Garden Route Top 14
Knysna - Garden Route
Director of golf: Ashley Weir
Greenkeeper: Jaco Fourie (Turfworx)
Club captain: Liz Keller
Chairman: Philip Michaux
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 74.9 out of 100
Conditioning14.1 / 20
Playability13.7 / 20
Aesthetics13.2 / 15
Design Variety11.7 / 15
Shot Values11.2 / 15
Memorability11.0 / 15
Five tees / Par 72
Black 6308 metres, CR74.4/137
Yellow 5851 metres, CR72.1/132
White 5500 metres, CR70.1/129
Blue 5089 metres, CR68.0/127
Red 4592 metres, CR64.9/121
Women’s white CR76.3/150
Women’s blue CR73.8/134
Women’s red CR70.8/121
Visitor green fee
R1 400 including cart non-affiliated
R995 including cart affiliated
Students R575, Juniors R250
Ronald Fream, David Dale 2000
044 302 5310
22 (2021) & 17 (2020)
Pezula has some of the most photographed holes in South Africa. A round at this course on the East Head high above the town of Knysna delivers one exceptional hole after another. The front nine has magnificent views over the Knysna Lagoon, and the drama reaches a crescendo on the back nine as the holes tumble downhill to the brink of the high cliffs above the Indian Ocean.
Pezula’s attraction lies in the originality of many of its holes, and the exhilarating elevation changes. Taking your driver out has never been this exciting or as much fun. The routing by American designers Ronald Fream and David Dale was inspirational. Given such undulating and inaccessible terrain on an environmentally sensitive property, there are only three holes where you play uphill.
And five different tee options on every hole means Pezula caters exceptionally well for a broad range of golfers. The front tees are 1 800 metres shorter than the championship tees.
Pezula is a cart course for good reason due to the East Head terrain. Even for fit and strong walkers the course is best enjoyed in the comfort of a cart, particularly in terms of pace of play. There are long walks between shots, and unless you are the only golfers on the property you would be holding up other groups in carts. There’s an extremely steep and twisting climb from the 16th green to 17th tee.
While Pezula is part of an estate, the houses have been built well back from the golf course.
Additional Course Facts
63 by Kevin Stone, 2006 Vodacom Origins
On the par-5 13th, from a tee on the edge of a sheer precipice facing the ocean, the hang time on tee shots seems to last forever. The short par-4 14th is thought of as Pezula’s signature hole, with the ocean views, sloping fairway and challenging short-iron approach to a well-bunkered green. On the front nine the long par 4 seventh stands out. A downhill tee shot is followed by a further descent to the green.
The luxury Pezula Resort, Hotel & Spa sits alongside the golf clubhouse, and offers both suites and villas for guests. High above the 18th hole there is two-bedroom self-catering private villa with its own pool. Additionally there is the self-catering Pezula Golf Villas across the road from the clubhouse, suitable for golf groups.
Pezula has a short-game area close to the first tee, and a hitting area for shots up to 100 metres.
Did You Know
1/ Pezula achieved an Honourable Mention as part of the Platinum Clubs of the World (5-star clubs of excellence) in the Golf & Country Club category. The Top 100 Clubs and 75 Honourable Mentions comprise the top 1% of all private clubs worldwide.
2/ The 17th, at 290m from the back tee, is a fun short par 4 where golfers have had aces, the green being in range for a well-struck driver. However, the green cannot be seen until you reach it, as it’s hidden by a dune ridge.
3/ Former club champion Danny Maritz in 2007 founded Turfworx (George), which has the maintenance contract at Pezula and Oubaai. He has been in the industry for more than 20 years and worked previously at Gauteng courses.
2022 Ivan Palframan & Liz Keller
2021 Johan Greeff & KJ Redman
2020 Danny Maritz & Liz Keller
2019 Danny Maritz & Liz Keller
Course and Facilities Rating
Some interesting stats about the amount of work needed to maintain Pezula. There are 128 bunkers covering 2.7 hectares to rake, and 3.2 hectares of bent grass to irrigate on tees and greens. After the driest November on record in terms of rain the course has recovered exceptionally well and is looking superb. A special location in the Garden Route with its many different types of holes and remarkable views. A challenging layout to play with all the elevation changes and undulating greens.
