World-class golf, sports and entertainment facilities await you in the North West Province of South Africa, amidst the peace, quiet and wide-open spaces symbolic of the province. Golf courses include the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, home to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Lost City Country Club, Pecanwood Golf and Country Club and Leopard Park Golf Course in Mahikeng.
And, the North West now offers now offers organised tours that include the best golf, wildlife and culture experience available in Africa
The Gary Player Country Club at the famed Sun City Resort obtained the first layout to conform to USGA specifications when it was built in 1979. Best known as the home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, most golfers, including Compleat Golfer magazine, rank this course as the best in South Africa.
It is acknowledged as a difficult and demanding course, requiring stamina and accuracy from players. The comparatively flat nature of the golf course is misleading – water hazards, cunningly sited bunkers and pins hidden away on kidney shaped greens makes up for the lack of gradient.
Off the back markers the course measures over 7 000 metres which makes it one of the longest in the world. But a variety of tees make it possible to shorten the course and render playable for all levels of golfers. A distinguishing feature of the course is its green’s complexes, with strategically placed bunkers, swales and mounds that protect the super slick clover shaped greens. With pristine perfect kikuyu fairways and excellent bent grass greens the course is kept in perfect condition all year round.
A feature hole? They are all good at the Gary Player Country Club, but for risk and reward the stand-out is the 9th. Play this par-5 from the forward tees and then have a go for the island green with your second and thrill to the challenge of this superb test of golf.
The Sun City Resort is also home to the Lost City Country Club, very different to the Gary Player Country Club’s layout but no less alluring. This course was built in 1992, and was the first to benefit from the services of a professional shaper when it was constructed.
Golfers are astounded by the breathtaking beauty of the par-72 Lost City Golf Course. The rich green fairways give a dramatic contrast to the bushveld backdrop and the barren waste bunkers – a special feature of this intriguing course. The desert style design of the golf course has an exotic allure of its own. Designer Gary Player has acknowledged it as one of his favourite courses.
The Lost City Golf Course is flexible: playing off the forward tee a course length of 5 953 metres, extending to 6 983 metres off the back tee. The course provides spectacular views.
The most hazardous area of the Lost City Golf Course is the 13th hole. Inhabiting the water hazard are 38 crocodiles, some of them nearly two metres long. Golfers are discouraged from retrieving their wayward balls from the croc infested pool. The unusual water hazard is just one of the features that make the Lost City Golf Course exciting and interesting to play. No effort was spared to make the course a masterpiece.
Playing the back nine is like going on a golf safari. It has often been noted that the game is more exciting when played downhill and this is certainly the case here. In addition to the previously mentioned 13th, holes eleven, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen are all played from elevated tees offering thrill, excitement and challenge to the golfer. And some of the most spectacular African views to be had on a golf course.
As Africa’s first ever Jack Nicklaus Signature course, Pecanwood holds a proud place in the continent’s golf collection. The estate, nestled on the southern banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam and surrounded by the beautiful Magaliesberg Mountains, has established itself as one of South Africa’s premier golf destinations. (Rated number 10 by Golf Digest)
Pecanwood is a mere 40 minute drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria and 60 minutes from the famous Sun City Resort. It is also conveniently close to the Waterberg region with its many game reserves.
The layout of this course is first class. It is tough and challenging in itself and you will have to contend with the wind that usually picks up from the Dam in the afternoon. This is a course designed to test your skills to the full, and maybe far too tough for the weekend part-timer.
The Pecanwood Golf Course is long and exceptionally flat. The Crenshaw bent greens, a first in South Africa, are fast and true. The wide kikuyu grassed fairways make for forgiving scores, if you don’t reach one of the vast amount of bunkers – a characteristic of any Jack Nicklaus design. Water hazards come into play on 9 of the 18 holes, sided by large indigenous trees.
The signature thirteenth is particularly interesting and beautiful. You play around the lake to a green that juts out onto water surrounded by shrubs, bunkers and water.
Situated in Mahikeng, the capital of North West Province, this skilfully constructed course is like an oasis in the desert with water coming into play at eight of the 18 holes.
The course has flat, narrow kikuyu fairways, true bent grass greens, many grass bunkers and water hazards, and an island green at the 18th.
Visitors are welcome every day. Facilities include a Pro-Shop, club hire, cart hire and driving range.
Designed by: Peter Matkovich and Dale Hayes
Type: Parklands golf course
Grass: Kikuyu on fairways, bent grass on greens
Length: Championship – 6720m, Club – 6362m