62

Atlantic Beach Links

Melkbosstrand - Western Cape

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CEO: Francois Swart
Club manager: Tony Louw
Greenkeeper: Jacques van der Westhuizen (STM)
Club captains: Tony Amaro jnr & Nicki Mellis
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 69.1 out of 100
Conditioning13.7 / 20
Playability13.2 / 20
Aesthetics10.7 / 15
Design Variety11.5 / 15
Shot Values9.8 / 15
Memorability10.2 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6203 metres, CR72.8/127
White 5866 metres, CR71.0/123
Blue 5392 metres, CR68.8/114
Red 4945 metres, CR66.5/109
Women’s blue, CR74.3/132
Women’s red , CR71.7/124

Visitor green fee

R495 off-peak
R650 peak times

Course designer

Mark Muller,
Golf Data 2000

Contact

021 553 2223
www.atlanticbeachlinks.com

Previous ranking

68 (2022) & 69 (2021)

When The R&A first introduced International Final Qualifying venues for the Open Championship, their immediate choice in South Africa in 2004 was the new Atlantic Beach course at Melkbosstrand, 30 kilometres north from the Cape Town CBD. The linksy look of Atlantic Beach and the prevailing wind closely resembled the conditions you would expect to find at the Open. Today, Atlantic Beach is one of the country’s most successful golf estates, sold out with 867 homes, and the course retains that firm and fast links look.

Atlantic Beach, close to the ocean and Robben Island, has stunning views of Table Mountain, and offers a different golf experience to the other courses in the Western Cape. It has a rugged natural look, with the holes shaped and running in varied directions amidst indigenous Cape fynbos. The wind is usually a factor, but the layout has generously wide fairways. The greens are presented so they accept running shots into the pin, with swales and run-off areas. It is a wonderful winter venue in the Cape, with the sandy soil draining quickly after rain.

Improving the playability of the course has always been an uppermost consideration in terms of course management, and many of the original revetted-face bunkers have been modified for easier recovery shots, notably that known as “Hell Bunker” in the middle of the fairway on No 17.

The Atlantic Beach clubhouse has been converted into a lifestyle centre for estate residents, offering a bakery and coffee shop in the Milkwood Deli, the Sunbird restaurant and outside deck overlooking the 18th hole.

Read: ATLANTIC BEACH ON THE REBOUND

Read: RED TEE 61 AT ATLANTIC BEACH BY GREG WOODBRIDGE

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

65 by David Frost, 2005 Open Qualifying
65 by Jack Buchanan, 2022 Atlantic Beach Open*
*He won with a 12-under total of 132

Feature Holes

The opener at Atlantic Beach is a magnificent links hole, a daunting 404-metre par 4 where you tee off in front of the clubhouse. Australian Darius Oliver, in his book Planet Golf, rated it among his best 18 holes in the world. The left side of the fairway rises to a low sandy dune, and then falls away steeply into a valley before the green. Look out for some creative greens complexes, notably at the par-5 sixth which has two levels, a flat upper tier on the left, and a steeply sloping section on the right.

Accommodation

The Lodge at Atlantic Beach is a 20-room boutique hotel inside the estate and close to the clubhouse with a spa and leisure centre.

Practice Facility

Driving range close to clubhouse with 250-metre carry and 40 bays, half of them under cover. Range membership available to outside golfers (R1 750 annual fee not including balls), but otherwise no public admittance. Home to EOGA Academy, which has an indoor putting studio, headed by Derik Ferreira

Did You Know

1/ The South African flag is proudly displayed on each of the 18 flagsticks.

2/ Foreign visitors love the estate’s tranquil surroundings, and magnificent herd of springbok on the course.

3/ Atlantic Beach is the only SA club with a GEO certificate for work fostering nature, using resources responsibly, and supporting the local community.

4/ International Final Qualifying for the Open Championship in Scotland was held at Atlantic Beach in 2004 (won by James Kingston) and 2005 (David Frost). The Sunshine Tour visited in 2001, Kingston winning on 3-under 213.

5/ On May 21, 2003, Atlantic Beach members Clive van Druten and Giles Buchanan had consecutive holes-in-one at the seventh (now 16th), both using 8-irons.

6/ Club member Simon Wiley in 2022 became the first golfer to ace the par-4 fifth hole. There have been numerous aces at Atlantic Beach, including six alone in July 2021. Alan Bland has had five since the course opened. Sunshine Tour player Luca Filippi was 11 when he aced No 14 in 2011.

