- +27 (0) 21 880 7300
25 miles E of cape Town, off the N2/R44
Welcome, advance booking advisable
The De Zalze course is yet another creation from the prolific Peter Matkovich and is laid out within the 750-acre Spier Estate in the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains, just south of Stellenbosch, in the heart of the nation’s wine country. The oak-lined Blaauwklippen River flows through the property and adds a degree of danger to the round as it comes into play from time to time.
Opened in 2001, the course was part of a development that included the construction of a hotel, visitor centre (there are three working wine farms on the property), clubhouse and outdoor activity centre. Thankfully, housing on the estate never encroaches too close to the golfing action, leaving golfers to fully enjoy the wonderful surroundings.
De Zalze, along with Stellenbosch, were delighted to co-host the prestigious biennial World Amateur Championships in 2006, where the gents from the Netherlands won the 25th Eisenhower Trophy competition and the ladies from the home nation triumphed in the 22nd competition for the Espirito Santo Trophy.
The De Zalze course is a very pleasant parkland affair, played to a par of 72, with a yardage that can be extended to just over 7,000 yards from the championship tees. The signature hole is well worth waiting for when the short par four 13th is reached. A boardwalk leads to three tees out in a lake from where the fairway must be reached on the right hand side of the water. Big hitters may be tempted to go for the green but as the club’s own notes for this hole warn: “Do not bite off more than you can chew.”
De Zalze is a fine golf course. The first hole is a welcoming par four that leans right. Favor left of center off the tee. The 2nd is the number one handicap hole. It is long and leans right. There is a large fairway bunker left and two greenside bunkers left. The first par three is short with a carry over a creek to a well protected green with two bunkers. The 4th is a relatively straight away par four. Favor left of center off the tee to take the right fairway bunker out of play. The green has a bunker rear and one right. The fifth is a good birdie hole. Short, with three fairway bunkers right and one left, compress the fairway. If you find the fairway you will have an attack wedge. The 6th is an S shaped par five. Depending upon the tees, you can drive thru the fairway into the water hazard, which will then run down the right side. Favor the left on your second shot to set up your short approach. The 7th is a demanding par four with fairway bunkers hour glassing the fairway. Right is best off the tee. The 8th is a reachable par five. Blind tee shot and a good one will catch the downslope. To keep big hitters honest there are five bunkers protecting the green. The 9th is the shortest hole with a water hazard short and running to the right.
The back starts with a dogleg left. Off the tee favor the right and the approach is slightly uphill. The 11th is straightaway but with a narrow fairway. The green is wide but narrow and ate my lunch. The 12th is a mid-distance par three with water right. If you do not enjoy the 13th, regardless of your score, see a physician immediately. A short par four with a water carry and water right that will see if your eyes are bigger than your stomach. It is driveable, but I was found wanting, but I would still go for it again. The 14th is a par five with a split fairway. I think left is easier and the fairway is split by two large fairway bunkers. I would suggest favoring the left and choose your preferred yardage for the approach. The 15th is a straight away par four. Favor right of center off the tee. The 16th is the longest par three with a guitar pick green with bunkers left and right. I do not like the 17th, it is a par five that bends right. Off the tee, favor the left side to take the right tree and bunkers out of play. The fairway narrows as you get closer to the green, favor the right side to ensure that you are not blocked out. A river cuts across the fairway in front of the green so this is a definite three shot par five. The 18th is a fun closing hole. Regardless of what tees you ar playing I strongly advocate to got back the back tees for an awesome vies. Off the tee make sure that you are short of the river cutting across the fairway. The green has two bunkers right and water left.
This is a fun course that I would pay to play again.
Played today, had the course to ourselves. Very reasonable cost. The course front 9 was solid but the back nine was spectacular, plenty of photos as we were not rushed.
The course is well designed taking advantage of a couple of lakes and other streams. It was also well watered again from natural irrigation, the green were good with subtle breaks. We took a buggy as there were some decent walks T to green, no problem for the fit.
In hindsight I played off the wrong T, as historically a 14-16 handicapper , I’m finding that with the new indexes I would enjoy the course most using the T boxes that gives me this handicap. In this case the blue T especially when playing courses only once, don’t be put off by moving forward, there is no please in hitting driver and 3 good 3 woods into a par 5.
Also the service was top notch the whole day.
De Zalze is a fairly new golf course constructed in a flat landscape, playable by golfers of all levels. Course rating from men’s (normal) tee is 72,1. Indicating that it is not the most difficult course to play. There are not a lot of surprises or adrenalin stimulating holes on the course. What you see is what you get. But it is a good walk. Especially if you like to warm up and/or practice your game, visit the driving range and practice area. One of the best that I have been on at all the golf courses we have played in the SA. An enthusiastic golfer like me can easily spend a whole day at this club’s facilities.