Lamprecht de Villiers
27 January 2023
Pezula has incredible views and the quality of this course has always been world class. Our favourite.
08 November 2022
One of SA's best golfing experiences. An absorbing collection of superb golf holes, wow factor tee shots to be enjoyed, stunning scenery, and excellent conditioning. We've been fortunate in this century to gain spectacular resort destinations such as Pezula. I caught it on a beautiful June morning so calm that a passing yacht was having to use its engine to make headway. Pezula takes you inland on the front nine, through forests and wetlands, the routing and terrain constantly changing direction and elevation. It has a fine balance of holes from the word go, no sense of repetitiveness, and that continues on the back nine, where you finally sweep down towards the much-awaited ocean views on two memorable holes at 12 and 13. The greens are large and creative designs, notable undulations on every one of them, which means green speeds cannot exceed 10 on the stimp without causing problems. They favour good long distance putters. The bunkering is another feature, and I'm told there are 128 (none though on No 12), which is more than they have at Simola. You disappear from sight when you enter some of them, and the recovery shots are anything but routine.
23 June 2022
Great course design, excellent greens, but fairways not in the best of condition. With more attention to conditioning the course could be the best in the Garden Route.
29 March 2022
Pezula not only have the best views on the back nine, but the course has possibly the best conditioned tees in the country. You can practice your putting on them. The bunkers have a soft and consistent sand, and there's lots of attention to detail around the greens.
06 July 2021
One criteria on this website for ranking courses is Playability, which measures the challenge of a course for low handicaps and how its design also helps higher handicaps score well. Looking at the scores recorded by our tour group on a brilliant windless day for golf, then Pezula should receive an excellent mark for Playability. Our average individual Stableford score was 36 points, easily the best result of five Garden Route courses we played in a week in May. The course is mainly very fair, although the uphill 16th is one hole that came in for criticism, perhaps because it is more intimidating than the rest. The landing area for tee shots is extremely undulating, leaving awkward stances for the uphill shot to the green.
14 June 2021
Pezula is a great layout and I was fortunate to catch it on a calm day. I was playing with two golfers who had never seen the course before, so it was interesting to see how they experienced it and approached each hole. While always a spectacularly visual course to play, I did find alien grasses creeping into the fairways, plus areas battling from too much rain and limited run-off, so it was damp in parts.
18 January 2021
Although a must play course I feel that Pezula loses something in golfers not being able to walk due to the severely undulating terrain. It is clearly a cart course because walking requires a great amount of time and effort between some of the holes. In saying that the course is well designed, enjoys stunning views, and has good holes which test each club in your bag.
21 December 2020
Greens and tees were excellent. However, some bunkers were unplayable; the rest were muddy, hard and semi water-damaged. Some fairways were too long, having not been cut. I would not expect this after a hefty green fee. I'm a big fan of the course design and the collection of holes on two contrasting nines.
02 November 2020
Played a twilight round as a twoball sharing a cart, and it was a terrific experience on a calm and sunny afternoon. We were round all 18 holes in under three hours, which just shows how playable and accommodating the layout is. The later in the day you play the more likely you are to see some of the local wildlife, including bush buck and a puffadder we spotted crossing the cart path. We began on the back nine, heading towards the ocean, so we were treated to a glorious sunset at about 6.30 as we played into the setting sun from the sixth to eighth. Pezula undoubtedly gives you some of the most panoramic and exciting tee shots of anywhere on the planet; lots of thrilling moments to savour and remember.
23 October 2020
Pezula has had a hard time due to Covid and is only now getting back to its usual high standard. The greens had been hollow-tined 10 days before so my good rating could easily become excellent in a month. The fairways were irregularly cut which will be corrected when the rainy season (exceptional this year) has passed. Bunkers were too variable to be considered good. Still a good test of golf with wonderful views.
03 October 2020
This is a remarkable golfing site. The creative design work on such undulating topography is superlative. Several holes would rate among the best in SA. Pezula hasn't had the recognition it deserves as a world-class resort and venue. The difficult opening hole might be a reason. Too intimidating for many golfers.
19 February 2020
Superb championship course, with variety in design and spectacular views. Friendly staff in the clubhouse make this a great place to play and relax.
19 February 2020
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Knysna Golf Club