68

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: Nigel Pillay & Pam Welz
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 67.9 out of 100
Conditioning13.3 / 20
Playability12.6 / 20
Aesthetics10.5 / 15
Design Variety11.5 / 15
Shot Values9.8 / 15
Memorability10.2 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6215 metres, CR 73.5/136
White 5864 metres, CR72.4/132
Blue 5392 metres, CR69.3/124
Red 4945 metres, CR67.9/117
Women’s blue, CR74.9/137
Women’s red, CR72.9/128

Visitor green fee

R400 affiliated; R500 non-affiliated

Course designer

Mark Muller,
Golf Data 2000

Contact

021 553 2223
www.atlanticbeachlinks.com

Previous Ranking

69 (2021) & 72 (2020)

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 860 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.

Atlantic Beach suffered during the 2018 Cape water crisis when their effluent water supply built up a high concentration of sodium and chloride. The greens are now superb, while the fairways – reseeded with a drought resistant cynodon – have only partially recovered through continuing lack of water. The crisis enabled Atlantic Beach to be better prepared and water wise for the future.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

65 by David Frost, 2005 Open Qualifying

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 on estate with 250-metre carry, and home to A2B Academy headed by Blanche Lamprecht.

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.

Club Champions

2021 Willie Olivier & Ashleigh Mills
2020 No championship
2019 Jack Buchanan (age 14) & Ashleigh Mills

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Range
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews

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
View more reviews
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. Current struggle with water supply has hampered fairway conditioning.

warren minster
08 April 2020
Atlantic Beach going through a difficult time. The par-5 sixth has been converted to a par 3 as the fairway is mainly sand. Hopefully with winter rains the course will improve. On the plus side the greens are true and bunkers consistent.
Henry Trevena
19 February 2020

Unfortunately the effects of Cape Town's water crisis is still evident here, although the greens remain excellent.

Anton Bezuidenhout
13 February 2020
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