Club Champions

2022 Greg Woodbridge & Candice Woodbridge*
2021 Willie Olivier & Ashleigh Mills
2020 No championship
2019 Jack Buchanan (age 14) & Ashleigh Mills
*Husband and wife champions

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Facility
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
I watched this golf estate grow from nothing but only became a member in 2019 having previously played at Malmesbury. Atlantic Beach is never easy even with no wind. During the dry summer months it is a true links with firm fairways and fast greens. But stray from the centre and the rollout can take your ball into the rough or worse. In the winter it all changes as the fairways become softer with less roll. The greens slow to a snail's pace. While the houses add slight protection from the wind, there are areas where the course becomes a beast. Members may be heard grumbling in the 19th. Overall, this course may present as a little "worn" yet it always bounces back.
Ian McInnes
24 December 2023
Course is improving and in excellent condition. Changes being made to bunkers and fairways.
Ian McInnes
28 August 2023
View more reviews
Atlantic Beach is getting better and better, and thus more playable. Not only the course but the clubhouse atmosphere. The greens are now challenging the best in the Cape as they go from strength to strength. The fairways are struggling at this time of year though. The new bunker project is fantastic. Catch Atlantic on a calm day, as I did, and you'll be rewarded.
Warren Minster
26 June 2023
In 2021 and 2022 I played 515 rounds in the Western Cape and Atlantic Beach Links had the most consistent greens in the region. I have been a member since 2007 and the course and club facilities have improved tremendously the last few years. Atlantic Beach also offers one of the best lifestyles you can enjoy.
Nigel Pillay
16 April 2023
Good time of year to play golf in Cape Town. Especially when the wind dies to a pleasant refreshing breeze. It will keep you thinking on the course while keeping you cool and calm. The fairways at Atlantic Beach allow for some run but not much. The greens are in great condition running at a comfortable and fair 10 on the Stimpmeter. Halfway house well organised with pleasant service. Good fun joining mates at the 19th once done. A wonderful experience at a beautiful club.
Steve Robarts
06 February 2023
Breathtaking views at Atlantic Beach. No quirky holes and the most playable par 4s of any course. Precision shots are required though. The greens are incredible, the tees need work, and the newly designed bunkers on the back nine are a big improvement.
Greg Woodbridge
28 December 2022
What a relief to find that Atlantic Beach's "Hell Bunker" has been removed! A deep pit of sand built into a mound in the middle of the fairway of the challenging par-4 17th, it was the bane of those who couldn't hit a tee shot long enough to clear it. There's still a bunker in that spot, but the mound has been lowered, and it's an easier recovery shot from the sand. The course has seen a bunker renovation project in 2022, with some modified for playability, others removed or due to be removed, like the pot bunkers in front of the ninth green. Atlantic Beach is one of our best coastal courses (those close to the shoreline) principally due to the interesting variety of the holes and excellent design and contouring of the greens. It has a number of memorable holes which makes it not only a strong challenge but a wonderful visual experience even though it's part of a residential estate. That's due to the attractive fynbos that frames the holes, notably on the back nine.
Stuart McLean
28 December 2022
The conditioning of Atlantic Beach has improved considerably with the fairways changing to kikuyu and the greens now rate among the best in Cape Town. The fairways are generous in width if the wind doesn't blow. A wonderful test and beautiful views of Table Mountain and the city to be had. Changes to the clubhouse are nothing but spectacular increasing the foot count. The trip is well worth it. Best bring your A game if the wind is blowing!
Warren Minster
01 November 2022

Atlantic Beach continues to improve its overall conditioning. Most of the previously bare fairways have been replanted with kikuyu. The greenside bunkers at No 12 have been reshaped by taking the steep faces away and grassing them, giving the hole more of a linksy feel. Evidently the bunker on the right side of the 17th fairway will be removed. Plus the ninth fairway bunker as it serves no value. The greens are slow but smooth. They only cut them on Mondays and Fridays in winter.

