In the middle of the gushing waters of the Vaal River, on the border of the Free State and the North West Province, rests an island of incomparable quiet and beauty. On this island, beautiful Vaal de Gráce Golf Estate promises a peaceful kind of lifestyle experience, second to none.
The Estate is merely an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, and once on the island, it is unbelievable how swiftly the flurry of city-life is forgotten and left behind. Aside from the splendid river running through Vaal de Gráce, the islet features a host of natural fauna, including a large variety of bird species like the rare giant heron; impala, duiker, small spottet genet, meerkat and more.
Moreover, the distinct cry of the stately fish eagle is generously heard while taking a stroll, or lining up to make that put.
Living on an island
On Vaal de Gráce there is time and space – to play and to relax, yet to be in the midst of a special kind of beauty and grace. Vaal de Gráce Golf Estate is decidedly the ideal break away destination, be it permanently or transient. No walls, no fences – only the river. Kiddies riding their bikes in the middle of the street. Couples taking a leisurely stroll at twilight. No watchdogs necessary, the only midnight intruders you may find is a porcupine feasting on the locust tree or arum lilies in your garden – or a giant kingfisher, having his crab for lunch on your voorstoep.
Vaal de Gráce is comfortably situated a couple of kilometres from Parys, in itself something to behold. The area surrounding Parys is distinctive. A Table Mountain sized meteor struck the earth nearby, some two thousand million years ago – leaving an indent called the Vredefort Dome, the biggest and oldest of its kind in the world.
Course Designer – Nick Price
The Estate plays host to the first ever Nick Price Signature Golf Course in the country. Nick Price, the South-African born Zimbabwean who has, among dozens of wins, bagged the Open Championship and the PGA Championship – the latter more than once.
In the mid-nineties he was regarded as the best player in the world. Known as one of the kindest fellows in the gentlemen’s game, he has persisted to play a great game.
These days, his knowledge of golf courses is put to first-class value as a designer. Nowhere is his expertise more clearly visible, than at Vaal de Gráce Golf Estate – the first full championship course designed by Nick Price in Africa.
Hitting the ball with a new driver
Exciting news on Vaal de Gráce is that four Home-owner-golfers recently purchased the course and took over management in October.
‘Maybe this is what should eventually happen to all Golf Estates like ours– that it becomes part of Home-owners … we like to think of this paradise as an all- in- one- destination,’ says Etienne Hoeksma, spokesperson for the new owners.
Etienne, independent businessman and former vice president for the Golden Lions, swapped his rugby passion for golf. He and his wife Zahné, live on Vaal de Gráce for the past 4 years. Zahné has an eye for style and quality and looks after the overall appearance of the staff, clubhouse and conference facilities.
On board with Etienne, is Werner Grobbelaar, keen 8 handicapper and mechanical engineer by profession, married to Corina. Seeing that golf is now the main topic of discussion in their home, Corina decided to take up golflessons in the near future.
Johan Ungerer is a single-figure Freestate Seniorgolf team member, and handles matters on the financial side. He and ex-teacher and debate coach Antoinette, – whom he calls Liewe Heksie – moved from Schweizer to Vaal de Gráce two years ago.
Freestate Seniorladies player, Elizabeth Fourie, also a well-known Afrikaans songwriter and singing couple with hubby Francois, handles the marketing and promotions. Francois, who always dreamed about being a farmer, just wants to be out there looking after the fairways and greens.
The fact that this undertaking is a husband-and-wife team effort, is quite an inspiration.
Everyone is prepared to contribute with his or her unique talent.
‘From upgrading the course, clubhouse, conference hall and halfway, to running golf -operations and personel with a fresh approach – we are working hard towards our goal to make Vaal de Gráce that special gem on every golfer’s bucket list. This place is our passion. We look at it as an investment – not only money-wise but also as in lifestyle. We feel safe here. This is where we want to be. Just give us a little time. You would want to be here as well ..!’
The dream …
Once the basics are in place the great goal for 2018 is building a Clubhouse. Up to now, a private property was rented for that purpose, but facilities and space is not enough to accommodate the needs – and the Clubhouse is long due. A beautiful spot with lovely views over the 18th fairway, green and river, is set aside for this purpose. The perfect spot to watch the sunset and birdlife on the water; the perfect gathering place not only for golfers after a great game, but also for non-golfer visitors and home-owners.
From tee to green ..
Vaal de Gráce Golf Course offers a unique golfing experience. With four of the holes on the other side of the only bridge that gives access to the island, you play your game in two provinces: Freestate as well as NorthWest. Designer Nick Price took care of the needs of the whole spectrum of golfers. The course plays friendly and forgiving, but also offers a good challenge for low handicappers.Vaal de Gráce hosted many tournaments in the past and with the upgrading going on at the moment, pro’s as well as leisure golfers can look forward to great events in the pipeline.
‘Visitors are welcome to come and experience the magic of Vaal de Gráce Golf Estate during the festive season. Check out our summer-holiday promotion on the advert in this magazine. Follow us on FB, visit our website www.vaaldegrace.co.za , call us on 0568112013 – and most of all – just come!’
Seasons may come and go but the unique atmosphere and magic of Vaal de Gráce stays … just like the song of the river running around it.
Contact the club:
www.vaaldegrace.co.za, Enquiries: 0568112013, [email protected] and Facebook: Vaal de Gráce