Royal Port Alfred
There are two alternate routes for motorists driving the 300 kilometres from Port Elizabeth to East London. The inland N2 takes you via Grahamstown, and the coastal R72 goes via Port Alfred, home to one of South Africa’s four Royal clubs. It’s the midway point of the journey. In a town that is home to many retirees, the Royal Port Alfred layout hasn’t changed much in the 100 years plus since it was built. Records are not exact, but the course was opened in 1907 and may be our oldest in existence. Older golf clubs generally moved sites, but not RPA.
The holes are staggered over undulating terrain, allowing magnificent ocean views, and having been built in an age of horse-drawn implements, they are decidedly quirky in places. No 10, the Whale’s Back, is an extraordinary par 4, climbing the side of a hill. It’s these unusual holes, and their descriptive names, which gives Royal Port Alfred so much charm River, with a modern marina, and there are several rivers to cross between here and East London.The Fish River is first, and soon afterwards is the Fish River Sun resort, home to a Gary Player course from the late 1980s. Once popular as a gaming venue, it has lost its sparkle since the casino went to PE.The course is frequently used for provincial and national tournaments, mainly because it is empty most of the time. Fish River is not one of Gary’s better designs. Right on the coast, it has not a single sea view. Unnecessarily long, boring holes make it the antithesis of what a resort course should be about.