Henry Trevena
01 July 2022
The location of Atlantic Beach allows golfers to experience breathtaking views, including Table Mountain. The course is not the most playable, with many blind shots and forced carries. That being said the greens are excellent and the work to restore many of the fairways on the front nine is progressing. The general course conditioning is acceptable. The flow of the course is the most significant drawback and it often feels that your round is stuttering along rather than following an easy flow. Many great links have charming design quirks or a hole routing which makes for an enjoyable journey around a tract of natural land. Atlantic Beach in contrast feels "over designed" and unclear. Our group often relied on the cart GPS to define the approach to a hole. Simplification of the routing and clarity on the lines to take off the tee would significantly enhance the experience for the first-time visitor.
Jon James
11 March 2022
Atlantic Beach, barring some fairways, has recovered completely from the course's troubled year in 2018 during Cape Town's water crisis. The greens are at their best and comparable to any in the region. A true links style test of golf especially in any wind where a golfer needs to be attentive. Renovations to the clubhouse have elevated it into a world-class facility giving one a sense of homely comfort and social activity.
Warren Minster
12 January 2022
Atlantic Beach is a good links challenge, especially when the wind blows as it does in the summer. There’s a good variety of undulating and twisting holes presenting challenging shots, some blind, to well contoured and conditioned greens. The views are spectacular, particularly those across Table Bay on the par-3 third and 14th holes. The newly modified clubhouse makes for a welcoming halfway house and 19th hole.
Mark Lynam
22 November 2021
The more I play Atlantic Beach the more I enjoy the course which has come a long way in condition from the bare fairways caused by the Cape Town water crisis. The fairways have virtually recovered and should soon be perfect with the amount of winter rain in the area. The greens are great to putt on and the bunkers consistent with quality sand.
Henry Trevena
04 July 2021
Atlantic Beach have just finished hollow-tining their greens so they need another week or so to settle. The fairways are patchy but should recover. Green surrounds are healthy and give that links feel to the course.
Henry
17 May 2021
Interesting course with magnificent views of Table Mountain from many holes. Fairways were very dry and patchy which necessitated a 2-club placing local rule. It's important to stay on the fairways as the rough is a conservation area and treated as a red penalty area. In the wind, this course can be pretty tough.
Amy Laird
26 February 2021
Atlantic Beach is a distinctively unique golf course. Not everyone's cup of tea, as I experienced this week in a whistling south-easter, yet there's lots to like about a layout that offers an excellent variety of holes on gently undulating terrain. Every hole has its own natural linksy look and feel to it, with an attractive ruggedness in places. I liked the splashes of white sand here and there, the boldness of the bunkering, although most of them can be safely avoided. The greens are beautifully built and they add to the challenge on windy days. The clubhouse has been refurbished with a highly appealing lifestyle theme that has delighted home owners on the estate.
Stuart McLean
22 January 2021
After not playing Atlantic Beach for a few years the transformation that has taken place on and off the course is incredible.
Gareth Pritchard
10 December 2020
Atlantic Beach Links has come on in leaps and bounds the last couple of months. Good rain has allowed the fairways to recover. The greens are consistent and smooth. The greenkeeper and staff from STM are to be complimented on their achievement in bringing the course back from where it had deteriorated. However, they have not properly maintained the bunkers post lockdown.
Henry Trevena
30 August 2020

Atlantic Beach is one of the unsung gems among coastal courses in South Africa. It is 20 years since it opened and the more I play it the more I appreciate how uniquely interesting and challenging this layout has become. It has so many of the characteristics of a true links, with a fabulous variety of holes. It is unconventional compared to all the other Cape layouts -- designer Mark Muller was creative with his terrific greens complexes -- and this to me makes it so much fun to play in the right conditions. The current conditioning is excellent.

Stuart McLean
28 August 2020
There is way too much grass in both the rough and on the fairways, which have become too narrow for a windy links course like Atlantic Beach. Hardly any run on the fairways and the thick rough is punishing. The bunkers are not being maintained or raked by members, and the same with divots. On the positive side most of the bare areas on the fairways are now covered. Hopefully that covering will last through the summer. The clubhouse is currently being refurbished, so there is a temporary pro shop, halfway house and 19th hole.
Anton Bezuidenhout
25 August 2020
Thanks to the winter rains the fairways have improved 100% and the course is far more playable. The attention to detail has improved. Greens have a good surface and consistent to putt on, running about 10 on the stimp. The clubhouse is currently being upgraded, but the locker room is open.
Henry Trevena
02 August 2020

An awesome layout, challenge, aesthetics. 

warren minster
08 April 2020
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