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
R345 hotel and timeshare guests
Hugh Baiocchi 1997
036 468 8000
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.
63 by Trevor Livesey (twice)
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 putting and chipping greens, and warm-up net, at clubhouse.
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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