White 5752 metres, CR70.9/134
Blue 5351 metres, CR69.0/128
Red 4928 metres, CR66.6/124
Women’s blue, CR75.1/132
Women’s red, CR72.4/126
Phillip Basson 1997
044 384 1150
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.
62 by Nic Mitchell in 2016 Knysna Open.
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.
There’s a spacious short-game area between the clubhouse and tenth tee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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