Length of Course: Men 6066 m Ladies 4783 m
Type of Course: Links style
Visitors: Always welcome – bookings essential
Club Professional: Gavin Woodroffe
Club Shop: Yes
Practice Facilities: Driving range and putting greens
Hire Facilities: Clubs, drive carts
Catering: Bar, halfway house
Location: Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa
Contact: Gavin Woodroffe
Postal Address: P.O.Box 6530 George
Phone: 044 851 1234
Fax: 044 851 1235
Not so Easy to Play but easy to stay
I am particularly fond of this golf course and development, for many reasons.
Firstly, if you have noted the introduction at the front of this guide by Ernie Els, you will understand that we have a relationship that goes back some considerable years. So it is a pleasure to have seen his first Signature Golf Course in South Africa evolve over recent years, especially as I know he is proud to let all his international contacts know that he has built ‘his’ course in a spectacular location in his own back yard, as when in South Africa his home is on the doorstep of the estate.
Secondly, in 2009, the estate introduced another globally recognised brand when the Hyatt Regency opened its 100-bedroomed 5 star hotel. This brings internationally recognised standards to the Garden Route and added to the hotel’s considerable facilities are a delightful shopping village, ample recreational options such as tennis, squash, gymnasium, golf academy, driving range and a half Olympic sized lap pool. The hotel has drawn not only a new leisure market, but also increased the demand for convention and conference business to this wonderful part of South Africa.
Thirdly, I just love the course! The ‘Big Easy’ has created a big course that is far from easy, especially if the sea breezes are performing to their full potential around this high cliffside location. While the location is indeed special, it is a fact that from its high vantage point above the cliff sides, hills, river and valleys of the area, all providing constant visual pleasures, it is a golf course that requires focus.
The initial impression will be of large open fairways, superb directional and protective bunkers and the sense of large undulating greens. This impression is indeed correct, but be assured despite the seeming freedom off the tee due to the spacious landing areas, the clever flow of the design throughout the journey will make the golfer realise that there is a strategy to the design that requires intelligent positioning of each shot in order to achieve anywhere near the potential of one’s handicap.
This is because the fairways twist and turn, both uphill and downhill along the natural contours of a terrain that encompasses cliffside locations, forested valleys and high wide-open land. There is only a little water to contend with on the course but, where it does appear, it requires the golfer’s full attention, as do the green complexes, which can be penalising if not approached from the correct direction.
The golf course is at the heart of a highly successful real estate development, which offers an abundance of choice in moods and terrain to suit individual preferences. Obviously, due to the estate bordering the Indian Ocean, spectacular sea views are available from the erven on offer on the cliff side locales. Each individual area identified has a descriptive name. The ‘Ocean Vistas’, offer both golf course and ocean views, while the ‘Ocean Side’ properties have a truly strong relationship with the impressive and ever interesting Indian Ocean.
The ‘Aloe Hills’ neighbourhood is blessed with ocean, golf and mountain views and the permanent residents who have chosen to reside in the ‘Hill Top’ have panoramic views over all of these environments. The ‘Mountain View’ sector is self-explanatory and here the dramatic and moody backdrops of the Outeniqua Mountains are the predominant scenery.
The Gwaing River Valley, which borders the eastern side of the resort, provides a different atmosphere to the exposed high ground of the estate, and apart from the deep river valley, lush green natural woodlands are part of the experience.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of this development is ‘The Village at Oubaai’. This village concept, surrounded by a water body in the form of a moat, which allows for water frontage apartments, has truly captured the atmosphere of country and community living from days gone by. Pedestrian walkways, and daily markets, restaurants and shops are at the essence of a lifestyle that is both spacious and comfortable and that is proving to be in high demand from both local and overseas investors who are in need of secure lock-up-and-go options.
Another innovation is the provision of two clubhouses, one specifically for the members of the club and the other geared to the visiting golfers. The visitors can now make use of the five star hotel and without doubt this destination is now regarded both locally and internationally as another gem in the portfolio that has made the Garden Route one of the world’s best golf destinations. Indeed, in 2006, the Garden Route was voted ‘The best golf tourism destination in Africa and the Middle East’ by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
Gould’s special note: The South African Golf Hall of Fame is situated on this estate. A superb endeavour driven by Barry Cohen, whose unlimited passion for this project has so much merit. It is worth a visit as the quality of design and content is as good as it gets.
From Cape Town follow the N2 to George. Take the George Airport (R404) off-ramp. Turn right towards Herold’s Bay. Before Herold’s Oubaai signage indicates a left turn and the entrance to the resort is approximately 10 km off the R404.