Length of Course: Men 6085 m Ladies 4735 m
Type of Course: Parkland Par: 72
Visitors: Always welcome – booking essential
Director of Golf: Carl Krog
Club Shop: Yes
Practice Facilities: Driving range, chipping and putting greens
Hire Facilities: Clubs, trolleys, drive carts
Catering: Bar, restaurants, conference and banqueting facilities, halfway house
Location: Wemmershoek Road (R301 between Paarl and Franschhoek)
General Manager: Gawie Marx
Postal Address: No. 1 Pearl Valley, Pearl Valley Golf Estate, Wemmershoek Road, Paarl 7646
Phone: 021 867 8000
Fax: 021 867 1111
WHERE LEGENDS ARE MADE
When Jack Nicklaus puts his signature to his golf course design, it sets a standard that immediately conjures images of quality, excellence, perfection and aesthetic beauty. This standard is experienced in the heart of the Pearl Valley Signature Golf Estate and Spa, situated between the famous Wineland towns of Paarl and Franschhoek.
The location alone sets a standard. Glorious Mountains, vines on the hillsides, natural fynbos and crystal clear flowing rivers, are the natural ingredients that make this a legendary part of South Africa.
The Nicklaus design of the Pearl Valley Golf Course has received accolades for its magnificent rich, deep, green all-season fairways, exceptional bunkering and the clever use of dazzling water features, which often protect the splendid large and subtle bent grass greens.
The estate has, in its own right, set its standards to mirror those created by Nicklaus. Here, large interlinked water and elevated golf frontage locations create uncluttered tranquil lifestyle environments, maximising the scenic benefits of the area.
It is evident that aesthetics have been considered in earnest to ensure a blend with nature in the slate-roofed residential homes and the quite magnificent Family Lifestyle Centre, that serves as not only the clubhouse, but also as the social heart of the estate.
The course was officially opened in November 2003 by golfing Legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who produced a magical display of exhibition golf for those lucky to attend this very special day. Pearl Valley, not surprisingly, was named ‘Best New Course of the Year’ by Golf Digest magazine in 2005 and by the same magazine in 2010, it is ranked as the ‘5th Best Course in South Africa’. To complement the quite exceptional ‘all-season grass’ fairways are excellent year-round quality (and fast) greens protected regularly by cleverly placed bunkering and sparkling water features. The attention to detail throughout the estate is mirrored on the golf course and this has been recognised in the award as the ‘2nd Best Manicured Course’ in South Africa. Added to these ingredients are the magical mountain surrounds, which make for scenic backgrounds on nearly all of the holes.
The 4th hole is a classic par 5 with the testing challenge being a creek needing to be crossed three times – you have been warned! Here are two other great holes.
13th Hole – Par 3 – Men 190 m Ladies 100 m
This visually splendid par 3 has all the hallmarks of a modern classic challenge. Water has to be carried and avoided on the right of the target and on the left a bunker awaits. A high grassy mound backing the green adds to the definition, while the mountain backdrop punctuates the overall aesthetics. There is a bail out shot, which is short and left, but precision will still be required to complete a challenging test.
14th Hole – Par 5 – Men 458 m Ladies 371 m
This hole truly captures the essence of the estate and the course. The initial impact is made by water fronting the tee and a stately solitary tree that stands in the middle of a very wide fairway. The fairway turns gently to the right bypassing a vast bunker complex right and smaller sand challenges left. Well to the left of this fairway, the permanent housing with a mix of thatch and slate roofs highlight the elegance this estate offers to the residents.
SA Open at Pearl Valley
In a first for the world’s second oldest championship, the SA Open was held at Pearl Valley for three years in a row. To understand the standards presented to the players is a quote from 2007 US Masters Champion Trevor Immelman ‘The course is in incredible condition, it really is. That’s the way I expected the course to be, to a high standard, as they have always turned out a fantastic course for the members day-in-day-out. I really feel these fairways are some of the best, if not the best I’ve ever played on.’
The 2007 champion was popular South African journeyman, 42-year-old James Kingston. In 2008, Richard Sterne, one of the many young talented South Africans aiming for legendary status took the trophy and, in 2009, in a play-off, Richie Ramsay from Scotland beat Shiv Kapur of India after both had carded 275.
This estate was voted the ‘Best Golf Estate’ in South Africa, by Golf Digest magazine and without doubt both the permanent residents and occasional visitors will endorse this. The estate does not have a hotel component, but instead offers luxurious, individually furnished and fully equipped self-catering lodges to let. All have air-conditioning and come standard with all bedrooms en suite. Each lodge has a fireplace and private patio with an outside braai. Other facilities inside this highly secure and peaceful environment are a gym, spa, a wonderful pool and an equestrian centre. A riverside boma has a special charm. While all of these ingredients make it difficult to look for further off-course choices you should remember that Franschhoek is nearby and this is the gourmet capital of South Africa in the heart of the winelands. Fine dining and wining are to be experienced, with innumerable choices located in some of the Cape’s most scenic locations.
Gould’s Special Note:
I particularly like the introduction of a micro-mini golf course near the clubhouse aimed at introducing the younger residents to the game. This is where future legends will be made!
From Cape Town take the N1 north and take Exit 59 Wellington/Jan van Riebeeck Drive. At the stop turn right into Wemmershoek Road (R301) follow the road for 7 km and the entrance to the club is on the right.