Once a large sugar cane planation, the estate at Umhlali – pronounced "Um-shla-li" – had a rudimentary 9-hole layout established on the property in 1961. This course was then expanded to a full eighteen holes by Peter Matkovich in 1979, then the architect returned to completely renovate the course twenty-five years later when he replaced all the greens and bunker complexes.
Over time, the Country Club has enhanced its sporting amenities (offering non golfing facilities like bowling, tennis, squash and swimming) while the residential element on the site has also been extended but, unfortunately, in doing so, the wild zebras that used to roam the fairways have had to be removed, resulting in Umhlali losing just a little of its unique charm.
Nevertheless, Umhlali does present golfers with a fine collection of generously proportioned, tree-lined fairways (many of them doglegged), which are laid out in two returning nines. Some regard the long par three water-protected 4th as the signature hole here whilst others prefer the short par four 14th because of its risk-reward opportunities.
Other holes of note include the heavily sand-protected par three 6th (the shortest of the four one-shot holes on the card), the slightly left doglegged par four 15th (rated stroke index 1), and the par three closing hole, where the home green nestles close to the club’s floodlit bowling green.