Western Cape Top 25
Stellenbosch, Winelands - Western Cape
Managing director: Jason Bird
Golf director: Alfie Payne
Greenkeeper: Louis Jonker (Golf Data)
Club Captain: Clive Heward
Chairman: Roy Braxton
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 72.4 out of 100
Conditioning13.8 / 20
Playability15.1 / 20
Aesthetics12.5 / 15
Design Variety10.7 / 15
Shot Values10.8 / 15
Memorability9.5 / 15
Five tees / Par 72
Yellow, 6324 metres, CR 72.9/133
White, 5939 metres, CR71.0/124
Blue, 5446 metres, CR68.4/120
Red, 5073 metres, CR66.9/114
Green, 4473 metres, CR64.1/110
Women’s white, CR77.7/142
Women’s blue, CR74.5/136
Women’s red, CR72.1/129
Women’s green, CR68.6/125
Visitor green fee
Peter Matkovich 1999/2000
021 880 7300
35 (2021) & 33 (2020)
De Zalze is one of South Africa’s most scenic golf estates, enjoying a beautiful setting outside Stellenbosch, with mountains as a backdrop. The clubhouse terrace, with fine views over the soft rolling countryside, is a popular spot for golfers and home owners to relax and socialise. The white-walled homes with their high pitches and gables exude a distinct architectural character. The Blaauwklippen River runs through the property, and there are two magnificent storage dams, one on each nine, which add to the aesthetics of the golf course.
De Zalze was chosen as the venue for the 2006 World Amateur Team Championships in order to showcase what the Cape and South Africa has to offer as a golfing destination.
The Peter Matkovich design is striking in its varying range of holes, tranquil scenery and superb conditioning. The fairways are generously wide, yet the approaches to greens require precise shot-making. Water hazards closely guard three of the par 3s. It has an excellent array of risk-and-reward par 5s, notably the 17th where the river forms a shallow ravine in front of the green. The 14th is a much improved par 5 following recent changes and Table Mountain stands as a distant backdrop. Here, a group of large bunkers in the middle of the fairway offer a choice of options; long hitters can go down the right to have a more direct approach to the green.
De Zalze undertook significant upgrades in 2022 to improve the drainage on the course and renovate and reshape the bunkers. Curb stones and improved turning circles were introduced on cart paths around tees and greens to better manage cart traffic. The landscaping has been transformed with numerous newly planted areas around the course.
Additional Course Facts
The 18th is one of the best short par 4s in the country, both in terms of its unique challenge and attractive looks. The Blaauwklippen River runs through the middle of the hole. The championship tee (308 metres) is positioned high on a hill among the vineyards, and for the bold player only a long confident drive will carry the river to get close to the green on the other side. Most golfers will lay up short of the river on a broad expanse of fairway, but must take care to avoid two ancient and tall oaks close to the river bank which serve as sentinels protecting the green.
De Zalze Lodge overlooks the first fairway, and Winelands Lodge the tenth fairway. Guests enjoy wine tastings at Kleine Zalze, fine dining at Terroir restaurant. The estate has cycling trails.
World Amateur Team Championship 2006;
SA Amateur 2006; SA Strokeplay 2019
A fair-sized range with mats adjoins the first tee, plus a short-game area. Practice putting green at clubhouse. Resident teaching pro Murray Smit, the 2021 PGA Coach of the Year, has an academy behind the clubhouse.
Did You Know
1/ Golfing history was made at De Zalze in 2006 when the South African women’s team won the Espirito Santo Trophy at the 2006 World Team Champs, the only time South Africa has triumphed at this biennial event.
2/ Rory McIlroy played at De Zalze as a 17-year-old member of the Irish team at the 2006 Eisenhower Trophy. He had a 67 in the final round. Branden Grace, 17, won the 2006 SA Strokeplay at De Zalze on 11-under 277.
3/ The Kleine Zalze wine estate has its wine tasting centre and restaurant adjoining the second tee.
4/ De Zalze was originally known as Spier CC, having been developed by the nearby wine farm which is a big attraction for visitors to the area.
