Western Cape Top 25
3

Erinvale

Somerset West - Western Cape

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General manager: Janyne Marais
Golf director: Julian Shaw
Greenkeeper: Gregor Leckie
Club captain: Trevor Dukes
President: Koert Tulleners
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 73.8 out of 100
Conditioning14.2 / 20
Playability15.1 / 20
Aesthetics12.0 / 15
Design Variety10.7 / 15
Shot Values11.3 / 15
Memorability10.5 / 15

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6440 metres, CR74.6/137
White 6052 metres, CR72.2/135
Blue 5643 metres, CR69.8/129
Red 5110 metres, CR67.4/120
Women’s blue, CR76.6/140
Women’s red, CR72.8/131

Visitor green fee

Affiliated R1 050
Non-affiliated R1 595
May to November
R630 and R1 050
Golf cart R450

Course designer

Gary Player 1995

Contact

021 847 1144
www.erinvale.com

Previous Ranking

27 (2021) & 19 (2020)

Erinvale is blessed with a rare scenic site in South Africa, the back nine of the Gary Player course traversing the upper slopes of the Helderberg mountain overlooking Somerset West and the False Bay coastline. The tenth tee looks down from a height above the clubhouse. It’s the only Player design anywhere near Cape Town.

Erinvale was the first golf estate in the Cape Peninsula and Winelands, and the Somerset West development has been one of the success stories, thanks to its timely opening in 1995 which coincided with an upsurge in the local economy.

Developer David Gant had initially considered a basic course design, but Player convinced him to build a championship layout, which was the making of Erinvale. While it’s a mighty challenge for professionals from the black tees, the course scores high in playability for golfers from forward tees.

The front nine is flat, with water in play on six holes, while the back nine becomes a little more arduous for walkers as its holes climb the mountain slope. The beauty of the design though is that the holes play along the side of the slope, before you make the downhill run from the 15th. Golfers on the par-4 17th face one of the most daunting tee shots in the Cape, over the crest of a ridge with a fence on the right separating the estate from a nature reserve. 

A feature of the course’s design is its large greens and distinctive bunkering. There is a variety of bunker designs on display. Some are deep, with sheer revetted faces, others have wooden sleepers lining their high grassed faces, while there are those of a more conventional nature around greens and on fairways. Not every hole has a fairway bunker, while others have several. The greens have space for a multitude of pin positions, with vast distances between front and back.

The once modest clubhouse has grown in size and been upgraded several times over the years, and architecturally fits in beautifully against its surroundings, making it one of the finest in the Cape.

Erinvale celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020 by exhibiting 40 magnificent sculptures by Cape Town artist Anton Smit in and around the clubhouse.

Read: ERINVALE 25TH SOMETHING TO BEHOLD

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

63 by Hennie Otto, 2005 Vodacom Origins

Feature Holes

The closing holes at Erinvale, both strong par 4s, run parallel to each other, finishing side-by-side in front of the clubhouse. For the SA Opens in 2003 and 2004 the European Tour flipped them around so that the tournament finished on the club’s ninth hole. It has a long, narrow green guarded by a stream on the left and bunkers on the right.

Accommodation

The Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa is a luxury Cape Dutch Style establishment just outside the entrance gate to the estate and golf course.

Tournaments

World Cup of Golf 1996, won by South Africa.
SA Open in 2003 and 2004, both won by Trevor Immelman.

Practice Facility

Good-sized range with excellent short game facility a short uphill walk from clubhouse. Three teaching pros available for lessons: Rae Hast, Julian Shaw and Xanthé Gibson.

Did You Know

1/ Trevor Immelman, who won his two SA Open trophies at Erinvale, grew up in Somerset West and as a 15-year-old played golf at Erinvale with course designer Gary Player the year it opened.

2/ Erinvale had only been open for 18 months when the club hosted the 1996 World Cup of Golf, the first in South Africa. It attracted huge galleries in support of the victorious SA team of Ernie Els and Wayne Westner. Having a successful World Cup helped secure SA the Presidents Cup in 2003.

3/ The World Cup crowds were so festive and noisy that Ernie Els had to quieten them down: “We’re here to play golf, not rugby,” he said.

4/ Erinvale was originally a fruit farm owned by two Irish sisters, who sold to property developer David Gant in 1989. The word Erin is a romantic name for Ireland.

Club Champions

2022 Daniel Gross & Vicky Traut
2021 Philip Taberer & Megan Streicher
2020 Daniel Gross & Vicky Traut
2019 Philip Taberer & Vicky Traut
(Vicky Traut won 7 straight titles from 2014.)

