Par – 73 (club tees)
Rating – 73
Length – 6477m
The Links at Fancourt was officially opened in November 2000, after Gary Player’s design team had spent months studying the classic links courses of Scotland and Ireland, before embarking on transforming what was originally an abandoned airport. The Links is a private club, but limited tee times are available for guests staying in the hotel at Fancourt, which is arguably South Africa’s premier golf resort.
The Links at Fancourt is something rather unique, in a country with very few true links golf courses and a predominance of parkland layouts. It’s also, arguably, one of the most difficult courses in South Africa, with both professionals and amateurs suffering at the hands of a layout that is rated 73 from the club tees and 75 from the championship tees. The Links is definitely suited to the better player, but higher handicaps will still enjoy the experience, as there are a number of different tee boxes on each hole to compensate for the difficulty of some of the carries from tee to fairway. The experience of playing a golf course that Gary Player has repeatedly made note of as his best design to date, is also an extra special experience for anyone, irrespective of handicap, provided your expectation is not to produce your lowest round ever! This may not seem apparent when you set off on the first, which can play fairly short, depending on the tee position and wind direction. But, despite a big mound to clear, it’s fairly straightforward, possibly lulling one into a false sense of security. Thereafter, The Links is a challenge, starting with the par-3 second, which presents one with a significant drop from tee to green, and a bit of a dilemma, in terms of club selection. There are many more memorable holes, obstacles and difficult greens, with perhaps the 17th one of the standout holes, before one heads for home with the uphill par-5 18th – a good finishing hole. The par-3 17th plays 175 metres and is called ‘Prayer’, and for good reason. That’s because the burn in front and to the left of the green presents the golfer with a rather intimidating tee shot. The green is an L-shape and approximately 40 metres deep. The back part of the green is the narrow area of the green. A shot to the right will either find a bunker or a low, from where a testing recovery shot awaits. Conservative play to the centre of the green will often reward the patient golfer.
The signature hole is the par-4 15th, which plays 422 metres and is called ‘Roon the Bend’. It’s one of the few doglegs on the course, playing from right to left. The left side of the dogleg features a wetland from tee to green. Generally playing downwind, the golfer is tempted to carry a portion of the wetland to make the hole shorter. An aggressive tee shot sets up a much shorter and easier second shot to a peninsular-type green, featuring a wetland around it.
Hotel Guests – $160
Caddie – $20
Cart Hire – $30
Club Hire – $35
Fancourt is situated approximately seven kilometres from George Airport. Turn left out of George Airport on the R404. At the stop street, continue straight on the R404 through farmlands until you arrive at Fancourt, which will be on your right.
Address: Fancourt, 1 Montagu Street, Blanco
Tel: +27 44 804 0844