Essential Guide to South Africa

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Your essential guide to playing golf in South Africa

It's no surprise that South Africa's greatest-ever golfer, Gary Player, is the man behind the very best, and our favourite, courses in the Rainbow Nation. The nine-time major champion's Country Club layout at the world-renowned Sun City Resort is among the ner examples.

Host of the European Tour's Nedbank Golf Challenge, the parkland ranks among the country's top-five and boasts some of the world's nest greens. It also has one of Africa's best holes in its par-5 9th, a true three-shotter with an island green climax. The neighbouring Lost City course is exceptional in its own right with plenty of water to protect it. Just be sure to avoid it on the par-3 13th... it's a crocodile pit!

The two courses sit within the spectacular Vegas-style resort, opened in 1979. It has everything required to create a dream holiday and warrant the 5,500-mile ight, from luxury hotels, restaurants and casinos, to the world's fastest zipline, beaches, watersports and wildlife. Sun City lies next to one of the country's largest game parks, Pilanesberg, where you'll nd lions, leopards, elephants, bu alo and rhino. No wonder the pros rank their annual visit to the North West province as a highlight of the season.

But Player's best work can be found at Fancourt, a five-star, three-course resort situated in the heart of the Garden Route in the Western Cape. The British inspired Links is considered the country's No.1, ranks among the World's Top 50 and hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup. And as you stand on the 1st tee it's incredible to think that the undulating fairways, revetted pot bunkers and traditional links greens were once a at air field. The tree-lined parkland Montagu also ranks in the country's Top 10, while Player's Outeniqua has the stunning mountain of the same name as its backdrop and features plenty of water.

Click here to find out more about Fancourt

More evidence of Player's  fine eye for design can be found at the almost American- style Leopard Creek Country Club in the Mpumalanga province. Host venue of the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Challenge, the course sits at the border of Kruger National Park in Malelane, offering views of giraffes, hippos and crocodiles in the wild.

The Crocodile River snakes through the fairways, while a major reconstruction in 2017 saw the par-3 12th redesigned, bunkers repositioned, grasses changed for year-round playability and fairways widened to help handicap golfers and secure the course's No.2 spot in the country. The venue remains private but staying at certain local accommodations will help you get on. If you do, be sure to tackle the par-3 course, which replicates some of the world's best short holes.

THE ESSENTIALS

Logistics Fly non-stop from London to Johannesburg in around 11 hours, or to Cape Town in around 11-and-a-half, for around £400.

Time difference: GMT+2