5/ De Zalze borders Stellenbosch Airport, and in 2005 an ex-SAAF Harvard made an emergency landing on the par-five 17th.
2022 Crismar Engelbrecht & Ineke Brynard
2021 Francois le Roux & Ineke Brynard
2020 Alex Jordan & Shani Brynard
2019 Francois le Roux & Shani Brynard
63, Garrick Higgo, Jayden Schaper at 2019 SA Strokeplay
George Coetzee shot 61 (31-30) in first round of 2022 Vodacom Origins. It was not a course record as placing was allowed. He had 9 birdies and an eagle 2 at 18. He won with a 21-under total of 195. Runner-up Joe Long (England) had a 62.
Course and Facilities Rating
Recent course improvements, bunker shaping and quality among them, have made a positive impact to De Zalze's aesthetics and playability, as have improved drainage, shifting of cart paths, selective tree felling, and a scalpel taken to some of the slopes on greens. The addition of native grasses to out-of-play areas adds huge value to the beauty and integration of the course into the landscape.
12 January 2023
De Zalze's course keeps getting better. Much work has been done and it's showing. The science behind the bunker programme and reconstruction is first world. There are visual changes that make the course more enjoyable to play. New club management and programmes set in place have lifted the overall experience. Visitors feel relaxed and at home.
11 January 2023
De Zalze has done much good work in 2022. New drainage installed, bunkers re-conditioned and older trees removed. These have made a huge visual difference and improvement to holes on the back nine. Four tough par 3s make up for some forgettable par 4s.
Willem van der Merwe
26 December 2022
Great to play De Zalze again and see how the course has settled after the many changes done to it this past year. The drainage upgrades should have a significant impact during winter. Conditioning is excellent, and the detailed landscaping project will add to the course's aesthetics. The De Zalze team is doing a commendable job and the entire experience is top class.
Lihan van der Merwe
15 December 2022
It is evident that proper planning was undertaken with all the 2022 course upgrades around drainage, landscaping, bunker renovations and cart paths at De Zalze and do them correctly. The course, as a result, has a better feeling around playability and vantages. The estate is on the right path to creating one of the best experiences in the Western Cape.
05 December 2022
Golfers playing De Zalze will find the course drier and firmer, partly due to low rainfall this past winter in the Cape, yet mainly the result of extensive drainage work in 2022. De Zalze has had a past issue with wet, spongy fairways, damp bunkers, and sodden areas which affected the playability for golfers. Club member Martin Burger was tasked with the project of identifying poor drainage and took to the work like a trojan. Stormwater ditches and pipes were cleared, levelled and flushed (a new one installed on 17), silt removed from ditches, and some four kilometres of new drainage pipes added around the 18 holes, 572 metres alone on the second, a prime problem. A creek next to the ninth green was closed and moved underground into a pipe. The look of the holes at De Zalze has changed with the reshaping of many fairway and greenside bunkers, and removal of some, notably one behind the green at No 7 and those in the fairway mound at No 17. Plus, there's an ongoing landscaping project that is transforming the out-of-play areas, adding contrast and improving the general aesthetics.
04 December 2022
A welcome change is De Zalze's bunker refurbishment. Most of the greenside bunkers are shallower, from where you can putt on to the greens, an easier escape for most golfers. Removing a strategic mound (right of third green) and a stream (front of ninth green) has made the course more user friendly. Conditioning was superb.
06 November 2022
De Zalze have made changes to their course which are good improvements. This includes the flattening of the slope on the green of the par-3 third, also the greenside bunker; the removal of the creek left of the green on the par-3 ninth, and the addition of a new greenside bunker on the long par-4 11th. Other work includes upgrades to cart paths, redoing all the bunkers, and adding drainage from which the course will benefit during the wet winter months. Looking forward to returning in summer when the changes have settled.
