ZimbaliDolphin Coast, KwaZulu-Natal
- AddressZimbali Drive, Zimbali Coastal Estate, Dolphin Coast, 4399, South Africa
Tom Weiskopf has designed more than 40 courses worldwide since he stopped playing competitively, which is not a prodigious number compared to other top-end golf course architects. However, Tom is in the business of providing quality, not quantity and Zimbali (which he designed in 1998) is certainly a top-drawer golf development.
Constructed as an integral part of a residential development belonging to IFA Hotels and Resorts, Zimbali’s 18 holes are laid out within a coastal forest reserve on the north coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the course is routed through wetlands and woodland with substantial changes in elevation throughout.
Zimbali (meaning “place of flowers”) has certainly matured over the years and its playability has improved with the widening of landing areas and improved definition from some tee positions. The only downside here is that walking is not permitted on the course as the use of golf carts is compulsory.
The following edited extract is from the book Green Splendour by Juan Espi:
“The golf course runs alongside the Indian Ocean and boasts spectacular sea views from the 14th through to the 18th holes. Most of the tees are set high on hillsides or sand dunes with dramatic views over the course and countryside. The captivating mix of links-like holes on the front nine and tree-lined holes coming home create a memorable course that amply showcases Weiskopf’s love of coastal golf.
The remains of a ruined farmhouse framing an ageing wild fig tree dominate the entrance to the otherwise colonial-style clubhouse, another fine example of Zimbali’s philosophy of living in harmony with nature. Fish eagles, Goliath herons, sunbirds, vervet monkeys, the tamest bushbuck in Africa and the rare blue duiker all inhabit this par-72 eighteen hole golf course, which is also home to an abundance of rare flora.”
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Within two years of his last win on the PGA Tour in 1982, Tom Weiskopf had teamed up with architect Jay Morrish to establish what turned out to be a very successful design partnership.