Yellow 6207 metres, CR74.1/148
White 5682 metres, CR72.5/143
Blue 5249 metres, CR69.5/136
Red 4820 metres, CR66.9/128
Women’s blue, CR75.0/145
Women’s red, CR72.4/141
Affiliated R435 to R475
Includes golf cart
Algy Kietzmann 2016
087 350 4310
This new upmarket estate course 30 kilometres from East London is built among rolling hills inland from the coast, and high enough to have ocean views. Unusually, it is an out-and-back layout, the first eight holes tumbling downhill into the Chintsa River plain and tidal lagoon before climbing back uphill and returning to the clubhouse. It’s a 37-35 split, with three par 3s on the back nine. Attractive greens complexes are planted with A1/A4 bent.
The terrain is Eastern Cape bushveld, many of the holes framed by rugged indigenous bush and trees.
Olivewood possesses a beautiful single-storey clubhouse modelled on the original 1920s farmhouse belonging to the Schafli family, with wide open colonial verandas. It has a superb restaurant attached and a boutique hotel was opened in December 2019 alongside the 18th hole with 24 spacious ground-floor villa-type rooms.
With so much in the way of elevation changes, feature holes abound on the layout, and include the dramatic par-5 eighth, which tumbles downhill from a high tee over a bushy ravine; the long par-4 12th alongside the Chintsa River to a green built into a raised mound; the challenging uphill par-4 16th, and the scenic par-5 closing hole.
Two very contrasting par-3s stand out. The seventh is a stunner, steeply downhill to a wide green perched on the edge of the hillside, while the 15th is a beauty in the forest where you again play downhill to what appears by a trick of illusion to be a thin sliver of a green fronted by bunkers.
Golf carts are compulsory at Olivewood, as the topography means it is no easy walk. With a Slope of 148 from the back tees it pays to be accurate driving towards sloping fairways. The wide variety of holes on offer is a big attraction.
The par-5s at Olivewood are among the most challenging. From the back tees they are all at least 500 metres long, with the 560m eighth being one of the longest holes in SA at sea level. It begins with a daunting tee shot to a narrow fairway flanked by the indigenous bush.
The par-5 tenth has water running diagonally across the fairway, presenting a challenge on the second shot. Water guards the right of the green. The dogleg left 524m 18th is an excellent closing hole, a wide fairway giving golfers the opportunity to be aggressive off the tee, although three fairway bunkers are there to catch the long hitters. It concludes with another large elevated green.
Olivewood was a first design experience for local Eastern Cape man Algy Kietzmann, a former Sunshine Tour pro, who was very hands-on with the project, personally shaping each of the greens complexes. In the last year he has improved the playability of the course by widening the playing corridors and cutting back the rough.
65 by Sean Coetzee
Short-game facility in front of clubhouse, plus a range overlooking the 18th where you need your own golf balls and a caddie.
Attractive boutique hotel alongside the 18th hole with 24 spacious ground-floor villa-type rooms, where you can park your car outside the front door.
1/ Olivewood estate offers conferencing facilities and is popular as a wedding venue. Residential homes have been mainly built away from the golf course.
2/ Golf carts are required to get around this hilly layout, but some golfers do walk. However, there are several steep climbs from the 12th green to the 17th tee where you might regret not having a cart.
3/ There is a magnificent 7-kilometre long beach at the popular village of Chintsa East nearby.
4/ Comfortable chairs and couches adorn the veranda of the clubhouse, where breakfast is also served.
Even after a great amount of rain the course has drained really well, with no wet patches.
The course is looking beautiful with the many indigenous trees and shrubs. The variety of game is tame. The Olivewood staff are helpful, friendly and never forget your name or the drinks ordered at the 19th Hole.
Awesome changes to the course have made it more user-friendly for higher handicaps.
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.