The new Challenge Tour South African stop-over has allowed for two of the Cape’s finest courses to play host this week at the RAM Cape Town Open.
Royal Cape Golf Club
The Royal Cape Golf Club was established in 1885 which makes it South Africa’s oldest golf club. It is in the shadow of Table Mountain and is subject to three of nature’s beguiling offerings: a near-constant wind to challenge, sweeping mountain views to charm and water features to ensnare. The par-72 course, which is 6,121 metres in length, was designed by Charles Murray and its fairway grass is kikuyu, while the greens are made of bent grass. There are plenty of challenging bunkers.
It is a course has hosted the SA Open 10 times, as well as many other professional and top amateur events. Winners at Royal Cape include Gary Player, Ernie Els, Mark McNulty and Trevor Immelman.
Tree-lined with narrow fairways and subtle greens, Royal presents a traditional test of golf, although the numerous ponds and lakes teeming with birdlife provide beauty and distraction along the way.
King David Mowbray Golf Club
Set in a very central area – about 15 minutes from the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town International Airport – King David Mowbray is a parkland course, which provides an excellent test of golf. The terrain is flat, but plenty of trees and water features make for an interesting experience, with the beauty of the mountain and abundant wildlife dominating the scenery.
A significant feature of any coastal course is, of course, the wind. This is where King David Mowbray is unique, in that the holes have been so laid out that you will seldom find yourself with the wind directly in your face or right at your back. Also, believe it or not, the wind in Pinelands is seldom as severe as in other parts of the peninsula.
Both fairways and greens remain soft throughout the year. The fairways consist predominantly of kikuyu grass while the greens are paspalum which provides an excellent putting surface. Experiments with pure bent grass have not been successful, so the indigenous grass family variety is now being ‘managed’, with more than satisfactory results.
While the course is not particularly long, the golfer will find King David Mowbray a real challenge. It is generally accepted that the SA Golf Association ratings of 71 from the back tees and 69 from the front make it about 2 or 3 strokes more difficult than average. Don’t let this put you off, however. If you hit the ball straight, you’ll do well and even if you go off line here and there, the rough is very forgiving and is kept well trimmed.