Champagne Sports Resort

Central Drakensberg - KwaZulu-Natal

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Golf Director: Trevor Livesey
Greenkeeper: Trevor Livesey
Club Captain: James Macquet
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 72.4 out of 100
Conditioning13.8 / 20
Playability15.0 / 20
Aesthetics12.8 / 15
Design Variety10.0 / 15
Shot Values11.0 / 15
Memorability9.8 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Gold 6694 metres, CR75.2/147
White 6203 metres, CR72.3/141
Blue 5632 metres, CR69.2/129
Red 4757 metres, CR64.8/119
Women’s blue, CR75.7/146
Women’s red, CR70.2/133

Visitor green fee

R520 non-residents
R345 hotel and timeshare guests

Course designer

Hugh Baiocchi 1997


036 468 8000

Previous ranking


The clubhouse at Champagne Sports Resort occupies one of the great locations in world golf. Perched on a hillside above the golf course it offers panoramic views of the mighty Drakensberg mountain range and the surrounding countryside. There’s an outside deck where golfers can relax and enjoy the beautiful setting throughout the year, and a fireplace inside for winter weather.

The parkland course is one of the most scenic in the country, and the only 18-hole course this close to the Central Drakensberg peaks, with bent grass greens.

For a holiday resort it’s a big, strong layout with one challenging hole after another, full of elevation changes and undulating terrain, and well-bunkered. It’s at its best in the summer months, when the conditioning is outstanding, while in winter the kikuyu fairways become brown and firm, making for longer drives and shorter approaches.

It’s a course that immediately gets a golfer’s attention playing the opening holes alongside the deep Sterkspruit river gorge that cuts through the property. The 430-metre second is a terrific par 4 playing steeply downhill with the gorge on the left.

No golf club in South Africa is as reliant on one man as Champagne Sports Resort. The day-to-day operations are the responsibility of golf director Trevor Livesey who has worked there for 25 years. He started as a youthful greenkeeper in the first year of course construction in 1994, then became the club pro, and has been there ever since.  A former Natal provincial golfer who learned the game at Huletts CC (now Mount Edgecombe), and represented the SA Junior team, he is a PGA of SA professional and combines his greenkeeping duties with both that of golf director and teaching professional. Another feather in his cap is that he holds the course record of 63.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

63 by Trevor Livesey (twice)

Feature Holes

Beautiful and spectacular holes abound at Champagne Sports Resort. Those brave enough can try out the championship gold tee on the first which stretches this par 5 to 605 metres. At one time it was the longest hole in South Africa. The tee shot has to carry the river flowing beneath the clubhouse. The fourth is a magnificent par 3 played from an elevated tee across a wide expanse of water to a narrow green. There’s a splendid trio of holes to finish, flowing downhill back to the clubhouse, starting with the 201m 16th, then back-to-back par 4s of 400 metres, with a stream bordering the left side. A water hazard guards the front of the elevated 18th green.


The resort hotel offers 152 bedrooms/suites with either mountain or garden views. It is one of the premier conference venues in South Africa, able to host 1000 delegates at one time. The resort offers a spa, gym, numerous leisure activities, kids and teens clubs, running and mountain bike trails.

Practice Facility

Practice putting and chipping greens, and warm-up net, at clubhouse.

Did You Know

1/ Champagne Sports Resort first opened as a 9-hole course in 1996. This was the current front nine. Then came the second nine the following year and the building of the clubhouse. The project was driven by the resort owners, twin brothers Roger and Alain Macquet.

2/ Champagne Castle is one of the nearby peaks and the second highest in South Africa at 3377 metres. It was named by two 19th century mountaineers who were about to toast their feat of ascending the mountain with a glass of champagne when a guide dropped and broke the bottle.

3/ Course designer Hugh Baiocchi, the 1978 SA Open champion, was beginning a new career on the US Senior Tour in 1996/97 while Champagne was being built. His drawings were left in the hands of consulting architect Alasdair McLeod (who today runs the pro shop at Windsor Park in Durban) and Trevor Livesey, who were both on site and supervised the fairway contouring, shaping of greens, and location of bunkers.

4/ The 9-hole Monks Cowl course adjoins Champagne Sports Resort.

5/ There has never been a club championship at the golf course.

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Course Reviews
This is a special time of year to be playing golf in the KZN Drakensberg and no better place to unwind for a long weekend break than this wonderful resort. Many of the trees at Champagne Sports are changing colour as autumn arrives, so the course is looking particularly beautiful. The air is crisper. There was a thunderstorm during the night before my round, followed by heavy rain. But the course drains well and was eminently playable other than water in some bunkers. The Drakensberg region, like most of South Africa, has had vast quantities of rain this summer, and Champagne Sports has benefitted from it in terms of conditioning. The greens are superb as always.
Thomas Souness
30 April 2021
The Drakensberg rains over December and January, together with the knowledge of (greenkeeper) Trevor Livesey, has left this course in excellent condition.
Kogin Naicker
14 February 2021
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A firm favourite of mine. The fairways are tight with established trees playing a huge role, water is an occasional factor, and length is required off the tee most of the time. Great par 3s are the standout, but I enjoy all the holes equally.
Chris Wood
16 January 2021
Big greens, big bunkers, big landscape. Everything is on a large scale at Champagne Sports Resort, one of South Africa's lesser known top courses due to its remoteness in the Central Drakensberg. With so many tree-lined fairways, doglegs, and cleverly positioned bunkers it's more championship layout than gentle resort experience, yet there is a friendly side to it that the average golfer will enjoy as much as the low-handicap. The vast greens are impressive, both in their magnificent design and quality of surface. Pin positions abound and the greens complexes offer plenty of entertainment. No impossible putts, just fun for chipping and putting. The clubhouse setting is spectacular, hard to beat for the views and outdoor ambience.
Stuart McLean
29 November 2020
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