Plettenberg Bay CC
Plettenberg Bay - Garden Route
General Manager: Greg Phillips
Professional: Cliff Barnard
Greenkeeper: David Porrill
Club captain: Nico Westraat
Chairman: Howard Garmany
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 70.5 out of 100
Conditioning14.1 / 20
Playability15.0 / 20
Aesthetics12.5 / 15
Design Variety10.0 / 15
Shot Values9.5 / 15
Memorability9.4 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6101 metres, CR72.9/143
White 5812 metres, CR71.5/140
Blue 5524 metres, CR70.4/135
Red 5145 metres, CR68.5/128
Women’s blue, CR76.4/135
Women’s red, CR73.8/129
Visitor green fee
Fred Hawtree 1976,
Rob O’Friel 2000
044 533 2132
First-time visitors to Plettenberg Bay CC usually can’t hide their excitement over the discovery of this attractive and cleverly designed course. When the SA Senior Open was played here in 2017 many of the veteran tour professionals were effusive in their praise. And only the champion, Mark McNulty, was able to break par for the tournament.
PBCC is a holiday resort course catering for a high number of visitors, yet can be extremely challenging around the greens. Talented Gauteng North golfer Louis Moolman set a course record 9-under 63 in the first round of the 2018 SA Mid-Amateur, yet failed to break par in his subsequent three rounds.
A major renovation by Gauteng designer Rob O’Friel in 2000 transformed the original layout and boosted the number of rounds. Plettenberg Bay is a busy course considering the relatively small community and another 18-hole facility at Goose Valley. For the last 10 years it has averaged over 100 rounds every day.
Its charm lies in the interesting variety of holes – water hazards, wetlands and streams regularly come into play – artfully contoured greens, and outstanding year-round conditioning. The back nine meanders through a tranquil valley among indigenous bush and contains some of the more beautiful parts. The bunkers were redone by Better Billy Bunker in 2018 to improve drainage. The clubhouse is on a ridge overlooking the course, and while this makes for downhill starting holes on each nine, the ninth and 18th are played uphill.
Additional Course Facts
63 by Louis Moolman in 2018 SA Mid-Amateur
The yellowwood is SA’s national tree, a protected species prevalent in the Garden Route coastal forest. Mature yellowwoods flank the fairway and frame the green of No 16, a testing par 4 with a well-bunkered green fronted by a stream. The beauty of this hole is best viewed from the elevated back tee. No 4 is a strong par 5 with a wetland right of the fairway, and a stream crossing 50 metres short of the green. The par 3s vary from a wedge to long iron and have narrow greens. No 14 is a sharp dogleg par 4, with two giant oak trees guarding the entrance to an elevated green.
Redbourne Country Lodge is on the entrance road to the country club.
Excellent short-game area in front of clubhouse, and practice net near first tee. No range, but areas where golfers can hit balls with the aid of a caddie.
Did You Know
1/ Plettenberg Bay originally had a 9-hole course in sandy dunes overlooking the Robberg, but the land was purchased in the 1970s by a property development company, and the golf course relocated inland to the Piesang Valley.
2/ The Piesang River, most of the time a stream rather than a torrent, runs through the course, and numerous bridges have had to be built on the course to enable golfers to move around conveniently.
3/ The course is home to several troops of baboons, who are generally docile, and their presence is an attraction for visitors.
4/ This is a country club, so there are bowling greens and tennis courts for members.
5/ The SA Senior Open has been played at Plettenberg Bay four times between 2017 and 2021, the first two won by Mark McNulty and the next two by James Kingston. The club hosted the 2018 SA Mid-Amateur Champs, and 2019 SA Country Districts.
2020 Lukas Steyn & Sarah Parvin
2019 Lukas Steyn & Fiona Pocklington
Course and Facilities Rating
As a regular golfing visitor to the Garden Route, I have always had a preference for non-estate clubs like Plettenberg Bay. Probably because the green fees are much cheaper! Judging from how busy they are these clubs are still flourishing despite the absence of tourists in the area. For me, the reasons why they are successful is not only the green fee, but the excellent conditioning and having a choice between walking and carting. The quality of the greens of these Garden Route courses is as good as anywhere in the country, and Plettenberg leads the way. Their greens are magnificent, although the quick pace makes some very tricky.
Dieter ten Haag
08 June 2021
Always enjoyable and surprisingly tough. Plenty of lost ball scenarios if you are aggressive off the tee!
14 January 2021
Good rains late in 2020 have kept Plett in great shape. Greens are seldom cut very low and are medium paced but true. Always a pleasure to play.
21 December 2020
For many this is the gem of the Garden Route, a course to fall in love with. There are few weak holes, and just about every one is challenging and unique. Especially the back nine in the natural indigenous forest inhabited by serene baboon troops. The condition of the course is among the best, even after the recent flooding of the lower holes. Never miss an opportunity to play here if visiting the Garden Route.
01 December 2020
I've always visited Plettenberg Bay at different times of the year, not just in the season, and I'm constantly impressed at how David Porrill keeps the greens in such amazing condition. They are never anything but sublime, and rolling at a perfect pace for club golfers. No doubt they could be speeded up, yet Plett's sloping greens have some scary pin positions as it is. The course is a pleasant walk in beautiful natural surroundings. The only aspect of the course I would criticise are the tees. Most look as if they could do with some attention.
25 October 2020
A course that bounced back from lockdown in great condition. I have always found the greens really good, rolling incredibly well and true.
10 September 2020
A great course! One of the best kept secrets in SA golf. Harder than it looks. The kikuyu rough is a challenge.
27 March 2020
I challenge anyone to find a lovelier back nine in the Garden Route. The course starts blandly, but gets interesting from the par-4 fifth hole where a stream requires a lay-up from the tee. In my experience the greens are always fantastic. The birdlife is remarkable and home to many Knysna Turaco (Lourie). Be alert for baboons that inhabit the hillside around the course and are known to pilfer anything tasty.
20 March 2020
These greens must be among the best conditioned year on year you will find at any coastal course in South Africa. Every time I play here they are the same; fairly firm, smoothly running unblemished surfaces. And there are some very quick putts. The greens are certainly what makes this a Top 50 layout.
10 February 2020
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