South Africa has always been on the talking list among golfers, not only because of the country’s scenic landscape, friendly hospitality and wide range of activity options but also because of the superior standard of greens and links golfers would find there.
To start with the new ElementZ’s Blog section called “Expert Talk”, we are honored by having invited PGA professional Malcolm Fourie to share his view on one of the most famous golf courses in South Africa.
The Links at Fancourt is must play and a rare opportunity to experience true “Links Golf” outside of the UK, set in re-established natural Fynbos, Gary Player’s masterpiece design is challenging as well as immaculately maintained with extreme attention to detail. Amazing birdlife and unobstructed views of the majestic Outeniqua mountains make for a wonderful experience.
- Why in your opinion is The Links at Fancourt consistently one of the top 2 courses in South Africa?
M: The Links is a timeless, unique and truly testing feat in golf course design which resembles Scotland’s finest links courses and is immaculately maintained with great attention to detail. Notwithstanding the fact that The Links is a truly championship standard golf course, enough width is offered to create a challenge that most golfers will experience as being achievable, rather than impossible. In the end, the golf course not only looks like a typical links style golf course, but also plays like one. To achieve this a lot of attention was given to selecting the correct grass varieties grown on tees, fairways, semi-roughs and greens. The out of play areas also feature typical coastal bush areas that were selected and propagated to complete the final detail. They only allow a small number of players per day and this keeps the golf course exclusive and well kept.
- What is the best feature about Fancourt Links?
M: The overall beauty of the exquisite layout, natural Fynbos flora and unobstructed views of Outeniqua mountains. The layout of the course and the 15-minute tee intervals also means that the golfer very seldom sees part of another hole/or player thus creating the feeling that he is on his own on the golf course. The fact that 700,000m³ had to be moved to transform what was originally an abandoned airport, into a dune land environment featuring a links-style golf course.
- Any tips on how to play the signature holes? what is your favourite hole?
M: Signature Hole would be Hole 15 (Roon the Bend) – One of the few doglegs on the course, playing right to left. The left side features a wetland from tee to green. Generally playing downwind the golfer is tempted at carrying a portion of the wetland to make the hole shorter. An aggressive tee shot sets up a much shorter approach to a peninsula type green featuring a wetland around it.
My Favourite Hole is Hole 14 (Wee Wrecker): This hole taunts the long hitter who can either reach the green or finish just short after a good tee shot. However, anything left or right will end up in the tall grass often resulting in a lost ball. The less confident golfer could take the more conservative option with an iron or fairway wood off the tee to a wider fairway with bunkers catching short, long, left or right tee shots. The small green is set in amphitheater of small dune like hills isolating golfers from the rest of the course.
About Expert: Malcolm Fourie
PGA Professional with a Sport Science degree in Golf. Previously managed a number of top SA courses including Serengeti Golf Club, St Francis Links and Zebula Country Club. Founded and currently Running African Fairways & Safaris.