Somerset West - Western Cape
Golf director: Julian Shaw
Greenkeeper: Gregor Leckie
Club captain: Trevor Dukes
President: Koert Tulleners
General manager: Janyne Marais
Clubhouse manager: Urs Kern
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 6506 metres, CR75.3/146
White 6202 metres, CR73.3/142
Blue 5840 metres, CR70.6/139
Red 5222 metres, CR68.4/129
Women’s blue, CR76.9/142
Women’s red, CR73.7/134
Visitor green fee
January to April
Gary Player 1995
021 847 1144
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.
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.
Additional Course Facts
63 by Hennie Otto, 2005 Vodacom Origins
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.
The Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa is a luxury Cape Dutch Style establishment just outside the entrance gate to the estate and golf course.
World Cup of Golf 1996, won by South Africa.
SA Open in 2003 and 2004, both won by Trevor Immelman.
Good-sized range with excellent short game facility a short uphill walk from clubhouse. Four teaching pros available for lessons: Rae Hast, Julian Shaw, Lourens Oosthuizen 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.
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
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.
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.
07 August 2022
A well designed course that suits golfers of differing handicaps.
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.
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).
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.
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.
20 September 2021
Erinvale continues to mature and improve. It is in great condition.
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.
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.
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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