Pearl Valley

Near Paarl, Winelands - Western Cape

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Director of Golf: James Searson
Estate manager: Terry Keller
Golf manager: Adrian Buchner
Greenkeeper: Jaffie Erasmus (Golf Data)
Club captain: Ben Pieters
Chairman: Bouwer Nell
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 80.8 out of 100
Conditioning15.4 / 20
Playability15.5 / 20
Aesthetics12.7 / 15
Design Variety12.6 / 15
Shot Values12.5 / 15
Memorability12.1 / 15

Course Summary

Five tees / Par 72

Black, 6577 metres, CR75.5/134
Yellow, 6162 metres, CR73.5/138
Blue, 5716 metres, CR70.6/129
Green, 5358 metres, CR68.9/126
Red, 4655 metres, CR65.0/110
Women’s blue, CR77.7/140
Women’s green, CR75.5/134
Women’s red, CR70.6/125

Visitor green fee

Includes use of range
R2595 including cart
R1595 affiliated including cart
Green fee does not include halfway house

Course designer

Jack Nicklaus Signature, 2003


021 867 8045

Previous ranking

3 (2023), 3 (2022) & 2 (2021)

Pearl Valley at Val de Vie Estate exudes a luxury lifestyle with its 5-star clubhouse, opulent homes, Pearl Valley by Mantis boutique hotel, and outstanding Jack Nicklaus Signature course layout. It has evolved from a residential estate into a world-class destination since amalgamating with Val de Vie Estate in 2015.

Golf is still the main attraction, and the experience at Pearl Valley is one of the best on the continent. Jack Nicklaus has built six signature courses in South Africa, and Pearl Valley is ranked foremost among them. It’s not an exclusive experience though for members and their guests, or hotel residents, also being open to visitors. If you’re playing Pearl Valley, it is recommended that you arrive early, to enjoy all the facilities it has to offer, from those within the clubhouse to the magnificent practice range. With cool-season grasses on the fairways and tees, and bent grass greens, it has regularly been rated as one of the best conditioned courses in the country.

On the course, golfers have the use of a fleet of new Club Car carts with the latest Visage system.

Pearl Valley received an Audubon certification in 2017, and considerable attention has been paid in recent years to improving the wildlife environment. Natural grasses have been introduced which add character to the golf holes. Nicklaus created Pearl Valley on a flat site between the Berg River and the mountains, and has used water hazards and sand, plus subtly sloping greens, to engage and challenge golfers.

Situated an hour’s drive from the centre of Cape Town, Pearl Valley is a wonderful year-round golfing destination.



Additional Course Facts

Feature Holes

Pearl Valley’s signature holes are the beautiful brace of par-4s, Nos 7 and 8, which travel parallel to each other, separated by a broad expanse of water from tee to green. The seventh is 402 metres from the back, with water all along the right side of the fairway, while the shorter eighth (388m) not only has water on the right but in front of the green, requiring a challenging carry for the approach.


The Pearl Valley Hotel by Mantis overlooks the practice range and offers luxury suites 100 metres from the clubhouse.

Practice Facility

A five-star range between the clubhouse and first tee, with grass bays and a wide, long hitting area. Short-game area next to the clubhouse. Pearl Valley is home to the SwingFit Academy under coaching director James Wade.

Major Tournaments

Hosted SA Open 3 times (2007-2009), won by James Kingston (284), Richard Sterne (274) and Richie Ramsay (275). Sterne and Ramsay won in sudden-death playoffs. Hosted SA Amateur Strokeplay 3 times (2008-2010). Greg Norman and Rory McIlroy played in 2007 Open. Norman finished in top 10, but McIlroy shot 83-74. The next year McIlroy finished T-3 on 275. Ernie Els needed a birdie 4 at the last in 2008 SA Open to shoot 63 and be in playoff, but had a 5. He shot 67-67-77-64 for T-3.

Did You Know

1/ Pearl Valley is part of Val de Vie Estate, joined by an internal linking road and spanning 1000 hectares.

2/ Pearl Valley was awarded the Golf Digest Best New Course of the Year award when it opened in 2003 with an exhibition match between Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. It first entered the Top 100 in 2008 and has always featured in the Top 10.

3/ All three SA Opens at Pearl Valley finished on what is now the club’s par-5 ninth hole. The current par-4 tenth was originally the first hole when the course opened.

4/ Justin Rose chose Pearl Valley’s par-5 fourth hole as one of his “Favourite Nine Holes from Around the World.”

5/ Pearl Valley was the second Nicklaus signature design opened for play in Africa. He has six in total. Three are in the top 20.

Club Champions

2023 Dylan Kane & Alessia Goussard
2022 Liam Millard & Alessia Goussard
2021 Dylan Kayne & Alessia Goussard
2020 Liam Millard & Annalie Swanepoel
2019 Keagan Thomas & Annalie Swanepoel

Course Record

64, Garth Mulroy 2007 SA Open;
64 Fabrizio Zanotti, Thomas Aiken, Damien McGrane, Ernie Els 2008 SA Open.

