7 COUR­SES YOU SHOULD GET TO PLAY

OUBAAI – GAR­DEN ROUTE

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

This was the first Ernie Els de­sign in South Africa, and it has a spe­cial place in the heart of the Big Easy, as the golf course is a short drive from Herold’s Bay on the Gar­den Route coast, where he and his fam­ily have had homes for many years.

On a broad ta­ble of coastal land high above the In­dian Ocean, res­i­dents on the golf es­tate ei­ther en­joy spec­tac­u­lar sea views, or in­land ones to­wards the Outeni­qua moun­tains, and golfers get a bit of both over 18 holes on an out-and­back lay­out which is rel­a­tively unique in South Africa. You turn for home at the far end of the course, the tenth tee be­ing close to the Oubaai Ho­tel, Spa and Life­style Cen­tre. The club­house, where you be­gin and end a round, over­looks the 18th hole and the ocean.

Els pre­sented a links-style de­sign at Oubaai, which is most no­table on the open­ing holes through low dunes. The greens gen­er­ally blend into the ter­rain, and run­ning shots can be played into most of them. The course, ranked No 31 in Golf Di­gest’s Top 100, is known for the su­perb qual­ity of its greens, and also its many chal­lenges on windy days. It has al­ready hosted big tour­na­ments, am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional, and in Oc­to­ber will be the venue for the SA Mid-Am­a­teur In­ter­provin­cial.

Oubaai re­cently opened an 18-hole Par 3 course within the main course, with one set of tees po­si­tioned close to the greens, and this idea has be­come pop­u­lar at sev­eral other cour­ses in the re­gion. Be­ing pri­mar­ily a cart course since its open­ing early in the mil­len­nium (al­though walk­ing is al­lowed on quiet days), play­ing the Par 3 lay­out can be fun and quick, and is an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive for new­com­ers to the game. Mem­o­rable hole: The sixth is a lengthy par 3 played across the edge of a bushy ravine to the green. Gen­eral man­ager: Rob ThÖle.

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