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Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Promotion -

wo-thirds of the cour­ses in the Eastern Cape are ru­ral 9-hol­ers, and sev­eral of them are worth mak­ing a de­tour to play. Graaff-Reinet in the Ka­roo was ranked among South Africa’s 10 best 9-hole cour­ses in Golf Di­gest’s 2013 rank­ings, and it is a gem of a course, next to the Sun­days River. Graaf­fReinet it­self is the fourth old­est set­tler town in South Africa, 230 years old, and was once an in­de­pen­dent colony. The golf club was founded in 1897, but this is a rel­a­tively new course, opened in 1994.

Golf in this coun­try had its roots firmly in the Eastern Cape. Such was the pop­u­lar­ity of the game here among the stock of Bri­tish set­tlers that 15 clubs were founded in the 1890s. Coun­try town golf clubs are gen­er­ally strug­gling to­day with a lack of mem­bers and money, and sev­eral have closed in the Eastern Cape. Con­di­tion­ing is not what it used to be, but no­table 9-hole cour­ses in­clude Fyn­bos, Hankey and Zwarten­bosch in the west, Cradock, Som­er­set East, Bed­ford and Stut­ter­heim in the hin­ter­land, and Kei Mouth at the start of the Wild Coast. Port Elizabeth has two 9-hol­ers in Walmer Golf Club, now part of an es­tate, and Shark River, while Gonu­bie in East Lon­don has proved to be a pop­u­lar club. One of the re­motest cour­ses is at Barkly East near the Le­sotho moun­tains.

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