Course and Facilities Rating
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Course Reviews
Pearl Valley is in great condition. Drier weather has left bare patches here and there, but fairways and greens are magnificent. Whether by design or not, and with the amount of lush vegetation on the estate, the growth off the fairways is lush and wild. This does shield the houses better and provides a feeling that each hole is framed on its own. The course's aesthetics are improving year on year. My only concern with the vast number of bunkers is that they are not consistent. The clubhouse is a hub of activity with so many families using the facilities. Pearl Valley is an impressive estate with what it offers.
Warren Minster
23 February 2024
The trees have grown since I last played Pearl Valley three years ago, hiding more of the houses on the estate and giving more seclusion to the course in terms of aesthetics. The course was in excellent condition. Greens smooth and like carpets (10.5 stimp), no placing needed on fairways, and bunker sand consistent throughout.
Henry Trevena
19 February 2024
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Pearl Valley is a pleasure to play, yet one challenge with such a Jack Nicklaus masterpiece is that it takes a lot of effort to maintain. There are signs of just how difficult that can be during an intensely hot Cape summer. Greens are superb, fast and true, yet most surrounds are patchy. Notable encroachment of kikuyu on the cool season grass fairways. General conditioning was good though, particularly bunkers.
Hamish Houston
12 February 2024
The Western Cape courses have experienced one of the wettest winters in history, month after month starting in May with the highest rainfall figures recorded in at least the last 50 years. It has been a winter which has tested every course's drainage infrastructure. Some courses, those with good drainage and sandy soil, have coped better than others, remaining open when others are shut. Pearl Valley is one of them. Astonishingly, the course has only been closed on one day, although naturally there have been other rainy days when no one would particularly like to be playing. The maintenance team have used the winter months to spruce up the dams and water hazards, cleaning the edges of untidy foliage and grass to where it again resembles how the course was presented years ago.
Thomas Souness
07 September 2023
A wonderful experience to spend the day at this magnificent club. Such high standards of quality, luxury, service and friendliness from the staff. One of the best practice range setups, perfectly positioned on our way to the first tee. Such a pleasant environment. In the air we spotted raptors and one descended near us and stood in a water hazard close to the third green. After nine we paused at the halfway house and were offered a selection of sandwiches with bread of our choice, not just white or brown. And would you believe the halfway house has a library in the one corner! Course is in stunning condition, notably the greens and fairways.
Richard O'Dwyer
11 February 2023
At this time of year, with high summer temperatures, Pearl Valley is preferable to play in late afternoon. The light is softer, the air cooler, and the course quieter. You also have a greater chance of encounters with wildlife and birdlife. Yet strange how few golfers start playing from 4pm onwards, even though a quick 18 is possible in a cart. With its many trees, abundant foliage, and waterways, Pearl Valley has an ecologically friendly environment that not only makes for a pleasant golfing experience but creates beautiful vistas within the golf course on hole after hole.
Stuart McLean
20 January 2023
Jack Nicklaus weaved his magic thread through what must have been a flat and boring property (contrast Pearl Valley with the landscape of Arabella or Erinvale). The course has aged well and settled into the landscape. Conditioning remains excellent. The uninitiated must beware, like many of Jack's courses, if your game is slightly off you will be spending a lot of time in the sand, so bring a good short game or a bucket & spade!
Hamish Houston
10 January 2023
Spectacular conditioning all year round, and great aesthetics.
Sandor Kovacs
29 December 2022
Pearl Valley remains comfortably the No 1 course in the Western Cape for me, with its conditioning, mix of challenging and risk-reward holes and use of water all combining to create a true championship experience. The greens, tees, fairways and bunkers were all in top condition and with the ever-present summer breezes it makes for a good test of golf.
Chris Wood
18 December 2022
If you like wine, dine & golf, Pearl Valley is the best course to visit around Cape Town. Fantastic views, great design, best quality you can get. Most recommendable.
Markus Jost
17 December 2022
Beautiful course but deadly if your game and shot selection is not on point. One of those courses you'll enjoy when playing well but can hate if you are having an off day as it punishes you.
Willry van Breda
03 May 2022
Everything about Pearl Valley speaks of class. Attention to detail in every category. No weak holes, if anything the only criticism is that the par 3s tend to be the same length. Otherwise the layout is superb offering the golfer many choices on how to play any particular hole. Course always in mint condition, never too dry or too wet no matter what time of year. World-class practice facilities and clubhouse.
Warren Minster
14 January 2022
Shot Values is one of the six criteria on which courses are rated, and Pearl Valley ranks second in South Africa in this category behind the Gary Player CC. Shot Values examines how varied the risk-and-reward holes are on a course and Pearl Valley excels at mixing up those risks, whether it's flirting with bunkers or water or missing a green in the wrong place going for a tight pin. And it has a quartet of interesting and variable par 5s (462, 504, 498 and 450 from the yellow tees) which may entice the longer hitter into taking on bold second shots in search of birdies. Only one, the imaginatively designed fourth, has water close to the green. The 14th has an enormous tree in the middle of the fairway to be avoided off the tee. Anything right of the tree means a long carry over sand to find the putting surface. Virtually every hole on the course offers alternative strategies in the way it can be played, and a thoughtless shot can leave you in awkward situations. And Pearl Valley in the main does not over-emphasise length, something seen as a weakness. Saying that, however, like many modern designs it does not have a short par 3 (other than off the red tees), and three of the four play to a similar yardage. A rare flaw in an otherwise superb layout.
Stuart McLean
09 January 2022
Every detail from the bag drop to the paying of green fees was handled professionally and we were made to feel as if the staff had been waiting just for us. The practice facilities were great and the two other golfers we were paired with fitted in as if we had known each other for years. The course presentation was out of this world and the aesthetics of the surrounding area superb.
Derek Phillips
01 January 2022
A sublime Cape day in June, temperature in the mid-20s, left me with the firm impression that Pearl Valley is an excellent winter destination for golf. The course is in outstanding condition, with the cool-season grass on the fairways thriving in the lower temperatures compared to the heat of summer. The grass with its tight lies is not as forgiving as kikuyu though and requires crisp contact to avoid those dreaded 'fat' shots. Good innovation at halfway to speed up the field with a gas cooker going and the opportunity to build your own burger or steak roll with the ingredients on offer. The men's locker room has been renovated, a significant improvement to what is an attractive clubhouse.
Stuart McLean
25 June 2021
The fairways and specifically the tee boxes are not up to the high standard of previous times I have played at Pearl Valley. The yellow tee on No 10 had hardly any grass on it and many tees were patchy with bare spots. Hollow-tining is only scheduled for the end of April so this should have no impact on condition. Pearl Valley's facilities are some of the best in the country.
Lihan van der Merwe
06 April 2021
Fantastic golf course in many ways, but does not deserve the No 2 spot.
23 March 2021
Conditioning was disappointing with the course showing the effects of the hot windy summer in the Cape. Several fairways had burnt areas and many slowly recovering divots.
Mark Lynam
12 February 2021
Stunning condition, and rivals St Francis Links and Fancourt Montagu for the complete golfing experience. Kudos to Pearl Valley GM Damian Wrigley and his team.
David Frost
10 September 2020

