Knysna Golf Club

Knysna - Garden Route

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General manager: Meyer du Toit
Head PGA pro: Chris Dixon
Greenkeeper: Andre Gerber
Club captain: Ivan Palframan
President: Kevin Horack
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 66 out of 100
Conditioning14.3 / 20
Playability13.1 / 20
Aesthetics10.7 / 15
Design Variety10.0 / 15
Shot Values8.3 / 15
Memorability9.6 / 15

Course Summary

Three tees / Par 72

White 5752 metres, CR70.3/123
Blue 5351 metres, CR68.2/117
Red 4928 metres, CR65.8/112
Women’s white, CR76.9/137
Women’s blue, CR73.9/127
Women’s red, CR71.3/118

Visitor green fee

R485 affiliated
R600 non-affiliated

Course designer

Unknown 1951,
Phillip Basson 1997


044 384 1150

Previous ranking

80 (2023), 83 (2022) & 91 (2021)

Knysna is among the most popular courses in the Garden Route, a short but challenging parkland layout on a scenic site adjacent to the Knysna Lagoon. It provides a gentle contrast and fun experience compared to Knysna’s two spectacular resort layouts, Pezula and Simola. And its overall conditioning is often the equal of those two, with magnificent modern greens complexes.

The course is continually undergoing improvements to the design, notably the bunkering, thanks to the fact that one of its members, Sean Quinn, is among South Africa’s leading course architects. He currently works overseas for Jack Nicklaus, but Knysna is his home.

Knysna’s layout, with many holes framed by tall trees, is unique in having shallow saltwater tidal pools and channels as hazards which add to the course’s character and beauty. The 371-metre sixth has a daunting tee shot played to a fairway guarded on both sides by water.

What stands out is the superbly balanced variety of different holes, continually shifting direction. There is no monotony here. Some holes are generously wide, others perilously narrow, and they usually play longer than the card suggests. The par 5s and par 3s are particularly excellent, with the 175-metre 12th a fierce test on a windy day, its green surrounded on three sides by water.


Knysna has its own 3-hole Amen Corner, in homage to Augusta National. Nos 10 to 12 constitute a challenging stretch of excellent holes.
Additional Course Facts

Course Record

62 by Nic Mitchell in 2016 Knysna Open.

Feature Holes

The front nine ends with three fine holes which epitomise the variety of the challenge on offer. The seventh is a fabulous risk-reward short par 4 where the angled and well-bunkered green is an enticing target off the tee for long hitters; the eighth a scary par 3 with an island green; and the par-5 ninth cuts through the wetlands to a wide, shallow green.

Practice Facility

There’s a spacious short-game area between the clubhouse and tenth tee. Close to the golf club is the Scratch Range in George Rex Drive, an excellent facility with four teaching pros.

Club Champions

2023 Anthony Parker & Alice Taylor
2022 Anthony Parker & KJ Redman
2021 Norman Beggs & Lizzie Lightley
2020 Johan Greeff/Doug Griffin & Lizzie Lightley
2019 Johan Greeff & Lizzie Lightley


Knysna has been a regular host of the Southern Cape Open for the country’s top amateurs. The 2019 event saw Jordan Duminy beat fellow Pinnacle Point member Christo Lamprecht in a playoff after they had tied on 18-under 270. Christiaan Burke had the low round of 63.

Did You Know

1/ The stylish modern clubhouse rose from the ashes of the previous building, which was gutted by a fire in 2010, a year after the club centenary. The entire clubhouse and its contents, including trophies and memorabilia, were destroyed within an hour. Just 15 months later, in April 2011, the new clubhouse was opened.

2/ Branden Grace shot 59 in a social round in September 2015 (the card is framed in the clubhouse); he grew up at Buffels Bay nearby, and his coach Peter Berman is based in Knysna.

3/ The club has 922 members, and is busy in the summer when the “swallows” from the northern hemisphere return to their holiday homes.

4/ The course is low-lying and used to be prone to periodic flooding from the high water table of the Knysna Lagoon. In 1996-97 the greens were raised to protect them, and replanted with bent grass.

5/ Knysna has had three courses in its history, and the current one at Hunters Home began as a 9-holer in 1951. The second nine was over the road on Leisure Isle where there was a 19th hole at the hotel. This was a semi-links and a favourite of Bobby Locke. He and Peter Thomson played an exhibition match at Knysna in the mid-1950s.

