George Golf Club members have played on the same site for nearly a hundred years so it’s little wonder George is sometimes referred to – by Fancourt visitors in particular – as “the Old Course.”
It was laid out by Charles Murray in the 1930s (he was responsible around that time for a number of good courses, including Royal Cape and Clovelly) and, apart from the construction of a dam between the 1st and 18th holes and the installation of a number of bunkers during a 1990s upgrade, the course remains true today to its original design.
George’s attractive parkland course is also one of the most affordable of South Africa’s top rated tracks and it’s a big favourite with tens of thousands of visitors who play almost half the number of available rounds here every year. Despite this traffic, George’s greens are first class and the overall conditioning of the course is amongst the best in the country.
The nines at George are a little lop-sided, with only one par three and one par five on the outward half and three of each on the inward nine. The signature hole is played late in the round at the penultimate, 17th hole, where an elevated tee shot must carry 200 yards across a valley to a raised, offset green in front of the aforementioned dam with a creek up the right and two bunkers on the left.
In this edited extract from the book South African Golf Courses: A Portrait of the Best author Stuart McLean comments: “The beauty of the course has developed over the years, with the growth of a variety of trees, and today it is an enchanting paradise, retaining a countrified air. The holes undulate through rolling valleys, and the golfer is required to display an assortment of shot-making skills during a round.
Looking at the heavily wooded course today, with its incredible variety of trees, bushes, and the famous George heather, it is hard to believe that when it was first constructed there was hardly a tree on the property. With plentiful rain in the area, however, there has been an abundant growth, and playing a round of golf at George on a pleasant summer’s day is very similar to a ramble through a private garden estate.”
‘Old’ George is a throwback to many typical English parkland courses built in the early part of the 20th Century. George Golf Club was established in1906, but golf has only been played at the current site since the 1930s.
There is a lively members’ club feel about George that is not typical of other Garden Route courses, with the possible exception of Plettenberg Bay, all of which are more recent and golfing venues rather than golfing clubs. The golf course is heavily tree-lined, strong use is made of bunkering and doglegs, and at nearly 6500 yards from the competition tees, this is no easy ride.
I liked the variety of the layout, with some excellent testing holes, in particular the par threes and par fives. The fairways are not generous but are wide enough and the conditioning is good, which is testament to the standard of green-keeping, as the course is the most heavily played I have been to in South Africa. A rousing finish with a daunting 200 yard par three at 17 and then a long par four to an uphill-sloping final green right in front of the clubhouse provides a fitting climax to the round.
The course is very different from the South African norm and yet the low green fee belies its challenge and sheer beauty. The Outeniqua mountains give George the majestic backdrop it so richly deserves.
I am a big Harry Colt fan and George Golf Club although not a Colt design has his feel to it. You can run the ball into all the long holes. The course confiding it is heavily used is always in good condition, with slick greens.
There are two loops of 9 which provide a variety of holes which will challenge all levels of golfers. The course is easily walkable with virtually no distance from Greens to the next T. Beautiful it is with monkeys and umparla sharing the course which is overlooked by the Outaniqua Mountains.
The staff and members are always pleased to welcome you back and it has a great pros shop.
Certainly if you are in the area playing the Fancourt courses add an extra day on and play George you will not regret it.
Fantastic course with some very interesting holes.
Great to not have to use the driver on each of the holes.
This is a course that is for all levels and the greens are fairly straight forward.
We took a trolley and walked the course, which was thoroughly enjoyable.
The course was packed so please book in advance.
Some great facilities in the clubhouse too.
Well worth a round if you are in the George area.
George is a golf course you must play, at least twice. It is a beautiful walk on an old park land course with many great and challenging golf holes. Playing to your handicap calls for your best shot making and course management skills. An exciting course for low as well as high handicappers. Great service and information about green speed, weather forecast etc. before start as well as a competent starter. Be sure to enjoy the service in the club house. I especially like the atmosphere of traditions in the club house and the professionality by which all the daily operations seems to be managed.
George is a time pocket, an older course, but also a little worn and tired. Fairways and greens are still in tip-top condition, but everything around seems abandoned and unleashed. The course is a beautifully placed park course, and wild boar (Bushboks?) Wanders undisturbed, close to the course's guests. There was no wow effect that one would expect from a track that ranks as number 15 on SA top 100. That ranking needs a reassessment
Probably it is one of the best "money for value" golf courses in South Africa. I had played in the middle of January, condition of fields was good, staff very kind and atmosfere here also nice. One big minus for me that they haven't driving range. Golf course is not very challenging and you reach here good result. Price is very very friendly. Also you can find cheap balls and other goods in proshop. It is old course and I like it! Nice nature with flowers, birds and animals. Spectaclure views from few holes.
Golf field rating is always a subject with a lot of subjectivity, depending on various criteria. I always rating by the following criteria: course complexity or challenging, fields condition (especially greens & fairways), service (only what you can get: buggie, club rent, condition of clubs, the amount of choice and etc. except staff and other subjective things that depends on your or staff mood), surrounding views or pleasure to the eyes and definitely value for the price. All criteries will be rating from 1 to 5 stars. Concerning George GC my personal opinion is follow:
1. Challenging - 3*
2. Condition - 4*
3. Service - 4* +
4. Surroundings - 4* (nice views around)
5. Value for the price - 5*+
I will be back.
George deserves to be further up the list.
It is a wonderful old (by South African standards) members club which offers incredible value for money and is a match for the 2nd and 3rd courses at Fancourt.
George doesn't have bells and whistles but it is a proper golf course which should be enjoyed whilst walking and basking in the beauty of this part of South Africa.
A wonderful place.
We were made to feel extremely welcome at George from the moment we stepped through the door.
It's a friendly local club, and has a more homely feel to it when compared with other golf clubs in the vicinity.
The course is typically parkland in it's layout with a tough opening hole having water all down the left hand side of the fairway. After that you move on to a relatively flat part of the course with plenty of local flora and fauna to admire on the way round. It's not a highly manicured course though but I'd describe it as authentic. A true test of a golfer.
The back nine was a little more undulating and a buggy was a must for us both, but with some interesting holes making the most of the undulating landscape, this is a course you'll enjoy playing.
All of the staff we met were incredibly welcoming and friendly, something you don;t always find at member's clubs when playing without a member.
The green fees were exceedingly reasonable in GBP coming in at £15
If you're in George on a golfing break then do take the time to step away from the plastic courses, as good as they may be, and try this fantastic local club for what it is.