Week 1 – Fancourt
As always, great to be back in South Africa and particularly the Fancourt resort. There can be few places on earth to relax and play golf in such a beautiful environment. Those (most of the group) who had been several times before agreed it is back to its old standards, which for unknown reasons, had certainly slipped a few years ago. Others, visiting for the first time, were simply very happy!
A little light coaching on the superb practice area, three rounds over each of the two lovely courses and Fancourt is very near to golfing Heaven. The Outeniqua course is akin to playing in a very large back garden, beautifully manicured, full of color and surrounded by totally unobtrusive Cape Dutch style houses; resort golf at its best, and a good test in its own right. However, SA’s no.6 course the Montague, is the tougher of the two and with several holes of no bale out area demands good course management and shot making combined with a steady nerve!
Day 1 over the Montague saw a team win for Arnold, Patrick, Ann & Jean on 76 points and Day 2’s 4BBB again over the Montague resulted in a win for Neil & Ann 35, Paul O & Jean runners up one point behind. Paul W, Ken & Patrick 80 pts were runaway winners for our first round on the Outeniqua before a return to the Montigue where Liz, Jean, Paul O & Neil mustered a fine 79. We concluded the first week competition at the
Outeniqua where 32 from Arnold was good enough to win from Kenneth, Liz & Neil All tied on 30.
A short flight for some and a day’s drive for others for the two centre leg of the tour in Cape Town and Erinvale. From the Lagoon Beach Hotel we enjoyed glorious views across the bay to iconic Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town where we commenced with a city tour and dinner on the vibrant Waterfront area.
Our first round of golf was at most people’s favorite course in the area, Clovelly, and the four ball better ball was an emphatic victory for Neil and Arnold on 44 points! The second round was played over Milnerton Links, a true links with the iconic view of Table Mountain constantly in the background and in day’s gone by a South African Open venue. Vanessa, Paul and myself won the team event by way of a better back nine.
It was on to Erinvale Estate hotel the following day and another SA Open and World Cup venue. Paul, Liz and Kenneth had a runaway victory with 78 pts before we checked in to the very pleasant and fully refurbished hotel. Thatched Dutch style buildings, a pub and restaurant, plus a second fine dining restaurant, all set in lovely mature grounds made for a lovely location. A day away from the fairways driving through the wine lands, wine tasting, a walk through Franschoek, included the inevitable shopping for the ladies was followed by an excellent, longish lunch, at the Rickety Bridge Winery, washed down by their own very pleasant Merlot; and that induced another shopping spree!
Back to Erinvale GC for our individual stableford where Arnold’s 33pts proved to be a winning score for the second week running, while Val beat Paul on the back 9 to be runner up and leading lady on 31. In fact the scoring although not high, was close throughout the group and it was the large greens that turned out the real winner!
Our final round of this second leg of the tour was at De Zalze, Stellenbosch, one of the newer courses and one of my favourites. A lovely eclectic mix of holes and considering the very serious drought conditions in fine condition as always. We followed this day’s golf with dinner at the ever popular Wjnhuis restaurant in the heart of Stellenbosch, as always a very satisfactory conclusion to the Winelands tour.
WEEK 3 Pezula
A smooth transfer to Knysna and the Garden Route for those staying on and we welcomed some new additions to the tour at the lovely Conrad Pezula Resort, where, it is fair to say, the accommodation is out of the very top drawer.
Those that know the area all love Plettenburg Bay GC and following our first round here our traditional dinner at the Lookout Restaurant was a great success. Our low key competitions began at Knysna GC the following day with a 4BBB and 44pts from Kim & Arnold was 3 clear of second place Jean & David P. The Nicklaus signature course of Simola with its stunning views is always much looked forward to and it, nor the weather, didn’t disappoint again this year. Arnold, Reg and Maureen’s 76pts, a clear winning score.
Following a rest day from the fairways to relax at the beautiful Conrad Pezula Resort, we returned to Plettenburg for the penultimate round of the week. Being the only course we were playing twice it was the obvious location for an individual stableford. A good test at anytime, but with the wind up, Baboons an additional hazard (actually they totally ignore us) the course won hands down as Kenneth’s leading 29 points stood testament to!
Unfortunately, our final round looked doomed to be a rather wet affair and in the end only 8 brave soles commenced play. However, they were rewarded by the weather giving us a break and it in fact turned out to be a rather pleasant day. Kim, James, David P and myself producing the better team score of the two.
Three of our later booking guests moved on to Fancourt following play as the Conrad had put up the Full sign for the Saturday night, while the remaining 11 enjoyed dinner before in the hotels excellent restaurant before joining them the following day for the final leg of 2018 SA Tour.
WEEK 4 Fancourt
A final 6 nights in Fancourt proved every bit as enjoyable as the first week of the tour.
Half the party had stayed on for the full duration of the tour, while the others experienced SA’s no.1 golf resort for the first time, again echoing the words of those that know it and thoroughly enjoying the experience. We had several different agendas and different departure dates, therefore the golf was played on a more casual basis, albeit there were a few keenly contested matches! Roll on 2019, as always, I’m missing SA already!!
Hope to see you soon.