FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Durban, South Africa, Durban Country Club

Jul 1, 2006
2006 / June-July 2006

Durban Country Club was one of many courses my group played around this South African city. We didn’t have any success arranging a tee time until one of us, a real dealmaker from Manhattan, called the course pro directly. When he told us of his success, we all wanted to know what he said to the pro.

“I told him we were all wealthy Americans with low handicaps and that he would be well taken care of by us.” Roars of laugher erupted from the foursome as we enjoyed a libation at the bar.

The day we arrived, my partner instructed the group to remain outside while he entered the pro shop to tip the pro $100. There was just one hitch. I was dressed in my snazzy golf shorts, which were unacceptable on the course. It really was not the shorts, but my socks. Turns out shorts are fine if you wear them with knee socks, which, of course, were available in the pro shop. Powder blue was the only color in stock, so you can imagine the laughter that ensued when I returned to the group decked out in my pastel hosiery.

A recent check of the Durban Country Club Web site suggests the club is now much friendlier than in the past vis-a-vis visiting golfers. The rate for non-accompanied golfers with a country club card is 340 rand. It’s 430 for those without. I’m also happy to report the sock rule is no longer in force, but it’s a good idea to bring along a pair of long pants — just in case.

Probably the greatest golf course in all of Africa, Durban Country Club has its roots in the former Royal Durban Golf Club. Royal Durban was prone to flooding. The threat of losing the South African Open spurred the construction of Durban Country Club in 1922, in time for the 1924 South African Open. The parcel of land selected was a mixture of dunes, dairy and chicken farms and a well-known picnic spot by the Blue Lagoon of the Indian Ocean. Laborers relied on donkeys and oxen to carve out the course hole by hole as there were no steam shovels available at the time.

Durban is rated consistently in the top 100 courses in the world and in the top 10 in Africa. It remains the home of the South African Open. The first five holes are often said to be the best starting holes in the world, so let’s begin there.


Hole 1 (354 meters, par 4)

I’ll never forget standing on the first hole in my shorts and powder blue knee socks looking out on one of the greatest courses in the world. I was playing golf in Africa. The hole has a narrow opening, which can be exacerbated if the wind is blowing in your face. With brush (in Africa it’s called “bush”) to your left and right, you will need an accurate drive. As we walked down the fairway to our drives, we noticed small Vervet monkeys in the trees — incredible! The monkeys are not residents of the course. They move about from Burman’s Bush (seven miles away) to neighboring Windsor Park. Your approach shot is to an elevated green with a deep drop off to the back and right.

Hole 2 (172 meters, par 3)
You’re not at home, so remember the conversion — a meter equals 1.09 yards. On this hole, you’re looking at about 189 yards off the tee to the center of the green. The tee box is the highest point on the course and offers you panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Take a deep breath, as there is little room for errant shots. There is a valley in front of the green, bush to the right and the left side slopes down to the 17th fairway. To make matters worse, bunkers surround the green.

Hole 3 (468 meters, par 5)

This hole is rated the best third hole in the world and it is striking. The tee box is elevated on top of the sand dunes with the fairway carved into the valley between two adjacent dunes. Of course, from this vantage, wind can make or break your drive. Thick bush lines both sides of the fairway, so it demands accuracy. Make sure you take a moment to soak up the view from the green to the fairway behind as you leave this hole — it is magnificent!

Hole 4 (165 meters, par 3)

Not a particularly difficult hole, but you do shoot from an elevated tee box to a bowl-shaped green below. Remember to make a mental conversion, about 181 yards from tee box to green. Take care to avoid the bunkers that guard this hole.

Hole 5 (420 meters, par 4)

This is the No. 1 ranked handicapped hole on the course. At 462 yards off the tee to an undulating fairway, it’s long by par-4 standards. Accuracy is required off the tee and with a nearperfect drive, a fairway wood or low iron should reach the green. This hole easily can turn from a par 4 to a 5 with one wrong move. The approach to the green is narrow and it is well-guarded by two bunkers.

Hole 10 (512 meters, par 5)

This is the longest hole on the course and measures 563 yards. There is bush throughout your second and third shot and two bunkers protect the large green.

