Sunday, April 15, 2012

Play Golf in Somerset west │Golf Courses in Somerset West

Golf Accommodation and courses in Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Strand and surrounds

When it comes to enjoying a golfing holiday in the Western Cape, the opportunities are endless, as I have found out during this past year and Somerset West and the surrounds offer some of the most wonderful golf courses to play on.
Mooring House - 10 ensuite self catering rooms
Having owned and managed our Guest House (MOORING HOUSE) in Somerset West for the past 11 years we fondly welcome our regular visitors year after year and enjoy many social days and evenings in the company of both regular and new guests - making the guest house, very much a warm and family orientated establishment.

Gardens at Mooring House

A day or two prior to the end of their SA holiday, one of our regular UK golfing guests, invited us to join them at the local driving range for a cup of coffee. (This was end March 2011)  Whilst innocently sitting there, enjoying our coffee, the couple ask my wife and myself to join them in hitting a few balls and the next thing we knew we both had a club in our hands and before we new it we wre on the range TRYING to hit a few balls. Within these 15 minutes the bug had bitten and we were back at the range then next day ... and the next ... and the next although I must admit that it took us a good few weeks before we stopped referring to the club as a STICK.

The Gruva at the Vodacom Driving Range
As the days, weeks and months went by, my wife and myself made time for an hour or 2 at the driving range virtually everyday, practising or having lessons with our couch - Dawie van Wyk.

My wife and daughter at the Driving Range



It took my wife and myself at least 6 or 7 months before we plucked up the courage to actually get onto a proper golf course and thanks to our golfing neighbour who eventually dragged us off to the SOMERSET WEST GOLF COURSE for our first 9 holes.

4th Fairway at Somerset West
Somerset West offers a nice 18 hole golf course literally only minutes from Mooring House Guest Lodge and it has become our little course to pop down and quickly play a morning game of 9 holes so that we are back in time when the children come home from school. It is completely flat so it makes for an easy walking course. Although there are dams on the golf course, these water features do not really come into play except for one on the back nine. We have unfortuantely found the course to be exceptionally dry during the months mid Jan to March and we stopped playing there during these months.  I do believe the U15 SA stroke play champioships are being held here this year from 27 APril 2012 to 01 May 2012 so if anyone is still needing accommodation for the golf championships held in Somerset West please contact myself  via our website or view the golfing page on our website


A course which needs no introduction is of course - ERINVALE.  

The well maintained Erinvale golf course is also only about a 7 minute drive from Mooring House Guest Lodge Expensive to play, but the views on the back 9 are well worth a picture or 2 so make sure you don't Tee off on a busy day so you have some time to enjoy the views - especially on the 13th Tee box. The first 9 is possible to walk, but thereafter it is all uphill so if you are unfit it may be wise to hire a golf car. Beware of the  DEEP SAND BUNKERS and the water feature on the 14th.




An equivalently well manicured course is that of De Zalze. It is just before Stellenbosch and also is not a very far drive from Mooring House Guest Lodge - I would say 10 minutes.   Of the 2, I really can't decide which is the better, De Zalze or Erinvale - each has a challenging water feature but must admit that I lost more balls at the 13th water hole at De Zalze than the 14th at Erinvale. As a novice in the golfing world, I think I would say that De Zalze was a far more challenging course or as my Face Book status said: "AN EGO SHATTERING EXPERIENCE "  De Zalze will be seeing more of us as our coach, Dawie van Wyk, has just recently left the driving range and taken up the position of coach at De Zalze under the Swingfit Performance Academy banner.

Again, as a Novice to this world of golf, before we play a game at a course we are not yet familiar with ( and there are many), I like to see what awaits me with regards to the layout of the course. I found the website   Golf  Course Layouts    which paints a fairly good picture of what to expect as well as offering some tips on each hole - not that this helps me much at my stage of the game, but i the same.



