Explore East London's golfing gems
Spectacular ocean-facing parklands, challenging, wind-swept links and beguiling hidden treasures ideal for the weekend warrior – whatever your golfing skill or preference, the city boasts an impressive collection of tee-to-green gems that will both challenge and delight.
East London Golf Club
The undisputed jewel in East London’s golfing crown, and a spectacular asset to the city as a whole, the East London Golf Course is a must-play for even the most casual fans of the game. A luxurious feast for the senses, this unique championship course will charm you with spectacular sea views, then attempt bring you to your knees at the slightest whiff of an errant shot. A six-time host of the prestigious SA Open and home to the exciting Africa Open, East London is regularly ranked one of the top courses in South Africa by Golf Digest magazine, and it’s easy to see why even the most fickle of players love its deal risk-reward offering. Featuring a unique natural layout, meandering through coastal dunes and indigenous bush overlooking the Indian Ocean, this course offers a tough but enjoyable challenge for players of ever skill level. But be warned – you should definitely endeavour to bring our A game. Louis Oosthuizen, two-time winner of the Africa Open, considers the East London Golf Course a true ‘risk and reward’ course. “It’s the kind of golf course that really challenges your game when the wind is up, but it also offers great opportunities for low scoring when you can keep it in play,” he says.
Signature holes: The long, blind-off-the-tee par-four 9th demands tactical play, especially on the approach, and rewards boldness and accuracy. “The secret to getting away with a half-decent score on this hole is a very strategic second shot,” advises East London teaching pro Marius Schutte. “The length can be intimidating, but don’t try to bomb it off the fairway, rather hit to your favourite distance, and remember, the green slopes from back to front.”
West Bank Golf Club
One of only a handful of courses in South Africa that boasts spectacular sea views from most of the tees and greens, this 4100m layout puts a premier on accuracy and rewards a solid short game. Hugging a spectacular slice of Indian Ocean coastline, weather plays a big role, which ensures the course always has something interesting up its sleeve. Like all the best links courses in the world, West Bank rewards patience and calls for solid course management and creative thinking if you want to romp home with a respectable score. Visit West Bank for a round of golf that’s guaranteed to get you thinking!
Gonubie Golf Club
Like most of Buffalo City’s golfing attractions, the Gonubie Golf Course offers a charming challenge with a deceptive bite, especially when the wind kicks up. This alluring 9-hole, 18-tee parkland course has been sculptured out of the surrounding indigenous coastal brush to provide a delightful country feel, but be sure to bring you A-game. The 140-metre, par 3 8th/17th is the most dramatic hole, with an amplified and elevated tee overlooking a dense thicket hugging the green. A beautiful, challenging course that rewards solid balls striking and an eye for improvisation!
King William's Town Golf Club
With five lakes and numerous water hazards, dunking a tee or approach shot is a distinct possibility on this picturesque 6 389m course. But be sure to also practice your bunker play, as no fewer than seven of the 18 holes are bunkered, making for a fun, risk-reward outing guaranteed to challenge even the most conservative player. Known for its exceptional par 3s, King William’s Town Golf Course will forever hold special significance for Ernie Els as it was here where the future Major winner bagged his very first professional title, winning the 1991 Amatola Sun Classic as a 12-year-old. Can you follow in Ernie’s footsteps by taming the fairways and steering clear of the hazards? The King William’s Town course awaits your challenge.