Highland Gate

Near Dullstroom - Mpumalanga

Played this course? Review it now
Acting GM: Piet Joubert
Golf director: Ian Geringer
Greenkeeper: Ronnie Cousins (STM)
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 77.2 out of 100
Conditioning14.9 / 20
Playability15.8 / 20
Aesthetics12.5 / 15
Design Variety11.6 / 15
Shot Values11.4 / 15
Memorability11.0 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Green 6710 metres, CR73.9/146
White 6123 metres, CR70.5/139
Blue 5897 metres, CR69.3/135
Red 4930 metres, CR63.7/119
Women’s blue, CR75.7/147
Women’s red, CR69.8/134

Visitor green fee

R800 Tues-Thurs: R1 140 Friday-Sunday
R1 130 Tues-Thurs: R1 400 Friday-Sunday
Includes share of a golf cart and halfway house meal
Course closed Mondays
*Affiliated golfers who book accommodation through Highland Gate Accommodation will get 15% off green fees.

Course designer

Ernie Els 2011


087 287 4652 or 087 287 4653

Previous ranking

21 (2023), 18 (2022) & 16 (2021)

Highland Gate is one of South Africa’s newest courses, a spectacular one too which fully embraces the beautiful landscape of our country. It occupies a unique setting in a scenic mountain valley in the Drakensberg escarpment of Mpumalanga. The Ernie Els signature design provides adrenalin-pumping high altitude golf away from the beaten track.

At a height of some 2000 metres above sea level it is thought to be the highest Top 100 course in South Africa. Nearby Dullstroom is regarded as the highest town at 2076 metres.

It’s a destination that for a long time looked as if it might never happen. With the golf estate industry in decline in 2010, this residential development did not look promising. It was in the remote highveld, 18 kilometres from Dullstroom, at the end of a bumpy farm road that could only be described as torturous in any vehicle barring a bakkie. But then came along Ernie Els and his team to design and build a fabulous course, followed by Century Property Developments buying Highland Gate, building a superb tar access road, and relaunching it in 2015 as a getaway destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It is 2½ hours on good roads from both O R Tambo Airport and Pretoria.

Highland Gate has glorious views, bracing mountain air, and a golf course that is fun to play with generously wide fairways. With one exception though. The par-5 14th, one of Ernie’s signature holes, is the tightest driving hole on the course, with a stream running down the right side of the hole, and thick veld grass guarding the left side. It’s an expansive and creative design, with continuous changes in elevation, providing a rich variety of holes to enjoy. The first nine returns to the clubhouse, and ends with a special downhill par 4 which doglegs left around a large dam.

The topography means that nearly all golfers use carts. Most of the course is walkable, but there is a long climb on the back nine from the 14th green up to the par-3 15th tee, and then again to the 16th tee.


Additional Course Facts

Course Record

65, Jared Harvey, 2022 Vodacom Origins

Feature Holes

One of the best vistas on the course comes early in the round, at the beautiful par-4 fourth, 404 metres from the club tees. Mountain views abound as you tee off high above a green fairway which doglegs to the left. The back nine has some great risk-and-reward holes, starting with the par-5 11th where the fairway plunges steeply downhill to a narrow green fronted by a stream. The green of the 298m par-4 12th is in reach for most golfers, being played from a tee high on a ridge, but trouble lurks around the green.

Practice Facility

Excellent wide and spacious uphill range close to first tee.


Highland Gate Lodge and Greenside Manor inside the estate, plus houses to rent. See Highland Gate website. Other options in Dullstroom, 18 kilometres away.

Did You Know

1/ Course designer Ernie Els first visited the site in 2005 and he loves the location. “It reminds me of Gleneagles in the Scottish Highlands. The expansive views seem to go on forever.”

2/ There are three flyfishing dams on the Highland Gate estate. Charming Dullstroom, the highest town in South Africa at 2100 metres, is known as South Africa’s premier flyfishing destination, with a good selection of well-stocked dams and natural flyfishing on the Waterfalls River.

3/ The double-storey clubhouse overlooking the par-5 18th green and its water hazard has the Flycatcher Restaurant. There’s a lounge and TV bar.

