High up with the (golf) gods at Pezula Golf Club

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On our way along the Garden Route in South Africa we also stayed in Knysna for a couple of days and enjoyed the comforting and luxurious Conrad Pezula resort. As a hotel guest it was no question that we wanted to play the attached golf course, especially as it constantly ranks high in South Africa’s list of best golf courses.

Pezula is a word in the Shona language and loosely translated means something like ‘high up with the gods’. After playing this magnificent course located on the Eastern Knysna Head we can support the idea that some golf gods might have been involved in creating this beautiful course. It’s a breathtaking experience and you feel some supernatural powers all the way, it’s just not easy to transform that into perfect strokes and scores.

But anyway, Pezula sits on top of the Sparrebosch cliff and offers views over the Indian Ocean to the one side and the Knysna lagoon to the other. With that there is a lot of distraction which again does not support your score either; it’s both the landscape and the course layout which will blow you away.

It’s difficult to put Pezula in a specific golf architecture genre, but like Pinnacle Point, which has a similar look and feel, Pezula wouldn’t fit into a strict segmentation. It features some inland holes with a classic parkland feel, offers some rolling holes without any (or at least very little) vegetation just like links courses – and all this on top of some cliffs with great views over the ocean.

The course in general is quite difficult to play, you would want to place your balls wisely, need some length off the tee and some course experience will help as well. The wind plays a role and also the huge elevation changes from tee to green or vice versa are not to be underestimated.

Pezula is a cart-only course, which is a good thing because the overall setting of the course can be described as extremely hilly and also the distances from green to tee are longer than usual I would suppose.

The service of the personnel was extremely good, everybody is friendly and helpful, just as you would expect in South Africa.

As a collector I was a bit disappointed that Pezula doesn’t offer any yardage book. Their excuse was that their GPS system would do all the work, which is correct in a way, but I would have loved to take something home with me together with the customary logo ball.

Some small areas here and there were unfortunately under repair and even some bunkers were completely closed due to ongoing maintenance work. That’s not pretty but understandable as we played the course just days before the big holiday season kicked off. Usual prep I guess.

Most impressive holes:

  • 1: Difficult start, par-5, stroke 1 with a split fairway. Long-hitters can reach the second part of the fairway behind a small but ball-sucking gorge with the second shot. Others have to lay-up and hope for a bogey.
  • 2: Along water to the right.
  • 5: Parkland par-3.
  • 10: Down-hill tee shot followed by up-hill approach shot.
  • 14: Probably the most scenic green in the whole of South Africa?! Definitely the most photographed in Pezula. Relatively short par-4 with a medium-sized green, guarded by a totally crazy bunker system. Offering fantastic ocean views!
  • 16, 17: Two par-4s with intimidating tee shots for men, playing over huge rough and gorge areas, asking for long hits and enough carry.

As a conclusion, when you are traveling the Garden Route, Knysna is a typical stop. Treat yourself with at least one fantastic round of golf at Pezula if you have time, probably another one at Simola on the other side of town and make sure you enjoy the ocean and the South African hospitality as much as you can. It’s a beautiful country and this spot is particularly pretty.

Golficiency Rating: 8/10

Planning for South Africa in full swing

You may or may not know, Golficiency will travel to South Africa later this year. We’ll be heading south again to Africa and this time it’s the Cape region we’re gonna travel to.

The planning and organisation is in full swing but nothing is really fixed yet. Therefore the overall agenda is quite packed, but we’re still trying to figure out how to get all the dots connected.

Obviously on our list is a safari, then traveling along the Garden Route, a bit of hiking, beaching and whale watching at the coast, wining and dining in the Winelands, sightseeing at the Cape Peninsula, chilling in Camps Bay and then finishing and relaxing in the beautiful city of Cape Town.

When you’ve been there already and you know what I’m talking about here, then you are lucky. I’ve never touched ground on South African soil, but I can’t wait to and will definitely read more and more about this great country over the next months.

One of all the great things you can do in South Africa as well is golfing! The British brought their love for the game and it stayed when they left. Plus in this region you have the perfect golf weather all year round. That in combination with numerous first class courses makes this place on earth somewhat special; a golfing heaven.

I talked to quite a number of people already, received a lot of great advice and I’ve read so much about golf in RSA over the last weeks that I’m pretty confident that I came up with a superb list of golf courses which I could play. As I said, the planning is not yet fully done and I have currently no feeling for how many golf days I can manage to squeeze in but if I could, I’d play all of them!

Due to the route we’re taking and to reduce the number of domestic flights, I crossed out two major golf destinations already. One being Sun City and the other one the famous Leopard Creek Country Club, just at the southern tip of the world famous Kruger National Park.

What I came up with is a list of some highly regarded courses and clubs, which I tried to group in sort of the geographical order along the south coast of South Africa (incl. architects):

Knysna

George

Cape Town

So that’s the list of courses which is my basis for further planning. I keep you in the loop once I decide on further steps in the organisation process. As always there might be some changes to the current plan but I have to start with something.

Even Gary Player likes the idea!

I really feel humbled that Gary Player from time to time responds to my tweets. He is one of my heroes, not only for the golf but from a personality standpoint as well and I can’t wait to be in South Africa, walk in his shoes and play golf courses that he had designed. I have a similar strong feeling to Ernie Els and as he’s from RSA as well, I’m sure the trip will be unforgettable.

If you have a personal tip to share, please let me know—via a comment below or the contact site. Thank you.