Welcome to the Mountain Links Golf Course at Drakenzicht, offering the best views of any golf courses in Mpumalanga!
This, the first proclaimed “mountain links” golf course, by definition resembles some of the modern characteristics of “links” courses as described by Ron Whitten, Golf Digest's Architecture writer. These include golf courses built on sandy soil (whether seaside or not) and that are buffeted by winds. Visit Drakenzicht and play on one of the most unique golf courses in Mpumalanga, and the world for that matter. Avid golfers often book to play Highland Gate golf course, which is about 1 hours drive from our lodge, and when looking for accommodation near Highland Gate, secure accommodation at Drakenzicht in order to play another game on our course which is the setting of spectacular Lowveld mountain views.
Whitten says a links course must play firm and fast, with sometimes crusty fairways and greens that feature many knolls and knobs to create odd bounces and angles. And, of course, a links course, in Whitten's definition, needs to be relatively treeless with a native rough that is tall and thick.
- The natural landscapes is left undisturbed to a large degree.
- Rough is mainly tall grassland with few trees on the course.
- Fairways are rarely watered and hence plays hard.
- Windy conditions exist all year round.
- Frequent misty mornings on the escarpment.
- Bunkers are deeper than usual to protect sand from blowing out.
- These bunkers resemble pot bunkers but might be less deep due to underlying rock surfaces.
- Grass bunkers are common to replace normal bunkers where rocky terrain does not allow “pot bunkers”
- It is situated in a rocky mountainous area. Fairway layouts are patchy.
- Large altitude differences between top to bottom parts of the course.
- Many holes differ significantly in height from tee to green or visa versa.
- Natural landscapes of the mountainous areas were used to design water hazards.
Visiting Highland Gate Golf Course? Book accommodation near Highland Gate and tee off at Drakenzicht
Teeing off on the greens of the Highland Gate golf course and getting to play the next day on Drakenzicht Mountain Links golf course, is one of the more simple pleasures in life that every golfer can enjoy.
Highland Gate is one of the more popular golf courses in Mpumalanga. A two and a half hour drive from Gauteng brings you to the beautiful Schoemanskloof Valley, with its cool weather and its pristine views.
But the one thing that Highland Gate lacks is accommodation for its golfing visitors. While it is a stunning place to play a round of golf, it is not the place where you can settle down for the evening and enjoy a quiet night in before playing another round the following day. However, just an hour away from the stunning Highland Gate Estate, nestled up high in the mountains, is our Mpumalanga accommodation: Drakenzicht with one of the most unique golf courses you will ever play on.
Spend a day on the Highland Gate golf course and then journey to Drakenzicht for a relaxed evening and a round of golf in the morning on our Mountain Links golf course.
A brief history of golf in South Africa
Golf is one of the more popular pastimes in South Africa. People from all walks of life, and of all fitness levels, can enjoy the sport of golf. South Africa has produced some of the best golfers the world has seen such as Gary Player, Bobby Locke, and Ernie Els. The first PGA tournament in South Africa was held in Cape Town in 1885, and since then the sport has become a favourite, with golf courses popping up all over the country.
Today, Mpumalanga is a top golfing destination, with the landscapes and weather being ideal for the sport. The mountainous terrain that makes up the Highland Gate golf course and the Drakenzicht course makes both of these areas simply beautiful locations. The scenic charm that comes with playing on these terrains is what brings people back again and again to play. But while people are always flocking to Highland Gate golf course, not having accommodation at the facility means that they have to travel back and forth if they want to spend more than one day playing.
Why not enjoy the best of both golfing destinations by staying at the Drakenzicht lodge and enjoy a golfing weekend getaway in Mpumalanga? .
You don’t have to choose between which Mpumalanga golf courses to play on in the Schomanskloof Valley, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Drakenzicht is just around the corner from Highland Gate and our mountain resort offers a different take on the game of golf. While the Highland Gate course is ideal for those looking for the regular game of golf, with its 18 holes played within a reasonable amount of time, Drakenzicht has created a more relaxed experience. Our course has 9 holes and you don’t have to rush from one hole to the next.
Imagine spending your Saturday playing a competitive game on the Highland Gate greens and then spending the following day, after a relaxed night at Drakenzicht, ambling your way around our mountain golf course, taking in the scenery and inhaling that clear fresh air.
The history of the Drakenzicht Golf Course
Owner and developer Thys van den Hoven tells his story…
“My idea was to put a few flags at some intervals. OK, I proposed a golf course! About a week later over, yes, a bottle of red wine, Marcelle asked me why I wanted that. Well, some guests were complaining that we had nothing to do (hmm it was the idea) and I thought that it would be a way to kill a few flies with one smack. After quite a talk she finally said that if I used the disturbed areas only that we could consider it. Checking with the environmental consultants it was agreed that if the disturbance of the rezoning is less than one hectare that the EIA only requires a basic assessment and that it therefore would be within the requirements as with the rezoning.
This did not make the task easy at all. The disturbed areas were obviously limited and to ensure a flowing golf course became quite difficult. I took GPS readings of all the disturbed areas to be able to plot it accurately. With that, the sketches started,and it felt like millions, but finally, I got to about 2 or 3 ideas that we could consider.
The roads for the development of the lodge were also incorporated into the design of the course to ensure that even those will then fulfil a double purpose. It was agreed that all T-boxes will be done in stone to prevent the Kikuyu(a grass) from growing into the virgin grasslands. It was also agreed that the roads will form barriers in most places for the same purpose.
Construction started in November 2008. In January 2009 the rezoning was approved, but not without the normal hiccup or two. We had to relocate our entrance over another 3 neighbours’ land and getting the servitudes over those properties proved an unending challenge. We have however been able to make “agreements” on the use of the alternative road and with that, I leave that subject.
Like all golf courses, the earthworks is massive!
Obviously the criteria of the links course to leave the natural slopes etc. played a huge role in this decision and of course the budget or lack thereof.
The borrow pits and old dams were properly reconstructed and used in the design of the course. By the end of 2010, the last fairways were planted. About 5km of irrigation pipes were laid on the course. The course then had to settle before it could be put into action.”
What makes our course a Mountain Links course, is that landscapes are mostly natural, with the land being minimally disturbed in the process of the creation of the course. There are a few trees scattered on the course as well and there is a significant difference in the height from the tee to the greens.
The Mountain Links Golf Course is the first of its kind in the world and many happy golfers have made happy memories on these greens. With the rolling mountains, you can enjoy your favourite hobby in a breathtakingly beautiful location.