4/ The 700-hectare estate, of which only 30 percent will be developed, offers a variety of mountain bike trails, plus hiking, bird watching and trout fishing.

Men's club champion

2023 Willoughby Bloem
2022 Henco Marais
2021 Tiekie du Plessis
2020 Henco Marais
2019 Marcel Scholtz

Course and Facilities Rating
blankConditioning Ratings
Overall Conditioningblankblankblankblankblank
blankFacility Ratings
Pace of Playblankblankblankblankblank
Practice Facilityblankblankblankblankblank
Halfway Houseblankblankblankblankblank
Pro Shopblankblankblankblankblank
Locker Roomblankblankblankblankblank
19th Holeblankblankblankblankblank
Course Etiquetteblankblankblankblankblank
Course Reviews
Conditioning superb, some of the best greens I have played on. Highland Gate for the most part is playable with each hole having its own character. The par-5 14th is a strategic challenge where I hit a short iron from the tee to keep it in play. Stunning scenery.
Colin MacKenzie
12 May 2024
Legendary course. One of the best I have played in SA. Everything is beautiful, each hole is different and unique with new views and amazing hillside vantage points.
Craig Merrifield
01 May 2024
View more reviews
When I played there had been heavy rain, so all fairway bunkers were GUR and carts were only allowed on paths. Pace of play was affected but otherwise a nice course certainly worth the drive from Gauteng.
Ignis van der Merwe
04 April 2024
There's hardly any difference in length between the nines at Highland Gate, but I find this a course where the front nine seems reasonably simple and forgiving, and the back nine far less so. It has an interesting setup of three 5s, three 4s and three 3s and less welcoming greens are well protected with water hazards and frontal bunkers. Lots can go wrong for the club golfer, notably at two demanding par 5s, 11 and 14, and one of the country's best par 3s, No 15. Highland Gate, with most of the traffic being from visitors, has always been a one-tee start course, but will be changing to a two-tee start, meaning half the weekend field will begin on No 10. And the club's legendary marshall, Ferdi Kukard, has retired and left Dullstroom, which is a loss for the club and community.
Stuart McLean
03 March 2024
Course conditioning has improved markedly the last year. Fairways lush and the greens uniform, soft and with a consistent roll. Highland Gate is in a serene location. The view from 4th tee box is unique. The clubhouse, overlooking the 10th and 18th, is well designed and the balcony a special place to gather for beers after a game.
Tony Reilly
21 February 2024
Played in January, the rainy season, yet Highland Gate was a fantastic experience, and the course as pristine as always. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation driving through the gate. Whatever your golf score nothing compares to the scenery that surrounds you on a championship layout that offers top-dollar value. The staff, especially those in the pro shop, deserve a special mention for the manner in which they treat their customers.
Johann Bezuidenhout
20 February 2024
Good course taking advantage of a special setting and offering a lovely overall experience. The par-3 third is memorable alongside other well-designed holes.
Mark Lynam
07 February 2024
The greens were magnificent when I played in December. Aesthetically the pattern cut fairways against a blue sky and highland background is pleasing to the eye. Although very playable Highland Gate does require good course management. The much talked about 14th is an example. This par 5 is unique. Love it or hate it you will remember it and talk about it. Elevation changes and the high altitude add to the challenges.
Lihan van der Merwe
25 January 2024
My first time playing at Highland Gate. Course is magnificent overall. Greens played beautifully.
David Simons
05 January 2024
Amazing course. Only thing they can improve on is the practice facility.
Leon Anderson
02 December 2023
Incredible views from many tees and greens. Bunkers unfortunately very poor after rain. They evidently do not drain well. Otherwise, an allround nice experience.
Greg Woodbridge
16 November 2023
Bunkers were wet but the views were spectacular. Greens and fairways first class.
Christian Combrinck
02 October 2023
