. This short course is ideal for mid- to high-level players and can get a bit trickier when the wind picks up. There’s always The Wild Coast Sun Beach Resort afterwards with great facilities and the Wild Waves Water Park.
The KZN South Coast is #SummerReady with great beaches, golf courses and activities on offer! Download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores; visit the ‘South Coast Tourism’ on Facebook or YouTube; @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram; ‘Info Ugu South Coast Tourism’ on LinkedIn; www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za to check out the Events Calendar, the KZN South Coast Meeting Planner Guide and more!