96

Olivewood

Chintsa East - Eastern Cape

Played this course? Review it now
Golf manager: Dylan Reid
Greenkeeper: Adam Sewedi
Club captain: Alec Stander
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 62.2 out of 100
Conditioning13.0 / 20
Playability12.0 / 20
Aesthetics11.0 / 15
Design Variety8.6 / 15
Shot Values9.5 / 15
Memorability8.1 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6207 metres, CR73.4/137
White 5682 metres, CR71.4/128
Blue 5249 metres, CR69.0/124
Red 4820 metres, CR67.0/110
Women’s white, CR77.4/146
Women’s blue, CR74.1/131
Women’s red, CR71.7/125

Visitor Green Fee

R550 affiliated
R615 non-affiliated
Includes share of golf cart

Course designer

Algy Kietzmann 2016

Contact

087 350 4310
www.olivewoodestate.com

Previous ranking

88 (2023), 93 (2022) & 95 (2021)

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. A new Residence Club opened in December 2023 featuring a leisure room, gym, spa and pool for estate residents and hotel guests.

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 recommended at Olivewood, as the topography means it is no easy walk. With a Slope of 137 from the back tees for men (151 for women) 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 Eastern Cape local Algy Kietzmann, a former Sunshine Tour pro, who was hands-on with the project, personally shaping each of the greens complexes. He has improved the general playability by widening the playing corridors and cutting back the rough.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

63 by Alec Stander in December 2023

Practice Facility

Spacious 240-metre long range with grass bays opened in 2022 a short distance from clubhouse. Short-game facility in front of clubhouse.

Accommodation

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.

YOUNG PRODIGY BEN WEBER

Olivewood junior Benjamin Weber, 14, became the youngest winner of the Proudfoot Trophy at the 2024 SA Amateur, with rounds of 69-66 at Royal Johannesburg East in February 2024. Weber reached the semifinals of the Amateur. He won the SA Under-15 championship in 2023.

Did You Know

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.

