If you like to tee off on the absolute best course possible whenever you head out for a day on the greens, you’ll know how tricky it can be to find a course that ticks all those must-have boxes.
This is especially true of picking a golf course in Stellenbosch, which is located in an area that has plenty of high-calibre golfing destinations within striking distance.
So, how do you go about choosing the absolute best course in Stellenbosch for your next game? Simple. You ask the pros.
Or, in this case, one pro in particular - Lana Orgovanyi. We caught up with her between training sessions with some of South Africa’s most promising professional golfers to ask how she goes about choosing a golf course when she’s keen on a game. Here are a few of her pro tips:
Decide how much time you have
According to Lana, South African golfers on average take 4.5 to 5 hours to play 18 holes. This can quickly take up a full morning and afternoon. Enter the mashie course - every golfer’s answer to being able to play often, without losing half their weekend in the process.
“A mashie course is a fantastic option for golfers who want to enjoy a great game, but don’t want to take too much time doing so. A course like this should not take longer than 2 hours to play. It is also easier for juniors and beginners, and is conducive to learning all the intricacies of the game regardless of its length,” explains Lana.
“Additionally, a mashie course of the calibre that is available at Hazendal outside of Stellenbosch is also highly beneficial for good golfers, who can use it to train their short game which is a vital element when it comes to holding your own in the competitive arena.”
Focus on your personal must-haves
The best way to narrow down your options when choosing a golf course in Stellenbosch is to focus on the aspects of the game you really enjoy. Lana, for instance, has a particular penchant for a course that is as beautiful as it is enjoyable or even challenging.
“The Hazendal golf course is a beautifully designed and manicured Par 3 short course. The greens are large and tricky with many undulations to increase the challenge for all levels of golfers,” she enthuses.
“The course is not very long, but demands accuracy with short irons, especially when the wind is up. There are very strategically placed greenside bunkers to trap the ball if wayward. The rough is also thick, challenging the short game skill of the player. Additionally, golfers have the privilege of teeing off well-manicured grass tee boxes on every hole.”
The course in question also features another one of Lana’s personal must-haves, namely bent-grass greens.
“Bentgrass greens are the smoothest greens to putt on. They are receptive to spin and are true when it comes to holding the line of a putt. What you see is what you get. In short, the greens are of great quality and smooth like a carpet.”
Make it fun for the whole family
The great thing about most luxury golf courses these days is that it offers a variety of leisure options for the whole family. If you have a spouse and some kids in tow when you plan to have a game, Lana recommends choosing a destination that caters to everyone’s whims.
“Hazendal is a great option for golfing families who all like to get a round in. The Kleine Hazen Putting Park has 27 holes, and there are three different skill levels for the three courses with 9 holes. The design considers skilled golfers, kids and families. For instance, there are obstacles placed on the kid-focused course with different rabbits strategically placed along the putts bringing in a friendly, fun element for younger players.
“There is also a wonderful picnic area under the trees at the Putting Park, where families, groups of friends or even corporates can enjoy a beautifully packed picnic from the Babushka Deli,” says Lana.
However, even if only one member of the family is keen to swing some irons, Hazendal is still a great choice. While the golfer tees off, there are wine tastings to enjoy, art to peruse, and endless kid-friendly fun to be had at the one of a kind edutainment centre Wonderdal.
Check if the course has a driving range
When the weather is a little wild, or you simply want to step away from the greens to focus on your short game, a driving range is just the ticket. It’s also a lovely option for non-golfers who want to have a fun day out, or less-stuffy team-building initiatives for corporate groups. Aptly called The Burrow, this state of the art driving range packs a punch.
“The Driving Range at Hazendal is suitable for all golfers, young and old, beginner to professional. The facility offers 32 hitting bays, 14 of which are under cover and private, while the remaining 18 are upstairs in the open air.
“There is also a 80m pitching area with two bunkers, two chipping greens and a large practice green. These short-game facilities are much needed in Cape Town and will benefit any golfer greatly. The practice greens also feature bentgrass to facilitate a consistent experience,” says Lana.
Treat yourself to some tech
These days, most sport types have been enhanced with the addition of innovative tech elements, and golf is certainly not exempt. Lana recommends looking out for courses that have embraced technology to bring the game into the 21st century.
“The Burrow Driving Range at Hazendal has InRange AI technology installed. Essentially, there are sensors placed in several positions on the driving range which track every single ball hit from every bay,” Lana explains.
If a player chooses to use the technology at The Burrow, they will be able to log in at their bay, play games, do skills tests, and attempt virtual golf courses. According to Lana, InRange will benefit top players who use it to practice by means of skills tests and distance tracking. It also adds a new dimension to training.
“As for the general golfer, it will make practice fun and will also help them to develop accuracy and skills due to the games played. New or non-golfers can hire clubs and play games with friends in the entertainment bays. This is ideal for groups of up to four people to play games among one another, much like you would in a bowling alley,” she explains.
Crib notes for the skim readers
Hey, there speed readers! Here is your handy list of crib notes. According to golf pro Lana Orgovanyi, the best way to narrow down your options when choosing a golf course in Stellenbosch is to consider how much time you have available, and to know what you really love in a course.
Additionally, you should try to make it a fun day out for your whole crew. Also, check to see if there is a good driving range and some innovative tech in the mix.
You can find all this (and more) at Hazendal. Read more about our brand-new golf course here. We hope to welcome you soon!