The coastal village of Melkbosstrand (“milk bush beach”) is named after the species of shrub that grows in the local seaside dunes and it lies a short distance to the north of Cape Town, between the Atlantic Ocean and Blouberg Mountain. The Atlantic Beach course is situated here, amongst the undulating sand hills, as part of a residential estate that is contained within a nature reserve on the shore of Table Bay.
The estate was acquired by a developer in 1997 and by 2000, architect Mark Muller and contractor Golf Data had constructed 18 golf holes in two anti-clockwise loops of nine, taking great care to protect the fynbos (coastal shrubland vegetation) that give Atlantic Beach such a “lived-in” natural look – these small trees and bushes also help to mask the housing that flank both sides of every fairway (except the 13th and 14th to the south of the property).
The signature hole at Atlantic Beach is “Lion’s Head,” the 555-yard, par five, left dog legged, 13th which is laid out almost as it was found at the start of course construction, with Milkwood trees to the right of the fairway and a sizeable mound to the left. The tee shot is blind and the third shot, if level with the fairway bunker, is steeply uphill. Many rate this hole as one of the best (and toughest) in the country.
The nines have recently been switched so the 1st tee is now located in front of the clubhouse and the opening holes play towards Table Mountain, with magnificent views of the mountains around Cape Town city centre.
The following short edited extract is from the book Green Splendour by Juan Espi:
“The Atlantic Beach links golf course has been developed with a strong commitment to the preservation of the indigenous fauna and flora. The sight of crushed seashells filling the bunkers is a constant reminder of the southeaster that blows through the course.
Snaking its way through the undulating dunes and fynbos islands, this demanding course is designed to be equally enjoyable for both the expert and the club golfer. On tranquil days the course can be forgiving, but when the wind picks up, Atlantic Beach offers a stern test of links golf.”