Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

There ere are seven this year, in­clud­ing three cour­ses which have never pre­vi­ously been in the rank­ings. The Club at Steyn City de­buts at No 25, and the qual­ity of this big and bold Nick­laus De­sign lay­out is un­der­lined by its sand­wich­ing in the rank­ings be­tween four Gaut­eng heavy­weights, the CCJ Wood­mead and Rand­park Firethorn above it, and Kyalami and Royal J&K West be­low it.

Steyn City’s weak­ness com­pared to the other four is that it is a cart course, and while many golfers to­day love rid­ing carts, golf es­sen­tially is a game where you are meant to walk. So ev­ery course should of­fer both op­tions. You prob­a­bly can walk Steyn City, but the ef­fort of do­ing so might de­tract from the golf ex­pe­ri­ence.

Steyn City is now one of 10 cour­ses in our Top 100 which ex­ceed 7 000 me­tres in length off the back tees. That is five more than there are in the United States Top 200! Steyn City is a lay­out where power off the tee is a de­cided ad­van­tage, as at Blair Atholl, not that far away as the crow flies.

If you are un­able to drive the ball 240-250 me­tres on most holes you are in trou­ble be­cause the ap­proach shots be­come that more dif­fi­cult. And this ap­plies to the club tees, at 6 636 me­tres, not the back mark­ers! You can go to the for­ward tees (5 973), but then that pos­si­bly be­comes too short.

Nonethe­less, Steyn City is an im­pres­sive course to both look at and play – the tee shot on No 1 across the Jukskei River is awe­some – and the greens are su­perb and fair. It grows on you. As the thou­sands of trees ma­ture, it will only look bet­ter.

Bosch Hoek de­buts at No 89, and its pres­ence will en­rich the KZN Mid­lands as a golf des­ti­na­tion, along­side Cham­pagne Sports Re­sort, up in the rank­ings, Vic­to­ria CC and Gowrie Farm. Each venue pro­vides on-site ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Dur­banville is the new Western Cape en­trant, at No 97. Once the ugly duck­ling of Cape Town cour­ses, it has knocked out Ron­de­bosch. Dur­banville mer­its its in­clu­sion on de­ci­sive man­age­ment and com­mit­tee work over the last decade which has seen it ac­com­plish many goals to im­prove the qual­ity and pre­sen­ta­tion of a 1960s Ken Elkin de­sign. It’s a club where ex­pen­di­ture is fo­cused on the golf course, not the club­house.

They built a driv­ing range – which now at­tracts many young golfers – planted 750 trees, re­fur­bished green­side bunkers, lev­elled tees, and South­ern Turf Man­age­ment gave them a tal­ented green­keeper in Wy­nand Fer­reira (now at Els Club Cop­per­leaf) who ac­cord­ing to a com­mit­tee mem­ber “trans­formed the course.”

Dur­banville is a club which doesn’t sit still, plans ahead, and is a bustling com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity where so­cial mem­ber­ship is thriv­ing. Sit­u­ated in the fast-grow­ing North­ern Sub­urbs, in terms of rounds it is one of the most pop­u­lar cour­ses to play in the Western Cape, and ex­cel­lent con­di­tion­ing plays a big role in that.

Re­turn­ing to the Top 100 after an ab­sence of eight years is the Lim­popo es­tate course of Koro

Creek, at No 96. It is one of the re­gion’s most at­trac­tive res­i­den­tial es­tates, and the nu­mer­ous flaws of the in­ter­est­ing DDV De­sign bushveld lay­out have been largely cor­rected by GM David Rid­dle, a PGA pro who was in­volved in the de­sign of Leg­end up the road. Im­proved con­di­tion­ing also helped.

Im­me­di­ate bounce-backs came from Cen­tu­rion (at No 83),

Sel­borne (No 94) and Royal Port Al­fred (No 98), which were omit­ted from the 2016 rank­ings. Port Al­fred will be de­lighted with news that the Fish River Sun re­sort is to re­open, with the Man­tis Col­lec­tion se­cur­ing a one-year care­taker con­tract. Fish River closed in Novem­ber, and is no longer in the Top 100.

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