Courses: Three 18 holes – The Montagu, The Outeniqua, The Links.
Length: Montagu: Men 6714 m Ladies 4947 m
Outeniqua: Men 6312 m Ladies 4954 m
The Links: Men 6930 m Ladies 5205 m
Visitors: Private resort – open to guests staying at the hotel.
General Manager of Golf: Lloyd Martindale
Practice Facilities: TaylorMade Golf Academy, warm-up area, chipping and putting greens.
Hire Facilities: Clubs, caddies and drive carts
Catering: There are two clubhouses, both with full catering and bar facilities.
Location: Montagu Street, Blanco, George
Contact: Sonja Martindale
Postal Address: P.O.Box 2266, Blanco, George 6530
Phone: 044 804 0000
Fax: 044 804 0700
A SETTING FIT FOR A PRESIDENT
In November 2003, Fancourt hosted the most remarkable and exciting golfing event ever held in Africa. This was the Presidents Cup, the biennial challenge between the best golfers from the USA versus the best of the Rest of the World Team (excluding players eligible for the Ryder Cup).
A worldwide television audience, estimated at over 400 million viewers was to marvel not only at the challenge offered by the immaculate and truly challenging Links course, but also to savour the surrounding beauty of the area and the quite magnificent facilities of the Fancourt.
The two teams ending in a draw punctuated the drama of the challenge, following extra holes being played by Tiger Woods against Ernie Els, before darkness precluded any further play.
A glittering closing ceremony attended by the players, team Captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, was enhanced by President Thabo Mbeki whose memorable speech captured the essence of this event: quality competition, international camaraderie, all under an African sun.
The owners and visionaries of Fancourt, Dr Hasso and Sabine Plattner, must surely have been proud of their organisation in showcasing their quite superb resort. A resort that has received many international accolades, at the pinnacle of which was Fancourt being voted the World’s Best Golf Resort, by the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
This is not surprising as, apart from the choice of three immaculate golf challenges in quite magnificent gentle scenic beauty, the resort has an abundance of world-class facilities. A hotel, several restaurants, conference facilities, spa, a golf academy and a variety of recreational options are available to both hotel guests and the permanent residents on this 600-hectare estate.
Gould’s Special Note:
I have to declare my personal passion for this resort as I was previously employed at Fancourt several times, (in between becoming an impoverished writer and publisher) this earning me the nickname Polyfiller! I have a particular fondness for the personnel who have truly helped to make this one of the world’s finest golf destinations. A special mention also for the spa, as apart from the relaxation in the Roman bath, a modern gym, steam room and sauna, the tepidarium, flotation pool and hydrotherapy rooms are all excellent facilities to enjoy ‘off-course’.
Fancourt is also very family friendly with a supervised Kids Club, mini cinema, indoor kid’s heated pool and teen lounge.
Though the course was voted the number one golf course in South Africa in 2000, The Plattner’s commitment to continuous improvement led them to commission David McLay Kidd, Scotland’s highly regarded golf course architect, to upgrade the already world renowned Gary Player design. Today the course is more challenging with many of the holes having been lengthened and new green complexes introduced. The essence of the original nevertheless remains. A quite beautifully manicured experience, in majestic surroundings.
Set in the same surroundings as its better-known counterparts, the Links and the Montagu courses, the Outeniqua has developed its own personality to rival the others. Excellent water features and creeks interspersed with uphill and downhill challenges and excellent bunkering (recently renovated) are all augmented in the charm and challenge by the colourful flora to be seen throughout the course.
Dr Plattner’s vision to build an inland links-style challenge to test the best in the world was conceived on a former airport site. Gary Player’s masterpiece required 750 000 cubic tons of earth movements and the resulting aura, created by hand-planted grasses on sandy mounds, is that of a pure links, despite the inland location. Ten hectares of wetlands were introduced and only the imposing backdrop of the Outeniqua Mountains (and the climate) result in the golfers realising they are not on one of Ireland or Scotland’s finest challenges.
Gould’s Special note:
Dr Plattner’s continuing passion to make this one of the world’s most challenging and highly rated golf courses continues, as in 2009 a major upgrade programme was implemented. Today’s visitors will find smoother, faster greens, bunkers more visibly and aesthetically positioned, and the attention to detail on the overall playability and standard of maintenance that make this one of my favourite golfing experiences. I learnt my golf on links courses and this is as good as it gets.
Today’s Fancourt is set on over 600 hectares and it is home to many permanent residents, as well as semi-permanent visitors, garnered from both the local and overseas markets. There are several location and architectural options to choose from, but all have one theme in common: total quality in sensational surroundings.
From Cape Town take the N2 heading for George. Take the George airport off-ramp, turn left and pass the airport to the stop. Cross straight on and follow the road. Fancourt will be on the right. From the airport to Fancourt is 7 km.
GPS COORDINATES: 22” 24” 23.22” E 33” 57” 4.40” S