SO, it's back to golf courses and the next would be Strand Golf Club - also only 10 minutes from the Guest House. At this stage, we have only played there twice, for no other reason that we are trying to play on all the different courses available. In comparrison to the Somerset West Golf course, we found the course to be in a much better condition and offers a chipping and putting green as well as a driving range. The only thing to take into account when playing at the Strand, is the wind factor. Tee off as early as possible because the wind does tend to pick up by late morning on most days. Oh yes, and the little sign by the shrubs on the 3rd (I think) which reads, "Beware of Snakes" - in other words,  don't go and retrieve balls if they land in here !!



Stellenbosch golf course - a personal favorite of mine and only about 12 minutes drive from our Guest House in SOmerset West. However, this is under normal driving circumstances. Early morning Tee off's should take into account the morning traffic on the R44. The R44 does tend to have a heavy traffic flow during the morning hours between 6:30am and 8am - with people commuting from Somerset West to Stellenbosch - work, school drop off's and university students and the road can become quite congested from about 10 km before the golf club entrance. Depsite the traffic, Stellenbosch remains a lovely course to play although I must admit that it is not very well marked. When finishing on one green, I have often found myself wondering in which direction the next Tee box is, so I usually take a printout of the course layout with - just in case or until such time that I am more familiar with the course ( at this point I have played the course 5 times - and yes, I still get lost at certain holes but it is becoming better).  Although there are no Beware of Snake signs, I do have my reservations about what crawls in the fynbos (shrubs) at the 7th and 8th - so best to heed a little precaution. Stellenbosch is the only course I have yet come across which has someone on standby at the 9 T-box to take your orders for the Half Way house and all is ready waiting for you by the time you get there.


The last course in the immediate area is the 9 hole at Helderberg Village   (18 holes can be played).   Lovely setting with some lovely mountian views and well maintained, depsite the inexpensive price charged to play. In summary, a very friendly and accommodating club and only 6 minutes drive from the guest house.  Although an easy course to walk, the only critisism we had was the we just found it slightly disjointed as one has to walk between houses to get to the next Tee box. Otherwise, a lovely course.


Moving slightly away from the Helderberg region, we have recently played the lovely course at the KING DAVID Golf Club which is situated in the location of the airport, roughly a 25 minute drive from the Guest House (Mooring House) - this naturally depends on traffic flow along the N2 Highway. We had an early Tee time of 7:15am and as I did not know the exact location, we left the guest house at just after 6am. Needless to say it only took 20 minutes (no traffic) and we had to wait about 30 minutes before the first people arrived to open the Pro shop at the club. Loved the course and played one of my best rounds to date there aswell. In fact we enjoyed it so much that we have made a booking to play there tomorrow again - hope it goes as well as before. It is an easy walking course and we played 18 holes in just on 4 hours (including our half way stop)
Me at King David

Personal note to self - if playing early in autumn, the greens are exceptionally damp with dew, making it a very slow green. After the 1st 9, the greens have dried and they become fast again. Also, if you are thinking of playing there during Easter, please bear in mind that the committee and members are mainly Jewish and the traditions of Passover is strictly adhered to. So if you are thinking of a nice toasted sandwich at half way or when you finish your play, you are in for a big surprise - AS I WAS. All you are going to get is Matzah. Not that I had any objections, it would have just been nice to have been pre-warned - especially leaving the house so early there was no time for breakfast and thought I would just eat something there - it was not meant to be. Thank heavens for the Wimpy along the N2 enroute back to the guest house - Mooring House. Oh yes, no bacon is available here so get the idea of Bacon and eggs for breakie out of your head.



Another beautiful course is that found at the Devonvale Golf Club - lovely club house and lovely setting and if you get there early enough you can have a full breakfast buffet before Tee off. And whats more, it's locatedonly roughly roughly 40 minutes from Somerset and Mooring House. The course does call for a bit of accuracy when you Tee off. With sloping fairways you need to hit your balls correctly or you may find that your 2nd shot is played from the adjacent fairway - as we found out with some players during our game. Luckily we played towards the end of summer and the dams on the course were dry so for once, I had no water hazards to contend with.