Lovely to play such a good course in such beautiful surroundings. Condition was very good, greens running true and fast.

10 August 2020

Pearl Valley is having a busy winter season due to magnificent Cape weather in June/July, with golfers attracted by a course delightful to play at a time of year when the south-easter is absent. The low season green fee for walkers is R550 which represents amazing value considering the condition is as good as you find in peak season. Walking is a pleasure at Pearl Valley; I'm surprised it's not more common. The greens were running true and fast at 10. The balanced variety of tee markers makes for a highly playable, fair and enjoyable layout whatever your handicap.

Stuart McLean
02 August 2020
Pearl Valley was in fantastic condition. The whole experience of checking in, the range, golf, halfway house (smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels), pace of play, etc. was top class. Definitely a must play for anyone in the region.
ed raubenheimer
02 August 2020
Great facilities, great staff, always a pleasure to play the Pearl. Conditioning is magnificent and the whole experience a treat.
Sandor Kovacs
16 April 2020
Creative idea to let grass and reeds grow around the circumferences of the water hazards which has discouraged the settlement of geese.
warren minster
08 April 2020
Course well manicured, greens consistent and true, water hazards crystal clear.
Henry Trevena
05 April 2020
The mastery of Jack Nicklaus created a course where the holes are different and visually appealing (often intimidating). All aspects of your game will be tested. Expect many bunkers (I counted 81) yet the greens are generously sized, so I have gone rounds here without getting in too much trouble. I don't believe there is a weak hole. Although the postcard hole is the par-3 13th, for me the finest hole is the fourth, a par-5 that thrice crosses the same stream, and is a consideration on each shot you play.
Hamish Houston
27 March 2020
There was a lot of sand on the greens though perhaps not enough in the flat areas of the bunkers. The course is wonderful, scenic with many fabulous holes.
Ron Cameron
26 February 2020

Pearl Valley must rank highly among the many Jack Nicklaus Signature courses worldwide. A championship quality layout with an interesting variety of holes, not a weak one among the 18. Importantly, it is fair for higher handicaps, challenging for top golfers. All the trees and foliage on the property have transformed Pearl Valley into an aesthetically pleasing estate. Houses are mostly hidden from view, and it's a haven for wildlife with its wetlands. If there's a flaw it might lie with some of the bunker design. Steep slopes make it difficult to access and step out of bunkers.

Stuart McLean
05 February 2020
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