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.”
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Matkovich learned how to play golf at Shabani (which was owned by the local mine company) and progressed to play many courses around the country, most of which were developed by mining firms.