German entrepreneur Hasso Plattner – co-founder of computer software giant SAP – is the leisure time yachtsman and golfer whose vast financial resources were used to update the golfing complex at Fancourt in 1994.
Located between the Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south, all three of Fancourt’s fabulous courses are accessible to Hotel residents and Country Club members with their guests.
The 18-hole Montagu parkland layout is the original course at Fancourt (from an initial 27-hole design), which was upgraded in 2005 by David McLay Kidd when new 1st and 9th holes were introduced. Bunkers and greens were redefined at all the other holes, some water features were removed and other new ones brought into play (such as the dam that was built after the course was constructed).
Like the other Fancourt courses, the Montagu is maintained to a very high standard and its trees and water features add interest and variety to the undulating landscape. The Links at Fancourt may get most of the plaudits these days but the Montagu is still a great course, fully deserving its consistently high ranking position in South African course listings.
Fancourt Montagu closed for an upgrade from April to September 2018, according to Stuart McLean, editor of Golf Digest South Africa. The Montagu greens were resurfaced with bent grass during this period of time and the club was planning design changes with input from Gary Player whilst the course was shut.
Alterations to the Montagu were intended to make the course more intimidating, with water features prominent. But other changes will improve playability for the average golfer, and therefore create a more enjoyable experience. The bunkering on the front nine was reduced and fairway landing areas increased in size, with fewer forced carries.
These improvements come on top of other recent modifications made to the Montagu and Outeniqua courses in an attempt to return both layouts to the traditional look and feel of parkland courses. Water features were opened and cleaned out to become more visible and Cape Country flower beds added. Fairway definition has also been improved, with intrusive bushes removed.
The Montagu course starts out with some pleasant parkland holes winding through the estate, interspersed with a number of more interesting holes featuring water hazards.
The sharply downhill par 3 second is a strong hole, but it was the par 5, fourth hole which really grabbed our attention with the green projecting into the lake. But beware the severe green!
The par 4 sixth with water left and bunkers right off the tee, and an approach over the water is also a strong hole. The water again comes into play on the pretty par 3, eighth hole, and the par 5, ninth. Both are good holes
The back nine continued the fun with a mix of nice parkland holes and the occasional water hole that demanded your concentration.
The big finish on holes seventeen and eighteen is memorable. The penultimate hole is an all water carry par 3. It is a gorgeous looking hole, and challenging.
The final hole is a par 5 with a water carry approach to a very picturesque green sitting in front of the Fancourt clubhouse.
Although I would not rate Montagu as a great course, it is cetainly a good day out. We had good weather, and the entire group enjoyed the day.
You will find plenty of challenges, and come home with lots of photos to remember the day. On a still day the water reflection pics are just magic.
No golfing trip should miss Fancourt, and if you come to Fancourt, Montagu is a must play.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Montagu is a great fun course in the beautiful Fancourt estate.
We played it the day after the Data Dimension Pro Am so the course was in perfect condition with fast greens and generous fairways.
Unlike the next door Links course, this is a resort course designed for golfers of all abilities... as long as you choose the correct set of tees, everyone should have fun here and enjoy the challenge.
It was much more undulating than I expected and the design makes the most of this with some beautiful holes flowing through the natural contours. The greens are big and fairways very generous but to attack the course you have to plot your way around as the greens have some serious breaks especially with the natural grain.
The views are outstanding of the local mountains which adds to the drama.
The only thing which holds the course back from a higher rating is it all feels a bit generic and a bit devoid of the personality of courses like George or Royal Durban.
Good practice facilities but the service from caddies, starter, marshall etc... are below what you would expect of a 5 star resort. You also need to prepare for 5 hour plus rounds, given the resort nature there are lots of people playing of all abilities and there was no evidence of anyone maintaining pace of play despite a full tee sheet.
Overall, a great experience but we had more fun playing George, Simola and Arabella.