7 COURSES YOU SHOULD GET TO PLAY
OUBAAI – GARDEN ROUTE
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.