Located in the expanding town of Ballito, conveniently close to the King Shaka International airport on KwaZulu Natal’s Indian Ocean coast, the Simbithi Eco Estate is a large residential development that includes a variety of leisure amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts, an equestrian centre and a rather unique 18-hole golf course.
Designed by Peter Matkovich, who has a house on the estate, the eighteen holes are laid out in the style of an executive course, with thirteen par threes, four par fours and only one par five. It’s the first South African course specifically designed with busy, time-challenged working people in mind. It’s also loads of fun to play, even though you’re likely to use every club in the bag.
Simbithi plays to a par of 60, offering golfers the opportunity to shoot a score in the 50s. However, even playing to one's handicap is quite an achievement here because there are a number of challenging par threes. It's also a cart course, so you can get around all eighteen holes in less than three hours, which is always a plus factor.
Elbert Du Plessis, the Golf Manager, sent us the following comments:
The most difficult hole on the course is the par four 14th (“Mhlabathini”) and for good reason as it measures over 400 meters. You have to hit a good drive to an uphill landing area before taking on an approach shot to an elevated green, where only a well-directed shot to the centre will stay on the putting surface. Most days, par will feel like a birdie here.
The signature hole at Simbithi is the par three 17th (“Isiqhingana”), the thirteenth and final short hole on the course. It’s very short, playing to only 80 meters, with an elevation drop of 30 meters from the tee to a small island green. This is a hole to test the nerves of even the most skilled players so late in the round but it’s one to look forward to with eager anticipation.