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Course Reviews
Knysna is undergoing changes to improve playability and overall aesthetics. Current project is the par-5 ninth hole which should be finished in March.
Andre Gerber
15 February 2024
Knysna is a trickier course than it looks at first glance. The fairways are wide, yet many holes have an element of danger or risk to them, notably the 5s and 3s. The par-3 eighth, with water virtually surrounding the green, must claim numerous victims from the 148-metre white tee. This hole and the equally terrific par-5 ninth, with wetlands bordering the right edge of the fairway, makes for a tense conclusion to the front nine. However, good scoring is not difficult here if you're playing well because it's short and magnificently manicured. I rate the Aesthetics high due to the tidal pools that flow so naturally between holes, and which are effectively used as natural hazards. Greens have been attractively designed and are a stand-out feature.
Lamprecht de Villiers
16 November 2023
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An enjoyable outing, an easy, scenic walk through the trees and tidal water hazards linked to the Knysna Lagoon. Quite a few holes feel similar, yet there's ample variety. The club is efficiently run and a warm welcome awaits visitors. Clubhouse is well designed for easy entry and access to facilities. The locker room is close to the entrance, and the pub and pro shop well positioned. It's a short walk from there to the first tee. The tenth tee is further away, close to the short-game practice areas.
Keith Simpson
10 November 2023
A survey was done by Knysna GC to determine how flat the terrain actually is on this course next to the famous lagoon. The difference between the highest point and lowest was the length of a ruler. Of course, several greens have been elevated to avoid flooding, and that's a feature of the layout. It must be taken into account on approach shots. Knysna, with its shallow tidal pools that form natural hazards here and there, is a uniquely attractive layout and particularly well cared for in terms of conditioning, tidiness, attention to detail, and presentation. The compact clubhouse is outstanding in the facilities it provides, and the latest upgrade is that of the pro shop. The members seem well served by management and staff, making for a happy club from what I could gather when visiting.
Stuart McLean
14 March 2023
Knysna is making progress in many areas, including general conditioning. The greens are in great shape and roll true. Close to the lagoon, this flat course has an interesting routing, with continual changes of direction. The short par 4s are no pushover as the greens complexes provide a significant test for any approach. Trouble lurks around the putting surfaces. The par-5 ninth is one of the most challenging holes with its narrow fairway protected on both sides by bush and wetlands. A birdie here will be a highlight on your scorecard. The par 3s are varied, interesting and challenging (ranging from 125m to 187m). Knysna has an excellent clubhouse and good service is a given. An enjoyable round in a beautiful setting.
Jon James
26 February 2023
The course has had many upgrades and improvements which has made Knysna GC a much talked-about experience.
07 February 2023
Some holes are a little monotonous, but the course is a true challenge. Keep it straight, lots of water lurking.
Sandor Kovacs
24 December 2022
Knysna is fun to play, one of the flattest courses so it makes iron play relatively easy. Wind is almost always a factor and there are interesting holes. The only gripe is that during the wet season the ninth fairway is often too wet and muddy to use, and a strong par 5 has to be reduced to a very short par 4.
Jamie Thom
06 December 2022
It has obviously been a busy first six months of 2022 for the maintenance staff at Knysna with a newish greenkeeper in situ. Much has been done to enhance the aesthetics of the playing experience. Low hanging branches of trees have been pruned back to create views through to other holes, giving the course more of a parkland feel. Standing on the first tee I noticed the ninth fairway was now visible, having been previously hidden by bush. The greens were hollow-tined in May for the first time in years (coring removes thatch and detritus that builds up below the surface, and improves soil structure) and have recovered magnificently. What I find special about Knysna are the tidal waters flowing in from the adjacent lagoon which not only create attractively clean (home to water birds and marine life) and effective hazards on several holes but add to the natural beauty of the course. Stroke 1, the 371m sixth, would be plain without the water guarding both sides of the fairway. And many a tee shot has found a watery grave at the challenging 175m 12th.
Stuart McLean
24 June 2022
A new head greenkeeper and more attention to the aesthetic aspects of the course has made Knysna a pleasure to play in recent weeks. Despite being an easy walking course it can be exceptionally tricky (especially for higher handicaps like me) as all the greens are raised, making 'clubbing up' essential on most holes, especially against a breeze. Water features abound and can be daunting, especially the 'island' par-3 8th which is intimidating! The clubhouse has excellent facilities, including a bright, cheerful halfway house, plenty of outdoor seating and a well-stocked bar. The spacious ladies' changing facilities are the best I've come across anywhere in the world.
Marion McIvenna
12 January 2022

Easy and relaxing course with some challenging holes, especially the approach shot to greens. Flatter and shorter than most courses which makes it more enjoyable for the mid- and high-handicap.