Enjoyes a 3 ball with one of our guests staying at Mooring House



From one lovely course to another and that we found at Westlake Golf Club - Set against the mountains this course was truely lovely to play. Although we took a golf cart, this course could easily be walked and in one way I am glad we used the buggy as it started to pour with rain about 3 holes towards the end. Despite the rain, it's a course I really want to play again and this time we'll walk. The good news is that Westlake Golf course is only about 45 minutes from the guest house and a scenic drive past the beaches of Muizenberg.




From the one coast we move in the opposite direction to the course found at Kleinmond. How surprised we were when we arrived at this little golf club tucked away under the moutains on the outskirts of Kleinmond - a real gem with nice green fairways and very friendly staff. and some lovely views.

It is only a 9 hole course but a further 9 can be played from different Tee boxes. Kleinmond is roughly 45 minutes drive away from Mooring House Guest Lodge in Somerset West and the drive is very scenic along the coast past Gordons Bay, Rooi Els, Pringle Bay and Betty's Bay. As the course is on the slopes of the mountian I do believe snakes will be evident so don't go scratching for lost balls in the undergrowth.  We were very surpised to see how popular this little course, but then for the cheap green fees it is no wonder.       Another definite replay on my list. Although the course does offer an efficient half way house, after the game you can either pull into the new Kleinmond harbour for a bite to eat and enjoy a bit of ocean scenary. It is an easy walking course and I think one enjoys the scenary more when walking than when using a cart. We did notice quite a few nice Bed and Breakfast / guesthouses leading onto the fairways so you can always escape to Kleinmond the day before, sleep over and enjoy a round of golf.



Now, my real favourite course to date would have to be the Hermanus Golf Club, but bear in mind that I have not played Arabella or the beautiful courses of Pearl Valley, Royal Cape, and the list can continue not to mention the Ernie Els course at Oubaai or Pinnacle Point or Pezula for that matter - but hopefully we get to all these within the next 12 months - one can only hope. But at the moment, Hermanus Golf Club wins my vote. And the only reason I got to play on this lovely course was by invitation from a group of Austrian men staying at our guest house ( Mooring House). Although at this stage I was a real, real novice and the pressure of playing with the group  of men who's handicaps averaged 8, was not exactly beneficial to my nerves (and to make matters worse they allowed me to Tee off first - and with all 6 watching all I could say in my mind was "Oh God, don't let me make a fool of myself".
Day out to Hermanus with my Austrian guests - first stopping at the penguin sanctuary in Betty's Bay before headin goff to play golf.
Well, as it was, it was a beautiful straight shot - needless to say it was the last decent shot of the day and played like crap for the ret of the 18 holes. BUT - I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was the fist time I walked 18 holes. Again there are many guest houses lining the fairways so it is my intention to take my wife for a weekend break and play a round of golf at Hermanus some time soon. Club house lovely, setting magnificient and views all stunning and the same goes for the fairways and greens. Loved it, loved it, loved it.  Hermanus is roughly an hours drive from Somerset West with a scenic coastal drive making the drive and golf a pleasurable day spent.

And at this point in my golfing game, these are the only places we have yet played, most more than twice, purely because they are in close proximity and we have to be home in time for children coming back from school. Hopefully within the next week or so we will have some more courses to add to our portfolio of golf courses in and around Somerset West.

I have of course left the best for last and only because I don't want too many people booking up my Tee times. And even though I have a reluctancy for actually sharing this info I suppose I have to as we all enjoy our game of golf and if we can play for cheaper raters then why not. For the best value for Money I have found the follwoing website my gospel for booking golf tee times - Last Minute Golf is by far the cheapest and you pay the same rate whether you are affliated members of not. The 2nd best is Golf Tee Time - and although not as cheap at the previous link, they also offer some superb courses at reduced rates and the service offered by Andrew is excellent.

Tomorrow we are off to try our hand again at De Zalze and then Thurday we play at a course we have not yet played - Milnerton.


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