Spectacular views spread over 18 unique works of art. The wind creates challenging conditions which spices up the tee shots. The visual intimidation is almost nullified by the scenic beauty framing every hole. Close enough to Gauteng to make day trips a worthwhile option.
Justin Phillips
08 September 2023
Great course and experience, with wonderful views, but pace of play very poor.
Cor Muller
09 July 2023
Great course with excellent design features.
Warwick Barltrop
06 April 2023
A course that has some good holes but unfortunately some not so good. No effort is being made to improve playability on certain holes, specifically the par-5 14th with its narrow landing area off the tee.
Jaco Ackermann
12 January 2023
Course is too packed. On every hole there are golfers on the green, others waiting on the fairway, on the tee box, plus another group waiting behind them. The slow play seems to be the result of beginner or average golfers searching too long for balls. The rocky and rough areas should perhaps be demarcated by red stakes to help speed up play. Course was wet when we played with some bunkers having water in them. Tee boxes were in bad shape from the morning field. I expected a bit more. Scenery is special though.
Jaco Moolman
28 December 2022
The climate has posted challenges this year in the Dullstroom area with heavy rains and resultant flooding on the course. Highland Gate lost plenty of sand in bunkers and the course staff are still busy with repairs. Two lightning shelters and toilets have been built out on the course and I hear other improvements can be expected in 2023. Despite all that Highland Gate has remained busy, fully booked on most weekends. There was a record October with 2823 rounds.
Lamprecht de Villiers
18 December 2022
Played this course on a misty morning. Felt like I was playing in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The course is a thing of beauty, the fairways, greens and tee boxes immaculate. The surrounding natural beauty adds to an absolutely breathtaking experience.
Nico Kruger
07 May 2022
We loved this course so much we bought property there. Highland Gate is a wonderful place with wonderful people.
Danel Myburgh
03 April 2022
Highland Gate enjoys some of the best climatic conditions in Africa. Yes, this area in the Drakensberg is prone to thunderstorms and misty weather which can wipe out your day's golf, but the daytime temperatures here in summer and winter are sublime. It's a few degrees cooler than Gauteng. And hardly a breeze to be felt. At least that has been my experience. With a one-tee start the perfect time to tee off is between 9 and 11 in summer and winter. Late starters can get caught by the sun disappearing in late afternoon and temperatures falling. The estate has experienced some ridiculous rainstorms this summer, as have many other parts of the country. One recent intense storm produced a flash flood that engulfed the tunnel for golfers between the eighth green and ninth tee. As a result the course is soft in places but there's still a good bounce on the cool season grass fairways with tee shots. The short rough is like treacle though. Disappointing to see bunkers being left unraked, with deep footprints in the soft sand. Too many golfers seem to have assumed since Covid that it's not their job anymore.
Stuart McLean
22 March 2022
Highland Gate is a collection of signature holes with breathtaking views from every tee box. This is matched by the quality and condition of the course. The fairways are forgiving, the layout smart use of the natural landscape, and the holes well designed for all levels of golf. It's a true risk/reward course. A unique challenge for any golf tour that will keep things interesting right up till the par-5 18th! The facilities are world class and the 19th a fitting place to look back and reflect on all the "what ifs" and missed birdie opportunities. One of my favourite courses I could play over and over again!
Garrick Faul
22 December 2021
The layout is magnificent and wide fairways make it very playable. The design eases you into your round with scoring opportunities early on. Condition and presentation is great.
Lihan van der Merwe
16 December 2021
One of the gems of Mpumalanga. Challenging narrow fairways. Rough with no mercy, so expect to lose a few balls. Breathtaking views of the Mpumalanga highlands. Fairways in great condition. Enjoyable short par-4 12th, with its hole-in-one potential.
Phillip Mulder
13 February 2021

