Paarl Golf Club was established in 1908 but, apart from the fact that it moved to its present site within the Cape winelands in 1954, little is known about the club until the late 1990s when a radical reappraisal of its facilities resulted in the redesign of its original 18-hole and the addition of a further nine holes.
This 27-hole complex is set within the Boschenmeer Golf Estate and the men responsible for developing the golfing aspect on this residential property are professional golfer David Frost – a former pupil at Paarl Boys’ High School – and architect Danie Obermeyer, best known for his recent work at Kingswood, in the heart of the Garden Route.
The “River” nine makes up holes 1 to 9, the “Paarl” nine constitute holes 10 to 18 and the new “Boschenmeer” nine completes the layout between holes 19 and 27. Water is the most obvious hazard on the property with several fairways playing alongside the Berg River on the River loop and a number of holes on the Paarl circuit routed around man-made ponds.
Not that the aquatic challenges of the Boschenmeer layout should be forgotten because the new nine – which enjoys some pleasing changes of elevation – reaches a crescendo around an enormous lake with the par five 27th doglegging round water from tee to green.
Paarl Golf Club Manager, Ian Rose, identified the following holes to look out for:
On holes 1-9, hole 8 is a short par four, stroke index 16. This hole has the meandering Berg River as its left hand boundary, with views to the famous Paarl Rock. A grove of Beefwood trees guard the right hand rough. What makes this hole the best of the nine is its uncanny knack of returning you to earth with a bump. It looks easy but one poor shot and you are two over par in a blink of an eye.
On holes 10-18, the 13th is a right doglegged par four, stroke rating 8. Flanked by pine trees on both sides, which stop just 250 yards from the tee box, a good drive is necessary to make the green in regulation. The green is what makes this hole so challenging and pretty to look at. Large and undulating and almost 50 metres in length, it is surrounded by majestic Stone Pines.
On holes 19-27, the 22nd is an undulating par five, stroke index 11. This is the club’s signature hole, crossing the highest point on the estate and one can see the silhouette of Table Mountain more than 70 kilometres away. The entire valley is a vista of craggy mountains and vineyards. The hole is a tricky one with water both sides of the approaching fairway and it’s a tough challenge to get on the green in two with the dams swallowing up many a new ball.