Lihan van der Merwe
15 September 2022
De Zalze is in magnificent condition. There have been changes to the course too. Right of the second green the swale has been lifted and is now level with the green. Bunkers right of the green on the par-5 sixth are shallower and smaller as the dam wall has been increased in size, allowing water closer to the green. The bunker behind the eighth green has been removed and grassed. The stream close to the par-3 ninth green, plus a bunker, have been removed and grassed. On the back nine all the bunkers have been redone and made shallower. The two bunkers left of the par-3 12th green have been converted into one. The fairway bunkers on the par-5 17th have been removed, while at 18 the two bunkers right of the green have become one.
08 August 2022
The Cape Winelands region offers a variety of excellent golfing experiences and De Zalze must be one of the best in terms of its course and facilities. A challenging Matkovich design and afterwards a warm social ambience on the outside patio of the clubhouse, which was busy well into the evening with golfers and residents. An outing at De Zalze needs to be complemented with a meal and some wine afterwards. Don't be in a hurry to leave. This strong layout has a particularly outstanding set of par 5s that are anything but routine. The sixth is a fabulous three-shotter alongside one of the two large dams on the estate, as is 17 where the river winds protectively around the front of a raised green. Walking off with a par on these two holes feels an achievement. The other two par 5s, Nos 8 and 14, are very different altogether so the unique characteristics of each of them adds to the overall enjoyment.
27 February 2022
De Zalze has worked hard this past year to improve the drainage on the course, and it's already noticeable on some holes, notably the first. Fairways are firmer and running and that improves the playing experience for everyone on a course that boasts several long par 4s and par 5s. De Zalze also has a challenging set of par 3s. Water comes into play around the green on three of them, No 3, 9 and 11. Only a handful of Top 100 courses give golfers that daunting experience! A big project for De Zalze in 2022 is landscaping the property with plants indigenous to the Winelands region. With leading landscape architect Patrick Watson commissioned for the task it promises to provide a signature change to the look and feel of the estate and course.
20 January 2022
De Zalze has come on in leaps and bounds the past few years. The introduction of native grasses in the spaces between the playing area, around the tees, and the trees on the course filling, have added greatly to the aesthetics. Greens remain firm and true, though a touch slower than expected. Conditioning was very good, other than the bunkers which were inconsistent, some with barely any sand. Personally I would like to see one or more of the par 5s being shortened a touch to encourage shot value. Currently 3 of the 4 are not reachable in two for mortals.
16 November 2021
It’s sad to see what De Zalze have done to the 6th and 7th holes. The 6th is no longer the same tough par 5. The first group of fairway bunkers on the right within driving distance have been removed and grassed over, plus bunkers further on that could catch a second shot. They have been replaced with two smaller bunkers on the opposite side of the fairway. The fairway bunkers left on No 7 have been redesigned.
14 June 2021
Course is in good condition and currently undergoing significant bunker modifications, but only impacting play on the par-5 sixth hole. Greens not up to the usual high standard.
01 May 2021
The setting at De Zalze is picturesque. The course meanders through vineyards and olive groves, past lakes and streams, the mountains of the Stellenbosch region providing a breathtaking backdrop. Clever positioning of fairway bunkers ask for thought from the tee. The 13th and 18th serve as reminders that good golf holes do not need to be strong in order to be remembered. Perhaps a few too many par 4s, especially on the front nine, do not need more than a good drive and a wedge. De Zalze has a fantastic set of par 5s, notably the two on the back nine. The first of these, No 14, is laid out beautifully in front of you from the elevated tee box and is a sight to behold. The second, No 17, is a great strategic hole. De Zalze is a fun course which showcases Winelands golf in the most excellent fashion.
23 March 2021
De Zalze has the most beautiful setting and clubhouse, great practice facilities and superb greens. It is a successful club always working on improving conditions and service. On Wednesday evenings you will find a packed clubhouse with a great atmosphere, a must to add to your golfing experience.
16 February 2021
The best I’ve seen De Zalze. Greens are being dusted every other Monday. They are firm and true for putting. Bunkers have been upgraded since lockdown and much improved. Fairways in good shape, although sadly players don’t seem to like filling their divots. This is a good time to play De Zalze.
07 August 2020
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