Nestled in the foothills of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the setting for the Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course could not be more dramatic. The course is located in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Mountains, a couple of hours drive north of Durban. It makes an ideal stop over for anyone wanting to play golf in KwaZulu Natal and also visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields. This is one of our most popular golf holidays in South Africa.
Nestled within a spectacular leisure resort, is the magnificent clubhouse, which overlooks a hidden golfing masterpiece. The Champagne Sports Resort championship course has been rated as SA’s most beautiful golf course by Golf Digest Magazine. The views across the mountain range are spectacular, as is the golf course itself.
There is a well stocked Pro Shop, restaurant and your green fee includes motorised golf carts, which you will quickly see are necessary on this very hilly course. The halfway house offers a selection of light meals and drinks which can be enjoyed either in the indoor dining area or on the deck with its magnificent vistas.
The par 72 course has some very dramatic holes, with significant changes in elevation, none more so than the downhill 2nd hole which plummets down to a green flanked by the fast-moving Sterkspruit River. Pick your line carefully and watch as your chip bounces it way down to the putting surface below. Get it wrong, and watch it disappear into the water. The course then turns back uphill to the 3rd, across the river, to a short par 4 green just 324m away.
The signature hole must surely go to the first hole. At 605m off the tips from an elevated tee box, the hole is one of the longest in the country. The good news is that the altitude, hard ground and drop in elevation make your ball travel further, the bad news is that you must negotiate a ravine to find the fairway.
There are a number of blind tee shots to contend with, and even with the GPS display, it is a tricky course to play for the first time. Any irritations will soon be forgiven as you enjoy the majestic mountain scenery. 84 bunkers add to the treachery of the course, making accuracy the most important aspect of your round.
The back nine has a number of stunning holes with the Drakensberg mountains as a back drop. The par four 10th is 265m but is played back over the Sterkspruit river, making it a great risk-and-reward hole, that offers a strong birdie opportunity.
The holes that will stick in your memory long after you have finished the round are the 15th and 16th. The par-five 15th is long at 464m and going for the green in two is treacherous, as it is protected by a lake diagonally across its entrance. It plays straight towards the mountain with a sloping fairway that is hard to find, especially in the winter months when the ground is rock hard. A small well-placed pot bunker in the lay-up area adds to your woes.
The final hole is a 371m par 4 back over the river with a water hazard short of the green. It sums up the course perfectly: accuracy is a premium and if you miss the fairway or the green, you are in trouble as the river runs alongside it. It’s a fitting finish to this enchanting course and a well-deserved stroke two.
No golf course would be complete without a 19th-Hole, and the award winning clubhouse bar at Champagne Sports Resort offers superb views. The large, fully stocked bar offers golfers the perfect spot to compare score cards and on a chilly evening the large fireplace adds a warm glow to the cosy atmosphere.
ReviewsIn our opinion: This is a busy resort with time share accommodation and conference facilities. The restaurants can be busy and have a cafeteria feel, especially if you are there during school holidays. However, the golf course is spectacular and worth visiting as a day trip.
Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course Information
- 18 holes
- Par 72
- Type: Mountain Golf Course
- Mens Gold Length: 6694m
- Mens White Length: 6203m
- Mens Blue Length: 5632m
- Ladies Burgundy Length: 4757m
- Pro Shop
- Golf Carts
- Driving Range
- Putting Green
- Chipping Area
- Halfway House
- Locker Rooms
- Accommodation on site (4* Hotel)