Willry van Breda
07 January 2022

Knysna GC is like a good song on a great album, never getting the full recognition it deserves, and perhaps will always be in the shadow of Pezula and Simola. However, if you chat to the regular players, they love it! And it is easy to see why. A short open course with little danger off most tees. But do not be fooled into thinking "short is easy" as local knowledge is a must for scoring well. Position, position, position! Particularly if the wind is blowing or you are mis-hitting your approach shots. The course is still recovering from recent flooding and the greens and fairways were not in top condition, but it is still a fun day out. The best part for me was the challenge of navigating the course for the first time. It makes you think off the box as there are many ways to successfully play each hole. One thing to improve would be the tee boxes (a victim of the rain).

Garrick Faul
04 January 2022

Great course with wonderful greens and excellent hospitality in the modern clubhouse. A must play in the Garden Route.

ed raubenheimer
28 September 2021
September can be a difficult month for organising a Garden Route tour. Uncertain weather and greens being hollow-tined. We couldn't play at George, Fancourt or Pezula for that reason. But we still found a great selection of courses to play for five days, and the weather was sublime. Even better, the courses were not busy. Knysna was a wonderful surprise for a course so far down the rankings. Interesting 18 holes with variety and challenges (the wind was blowing hard). The greens were excellent, as were the clubhouse facilities.
Dieter ten Haag
12 September 2021
The signature par-5 ninth hole was being played as a short par 4 on my recent visit, due to much of the fairway being waterlogged. This distinctive and intimidating hole (it has penalty areas both left and right of the fairway) bordering a wetland area has long had a history of a boggy fairway following any rain, and the club is now doing its best to improve the drainage on No 9. Another notable change to the course is the widening of most fairways to improve the playability. Other than the ninth hole Knysna is looking superb, and the quality of the greens is the equal of any course in the Garden Route.
Stuart McLean
06 June 2021

A pleasant experience, although very flat. The holes weave among tall trees and marshy floodplains. Excellent greens complexes. Fairways lack definition because it is flat and doesn't have high levels of conditioning. You need local knowledge to master the nap on the greens.

Jamie Thom
15 January 2021

Knysna Golf Club is a gem with a wonderful array of varied holes including the risk-reward short par-4 seventh, the island green par-3 eighth, and challenging 505-metre 16th with its peninsula green. The course has water hazards, tree-lined fairways, slick greens with subtle slopes and borrows, and excellent bunkering. Plus a great halfway house and 19th hole.

David Mcilvenna
15 December 2020
Value for money, easy to walk, in good condition, great greens and friendly staff. An enjoyable experience.
Willem van der Merwe
18 November 2020
Knysna is a contender for being the Flattest Golf Course in South Africa, perhaps the planet, yet the 18 holes have plenty of character and make for an interesting challenge. The greens here are superbly designed and a feature of the course, with quality putting surfaces. Quick too. There are plenty of strategically placed tall trees, tidal water hazards, good bunkering, and you can see that considerable work has gone into presenting this course in the best possible light. It's also a Great Value club and very welcoming to visitors. The catering staff gave us breakfast before golf for R50, and calamari and chips afterwards for R60.
Stuart McLean
27 October 2020
Knysna Golf Club appears to be a club on the move. The clubhouse is welcoming and the layout provides some interesting holes, with the narrow par-5 ninth being especially strong. The greens provide a stern defence to a relatively short layout. The Par 3s provide good variety. The local "Amen Corner" of holes 10 to 12 was a notable feature. Knysna provides value for money and a good tour stop in this part of the Garden Route.
Jon James
14 October 2020
Always a lovely day of golf at this Garden Route gem which plays second fiddle to the two big estate courses in Knysna. The Knysna Golf Club is a great example of South African hospitality at its best and provides great value for money. There are challenging holes and the course plays surprisingly longer than you would think. The par 5s particularly are strong risk-reward holes. The condition was very good for a busy low budget course.
Ponky Firer
04 October 2020
I was pleasantly surprised with this course. Good vibe in the clubhouse and a welcoming club. Course has a nice look and feel to it. Very playable even in the wind.
Sandor Kovacs
28 April 2020
A firm favourite. Flat but well laid out to make it a challenge.
Steve Tredoux
27 March 2020
This under-rated course offers outstanding playability for all levels of golfers. Brilliant greens, lovely trees and surroundings, and a good course to walk and play. The clubhouse is friendly, with good food and service, making this a great place to visit.
Ivan Palframan
19 February 2020
The old member golf clubs in the Garden Route really compete well with the new resort and estate experiences in the region. Knysna GC is a fine example. It might not have the wow factor of neighbours Pezula and Simola, yet the overall experience here is still outstanding. It will appeal to golfers who prefer an old-fashioned easy-to-play layout, and it's the only course in Knysna where you can walk 18 holes.
Stuart McLean
10 February 2020
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