Highland Gate is in consistently good condition from my experiences over the years, and the course is a joy to play. There was a big group there the day I played, so obtaining golf carts were a challenge, but the staff made a plan. The only weak hole I find is the par-3 17th, which doesn't match the other short holes.


Chris Wood
16 January 2021
One of the best courses I have played, with spectacular views. Greens a bit slow but they rolled great.
Stefan Rudman
01 January 2021

A great getaway venue for groups who can stay on the estate at one of the houses in the Highland Gate rental pool. Golfers will appreciate the excellent, well-conditioned rolling nature of the course, and get to choose tee box variations that offer a challenge to all handicaps.

Roy Jones
29 December 2020
A great course that provides a challenge for all levels of golfers. The undulating nature of the course ensures each shot must be properly thought through before playing. The design generally rewards good shots and punishes bad ones. In my opinion, the weakest hole in terms of design is the 11th. This par 5 provides no bail-out option, whilst the green complex is not receptive to a long "downhill stance" shot. The landing area for the tee shot on 14 should be widened to ensure playability for the average golfer.
Jaco Ackermann
19 December 2020
Incredible scenery to match the condition of the course. Special destination.
Craig Günther
10 December 2020
Highland Gate is in a relatively remote part of Mpumalanga, a three-hour drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria, so you know how popular this course has become when you visit in midweek and find it teeming with golfers. There were 100 in the field on the Thursday I arrived to play in the first week of December, and 140 on the Friday when I departed. It's easy to work out why golfers, particularly larger groups, are flocking to this scenic destination in such numbers. The Ernie Els course is beautiful to look at, offers a spectacular setting, and importantly is highly playable despite the many elevation changes. I opted for the blue tees, slightly shorter than the white, and had my lowest round of the year. The fairways, barring one or two, are not difficult to find off the tee, and the cool season grass is a pleasure to play from. The greens run at a superb pace and are not tricked up. The clubhouse has excellent facilities and there's plentiful overnight accommodation at houses on the estate. What's not to like.
Stuart McLean
07 December 2020
I love the design of the course and love playing the course. It is challenging and fun. I do think lockdown has had an unavoidable impact on the conditioning. My rating is based on the last time I played where I felt the conditioning was not at the normal high level. Despite that I loved the round.
Doron Neuhaus
19 November 2020
Highland Gate continues to mature as the finest Ernie Els design in South Africa. The elevation changes, shot variety and memorability make for a tremendous day out. The conditioning and presentation are up with the best in the country at present. The course draws you in and provides the full experience befitting a Top 20 layout.
Jon James
11 November 2020
Every time I play Highland Gate I get the feeling of being somewhere special. The name already suggests one might be in the Scottish Highlands and, with a bit of rain and mist added to the experience, voila! The contrast between the snaking green fairways and indigenous grass is spectacular. The fairways are generous, typical of an Ernie Els design, and the secret is to avoid the fairway bunkers. It is a second-shot course and placing the ball on the right portion of the green is paramount to good scoring. The tees, fairways and greens are in great condition. I have not seen better greenside bunkers. The sand is amazing, and I almost looked forward to playing out of them. Unfortunately, the par-5 14th fairway is too tight for the average golfer. I would shorten it to a par 4 to change the landing area off the tee. It is encouraging to see that in these difficult times they are working hard to improve the condition of an already spectacular course.
Frans Booysen
10 November 2020
Wow, a course with great views. Bunkers the best I have played this year, greens very true and a joy to putt on. A great layout that tests all the clubs in your bag. A special experience, and I can't wait to get back and play it again! Good to see continued work on the course to keep improving the experience. Pace of play very good.
Philip Malan
05 November 2020

Playing Highland Gate, you think you are in the Highlands of Scotland. A gem of a course that was much needed in this area between Gauteng and the Lowveld of Mpumalanga. Spectacular vistas and superb conditioning. I was most impressed with the course marshall Ferdi Kukard, whose job cannot be easy keeping golfers happy and maintaining a good pace of play. People like Ferdi make a difference to the enjoyment of golfers when it comes to the total golf experience.

Owen McDonald
17 September 2020
One of the best courses around and you have to put it on your bucket list. The conditioning is second to none, and spectacular scenery makes it majestic.
Sandor Kovacs
28 April 2020
Submit Your Review & Ratings


If you've played this course recently, why not tell us all about it? Follow the link to our review section, complete our grading criteria and give us some details on your experience. If selected, your review will appear amongst the course’s collection of player reviews.

Course Location
Other Top 100 Courses in the Area
  • Leopard Creek
    RANKED 1
  • Mbombela
    RANKED 62