Hole 12 (143 meter, par 3)

No review of Durban Country Club would be complete without a review of the “Prince of Wales” hole. Why is it called the Prince of Wales? Because when he played the course in 1925, this particular hole took him 17 strokes to hole out. Hopefully, you’ll have better luck. The hole is a short par 3. From the elevated tee box, you are teeing off to a green that appears to be the flattened top of a dune. If you miss the green like the Prince of Wales, your ball rolls all the way down to the valley below on either side making for an impossible chip back up to the green. In front of and behind the green are two gigantic and deep bunkers to catch shots that fall short or travel over the green.

Hole 18 (250 meters, par 4)

This is your finishing hole in South Africa at the famed Durban Country Club. Big hitters can rip a shot to the green, which is only 275 yards away. There is bush to the left, a very steep dropoff to the right and a hollow to the front of the green. Beware of the bunkers on the right and left side of the green. Unless you can control a long drive, it’s best to go for a more conservative approach. It’s a great finishing hole with the clubhouse behind.

DURBAN COUNTRY CLUB
101 Walter Gilbert Road
Durban, 4001, South Africa
tel 27 31 3131700

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jun 24, 2024

Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat on French Riviera Completes Redesign of 2 Villas and Penthouse

Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel is a 5-star luxury resort located in the former fishing village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera. Welcoming guests for more than 100 years, the property is set on 17 lush acres with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and 74 spacious guestrooms and suites. This year, noted Parisian designer Sybille de Margerie redesigned two of the hotel’s three villas on the property, Villa Beauchamp and Villa Clair Soleil, as well as the Penthouse.

Hotel Indigo: The World’s Neighborhood Hotel

Part of the IHG Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio, Hotel Indigo is the world’s neighborhood hotel that celebrates how guests can discover, or rediscover, some of the most inspiring and culturally rich neighborhoods around the world. When staying at a Hotel Indigo hotel, it's not just about visiting a place — it's about being fully immersed in the neighborhood and wanting to take a little bit of it home. When traveling for business, Hotel Indigo offers a unique experience tailored to each location, making it the perfect choice to stay while traveling for work. With IHG Business Edge, travel managers have exclusive access to enticing perks, comprehensive travel metrics and carefully curated educational resources. It also includes a guaranteed discount on both business and personal travel for managers and employees, alongside an automatic upgrade to IHG One Rewards Silver Elite status after the initial IHG Business Edge stay.

June 2024
Jun 24, 2024

Plan Your Summit in Savannah, the Hostess City of the South

In Savannah, taking care of business comes with an array of fringe benefits: fireflies and magnolia trees, warm breezes and Southern hospitality, live oaks garlanded in Spanish moss, and plenty of perfect addresses for meetings and gatherings. One of the most anticipated developments in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions space is the enlargement of the existing Savannah Convention Center. Amplifications to the site include an additional 40,000 square feet of ballrooms space; 13 new meeting rooms; and a further 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Positioned on Hutchinson Island, the convention complex sits an easy 20 minutes from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and is easily accessible from other East Coast destinations via the I-95 and I-16 highways.

Daily
Jun 24, 2024

5 Beach Hotels to Celebrate Fourth of July

Plan your Fourth of July escape to one of these five beachside pools.

Exclusive Savings: Cruise Along the Danube River with Global Traveler

Exclusive Sailing with Global Traveler

Daily
Jun 24, 2024

A Banyan Group-Branded Hotel Opens in Sokcho, South Korea

Banyan Group announced the newest addition to its growing portfolio with the opening of Cassia Sokcho, marking the debut of the Cassia brand in South Korea. This 674-room hotel, located between the East Sea and Mount Seorak, also features suites and penthouse apartments equipped with kitchen facilities, private balconies and bathtubs.

June 2024
Jun 20, 2024

Bask in the Warmth and Cultural Fusion of Cabo Verde’s Islands

Césaria Évora, Cabo Verde’s “Barefoot Diva,” often sang about her home, the stunning island of São Vicente, one of the 10 inhabited islands comprising the nation of Cabo Verde. When Évora died in 2011 at the age of 70, all of Cabo Verde mourned.

IHG Hotels & Resorts: Elevating the Guest Experience & Expanding Globally

With a robust portfolio of brands catering to diverse traveler preferences, IHG has been on a strategic trajectory to conquer key markets worldwide. The IHG footprint continues to grow, offering unparalleled experiences to guests around the globe.

Daily
Jun 20, 2024

4 Destinations Inspired by Great Summer Reads

Calling all literary lovers! Pick up one of these books and set out to explore the destination inspired by the pages.