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
What I like about Erinvale is the impressive green complexes. Impressive not only in design and conditioning but also in scale. It is possible to have 35-metre putts. The variety of pin positions provides endless options. The two nines are starkly different, the front flat and the back nine hilly. The course is in fabulous condition. My only gripe is that it is cluttered with stonework, wooden poles, ropes, flower beds. At 17 my approach shot bounced left of the green into an unnecessary bed of ornamental plants. Aesthetics and beautification of the course are appreciated, but not at the expense of playability.
Hamish Houston
12 January 2023
Erinvale has possibly the largest sized greens of any Top 100 course, which makes back pins a challenging proposition. They offer a multitude of pin positions and are cleverly designed. Misjudge your approach shot and you could find yourself with an extremely lengthy putt. I'm told by Greg Leckie, the club's long-serving superintendent, that all 18 occupy a total of 1.3 hectares (they wouldn't nearly fit into a rugby field), about double the normal size you find at most courses. And yet the tough long par-4 17th has a tiny green compared to the others, a narrow target between two greenside bunkers. Flirt with the edges of these greens and you are usually in trouble, water, ditches, swales and bunkers. The greens are magnificent for putting, running at a perfect pace, and the overall conditioning of the course cannot be faulted. The clubhouse downstairs has had another upgrade and is a comfortable and attractive space for before and after the round.
Stuart McLean
07 January 2023
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The course was in excellent condition for this time of year. Superb greens and bunkers. Many of the original pot bunkers have been replaced with shallower traps, easier for the average golfer to play from. The back nine offers interesting holes with spectacular views of False Bay and Helderberg range. The clubhouse has a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Members have an outstanding pro shop.
Warren Minster
05 November 2022
Erinvale has completed a major revamp of its clubhouse and has cleaned and replanted most of the flower beds on the course. This has made the course visually more open and welcoming. The conditioning is excellent, as can be expected at this time of year.
Willem van der Merwe
01 November 2022
Erinvale is in magnificent condition with good attention to detail around greens and bunkers. New gardens add to the beauty. New drainage going in left of 14th green. The greens are smooth and quick at 12/13 on stimpmeter. Fairways soft with the occasional mud ball, not unusual for winter conditions.
Henry Trevena
11 August 2022
Erinvale is in superb condition. Greens running close to 11 on the stimp and incredibly true. Bunkers very good with a pleasing granular sand. Fairways quite moist due to the clay base. Overall in stunning condition and highly recommended. A true test of golf right now.
David Frost
07 August 2022
A well designed course that suits golfers of differing handicaps.
Geoffrey Mitchell
10 March 2022
A fantastic experience and one of the Cape's finest courses. Brilliant service, facilities and conditioning. A superb back nine includes incredible scenery.
Craig Gunther
12 February 2022
Erinvale is one of the Western Cape's "Big Three" courses, and by Western Cape I'm not including the Garden Route which is part of the vast province but much further away from the Cape Peninsula, Winelands and Overberg regions. The other members of the "Big Three" are Pearl Valley and Arabella, and the three course designers are Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Peter Matkovich who between them can boast 22 courses in the SA Top 50. Erinvale is a championship test yet it has a more forgiving nature to it for the club golfer than Pearl Valley and Arabella. Ample room off the tee for one. It has a superb opening hole, a beautiful dogleg right par 4 to a strikingly creative raised green that seems to stretch forever. The greens at Erinvale are excellent in their design, size, and the quality of putting surface. Magnificent in summer. Erinvale is a rarity among top modern courses in not having a par 3 among the finishing holes. The last one is the 14th, which is far and away the best par 3, the others I find disappointingly middling (on two of them you're playing uphill to a hidden green).
Stuart McLean
27 January 2022
The course is playing well and in good condition, save for a number of small barren diseased patches on some fairways. The imposing mountains on the back nine are always a joy to experience.
Mark Lynam
05 October 2021
Erinvale can lay claim to having one of the most scenic practice ranges in South Africa, and a particularly good range too. It's an unusual facility in not being visible from the clubhouse, so visitors might miss it. It's built on a hillside above the clubhouse, and across the entrance road to the car park, so it's not that easy to access if you're in a hurry. Once there, however, golfers have stunning views of the Helderberg mountain range while playing their shots. The range offers excellent short game facilities, and the range itself has an uphill slant to it.
Stuart McLean
20 September 2021
Erinvale continues to mature and improve. It is in great condition.
Mark Lynam
30 April 2021
Erinvale is the only Gary Player design in the region around Cape Town, and it's a challenging course that has stood the test of time remarkably well. Generous sized greens will often leave you with some lengthy putts, but the slopes are all very fair. A variety of tee boxes makes it playable for everyone. The back nine is hilly, but this is an eminently walkable estate layout. Interestingly, Erinvale are micro-tining (6mm) their greens this autumn instead of following the traditional hollow-tining procedure which takes a few weeks for the greens to properly recover and usually results in lost rounds during that time. Erinvale are micro-tining three times (six weeks apart) and I was impressed with the speed of recovery inside a few days. The greens were running acceptably well.
Stuart McLean
12 October 2020
Erinvale is a true championship course yet I am not a lover of their greens which are soft under foot and tend to get bumpier as the day progresses. They do hold well but putting is tricky. The fairways are well maintained as are the bunkers which have consistent sand texture. The non-filling of divots is noticeable.
Henry Trevena
07 August 2020
Erinvale's four large storage dams, plus smaller ones, catch winter rainfall running off the Helderberg slopes and this helps the club maintain a high level of conditioning through the hot, windy summer months. The pro shop and 19th hole pubs have been redone and there is a new coffee shop with full-time barista in the clubhouse. New bunker complexes on eight and nine have solved the problem of sand loss due to high winds, and are a big improvement. Erinvale celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020, and more than 30 sculptures by Anton Smit have been installed around the course.
Willem van der Merwe
23 January 2020
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