Course and Facilities Rating
blankConditioning Ratings
Greensblankblankblankblankblank
Bunkersblankblankblankblankblank
Teesblankblankblankblankblank
Fairwaysblankblankblankblankblank
Presentationblankblankblankblankblank
Overall Conditioningblankblankblankblankblank
blankFacility Ratings
Pace of Playblankblankblankblankblank
Practice Facilityblankblankblankblankblank
Halfway Houseblankblankblankblankblank
Pro Shopblankblankblankblankblank
Serviceblankblankblankblankblank
Locker Roomblankblankblankblankblank
19th Holeblankblankblankblankblank
Course Etiquetteblankblankblankblankblank
Course Reviews
I enjoyed this Eastern Cape course, even though I think it should be played more than once to understand the layout. There are some holes which are semi-blind and playing without knowledge of the course makes the tee shots difficult. The course was in good condition, albeit wet. The bunkers could do with some work.
Jaco Ackermann
03 January 2024
Fun and inviting course. Challenging at times but very manageable. Makes you think as the tee shots need to be on point to put one in the correct positions. Loved it and great atmosphere. Greens are a bit hard, fairways very good.
Niel Behrens
25 August 2023
blank
View more reviews
Olivewood have plans to build a Leisure Centre this year which will boost the attraction of this tranquil Eastern Cape countryside resort for golfers and holidaymakers. When opened in December alongside the clubhouse it will include a pool, tennis court and gym. Golfers will then have more of the clubhouse to themselves. Last year a driving range was completed, so Olivewood is a superb place to stay in this part of the region. During the week out of season the course is relatively quiet, and the hilly bushveld setting makes this an adventurous routing most of the way round. On the front nine descending a hill there's only one hole that could be called "flat" (the sixth) and it does have slope to it. Driver can be used wherever you like as there's an abundance of space to play thrilling tee shots. A few "short cuts" can be attempted if you're long enough.
Stuart McLean
16 March 2023
Olivewood is a great test, making you use all the skills in your bag. The course has been opened up which makes it more player friendly. Greens are outstanding.
Barry Beckermann
23 August 2022
Olivewood have this week opened a range which will complement the golfing facilities at this attractive Eastern Cape resort. It is close to the clubhouse and its raised teeing area (all grass) offers an excellent outlook over the long, spacious range and a variety of target greens. Olivewood is often mistakenly thought of as a golf estate (it does have a residential component), but its 24 villas puts it firmly in the resort category. Brilliant accommodation too, with an excellent restaurant. The hilly bushveld layout pleasantly surprises golfers with its diversity, beauty and sense of vast space. Glorious views abound. The first nine falls steadily down to the Chintsa River where there are three flat holes, Nos 10 to 12. The steep ascent back to the clubhouse begins from there, and the routing has been managed particularly well by designer Algy Kietzmann. Other than the short par-4 13th the climbs are gradual.
Stuart McLean
27 May 2022
Excellent layout with some interesting risk-reward holes, particularly the downhill par-5 eighth with the tee shot over a deep ravine and the short par-4 13th which plays steeply uphill to a green that slopes from back to front. Wonderful clubhouse ambience.
Bereng Paul Mokoena
13 January 2022
Fun course but the fairways are poor and the pins need to be more accessible.
Thomas Tilney
04 January 2022
If you are planning an Eastern Cape tour add Olivewood to the itinerary. It's a fun course that weaves through the indigenous bush, up and down the rolling hills, creating a feast of views. The facilities are excellent and the staff friendly. The fairways could be better, however it is the greens that champion all things great about this course. They are world class. We were lucky enough to play with little to no wind and wide forgiving fairways made the course seem friendlier and perhaps made me like it a little more. One thing I would like to see are more direction markers from green to tee.
Garrick Faul
23 December 2021
Olivewood can seriously claim to have the best quality greens in South Africa. A combination of A1/A4 bent grass. They certainly are of a standard right up there with the best I have experienced this year. The greens have a relatively firm bounce to them, and they putt beautifully at a pace suitable for club golfers. Putting and chipping is a delight. And they look flawless, so aesthetically they are pleasing to the eye. I've been impressed with the outstanding conditioning of the greens at nearly all the Eastern Cape courses. Those with bent, which was once considered an unsuitable grass for this region, are superb.
Stuart McLean
08 November 2021
Six months since my last round at Olivewood and this extremely undulating course has substantially improved its definition, while work continues on widening the playing areas. Whatever reputation it had as a "ball-chomper" in its early days no longer applies. It is eminently fair and fun to play due to the interesting variety of unique holes. Going into winter, though, the bent grass greens are quick, and putting on them presents a distinct challenge, notably on the uphill short par-4 13th where the sloping green from back to front can catch the unwary. However, they are true, and reward a good stroke with the blade.
Stuart McLean
11 May 2021
Great course overall with fantastic greens. Very challenging.
Jacques Roos`
02 May 2021
Tee boxes could do with some work. Greens good and pretty consistent speed throughout. Overall excellent.
David Conway
28 April 2021
Fabulous. I truly enjoyed the layout and liked what I saw of the architecture.
Rob Lovemore
21 April 2021
Well manicured, aesthetically pleasing and challenging.
Robin Reid
05 April 2021
Build a proper braai area outside.
JP Berg
05 April 2021
The course has an issue with the Nyala and Impala leaving tracks on the greens.
Daryn Flanegan
05 April 2021
Played the first nine off the blue tees (5249m) and second nine off white because the course was too short off blue. Olivewood are clearing the waterways from reed overgrowth which will enhance the aesthetics. A problem with the tees will be rectified by adding calcium to change the soil composition. Impala damage to greens and bunkers is being addressed. Clearing back the indigenous bush has made a difference to playability.
Vaughan Sammons
01 April 2021
The layout is demanding, very dependent on your tee shot. On the par-4 fifth hole -- a blind tee shot over a hill down to the green -- they should remove the bunker in the middle of the fairway and then build a new bunker in front of the long green on the right.
Johann Fourie
24 December 2020
My first round at Olivewood was an adventure, and I played it again the next day, discovering I liked it even more. It's one of those unconventional courses that grows on you the more you understand how it plays. The rolling topography, extreme at times, means there are only three flat holes, Nos 10 to 12 in the lower section close to Chintsa River. There was initial criticism of the playability, but that has been rectified by cutting back the rough and bush to create wider playing corridors. Algy Kietzmann took on an immense task in his first entry into course design and has done a remarkable job. He shaped the greens himself and they are uniformly superb, nothing fancy, just subtle slopes. There are some fabulous holes which most golfers will enjoy, and several others unique in appearance. It's challenging, but even with all the ups and downs extremely fair. I'd recommend it as a novel experience which compares with the likes of Wild Coast and Pinnacle Point. It will leave you wanting to play it again as soon as possible.
Stuart McLean
09 November 2020
Submit Your Review & Ratings

HAVE YOU PLAYED Olivewood RECENTLY?

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
  • East London
    East London
    RANKED 10
  • Katberg
    Near Fort Beaufort
    RANKED 89
  • Royal Port Alfred
    Port Alfred
    RANKED 86