Franschoek was our base for our golf tour in the Winelands this year, having stayed in Stellenbosch the previous two tours. What better way to recover from the travel than a gentle tour of the area taking in 3 quite different wine estates (and a light lunch in Stellenbosch), each with its own character and distinctive wines to taste. And so, come mid afternoon Sunday, we had well and truly settled into the Winelands way of life!
Erinvale, host of several South African Open Championships, was our first round of the week and the warm up team event was won by Kenneth and Quentin with a little help from myself. The return journey took us through Stellenbosch for a pre booked dinner at the Wijn Huis restaurant. Great food and a lovely wine tasting bar tucked away in the back from which you can sample wines and make a selection for dinner. Not to be missed when in the area, but make sure you book.
One of the newer courses and a favourite of mine, De Zalze, hosted our second round Yellow Ball event and for the second day running Quentin led in the winning team along with Patrick, Sarah and Barbara. I played here on our first tour in 2002 when it was first opened and gradually watched the estate grow and mature. It has been very tastefully developed with Cape Dutch design housing, well away from the course and vines planted between. The course itself subtly changes character, undulating without being hilly and as always the magnificent mountain backdrop of the Winelands.
Following a rest day from the fairways and a half day tour which included a visit to a rather special car museum, Thursday took us to The Nicklaus signature course of Pearl Valley and another South African Open venue. I think it fair to say it was generally accepted as the groups favourite. Vanessa and yours truly managed to scrape into the winners circle in the 4BBB by one point from Arnold and Barbara.
And so to the final day at Paarl GC where we combined an individual stableford with a team event. Kenneth headed the men, Sarah the ladies and Quentin made it a hat-trick of team wins. We headed for a wine estate on this, our last evening and enjoyed sundowners on the terrace watching a splendid sunset and enjoying a lovely dinner in an idyllic setting at Roca, overlooking the town of Franschoek and the mountains beyond.
By David Short
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