Yellow 5925 metres, CR 71.6/137
White 5585 metres, CR 69.7/135
Blue 5092 metres, CR 67.2/127
Red 4714 metres, CR 65.6/111
Women’s white, CR 75.8/140
Women’s blue, CR 72.4/134
Women’s red, CR 69.8/128
Denis Barker 1987
039 975 1004
Selborne was the first residential golf estate in South Africa more than 30 years ago, the vision of cattle farmer and passionate golfer Denis Barker, who recently passed away. Today’s it’s a stylish low-key resort, and ownership is with the home owners.
Barker was inspired following a visit to the United States to develop a modest-sized luxury estate and golf course on his family property. He designed and built the 18 holes, a remarkable feat, and it remains one of the most enjoyable and charming of the KZN South Coast courses.
A beautiful undulating layout through indigenous tropical trees and undergrowth (home to varied wildlife) with attractive water features and superb manicuring, it was acclaimed as the “Augusta” of South Africa when first opened for play, due to its resemblance to the home of the Masters in Georgia. It has been a constant presence among South Africa’s Top 100 courses, in early days being in the first 50.
Selborne is one of 15 Top 100 courses that are less than 6 000 metres in length from the back tees, yet even with four extremely short par 4s – the 18th is just 267 metres – is not a course even the tour professionals can overpower. Many of the greens present difficult targets, the layout has doglegs, steep elevation changes, tree-lined holes, challenging features, and tricky sloping putting surfaces.
A stream runs through the course, starting at the third hole, and Selborne has been vulnerable to heavy rains, including a deluge in April 2019 which affected all the South Coast courses.
The single-storey golf clubhouse occupies an attractive position shaded by a large tree opposite the 18th green.
63 by Merrick Bremner, Danie van Tonder, 2013 Vodacom Origins
Selborne’s front nine is distinguished by its rolling terrain. The 510-metre third is a superb par-5 where the drive has to find the crest of a fairway which plummets downhill towards a green guarded by water. The 167-metre sixth is a testing par 3 from an elevated tee to a green fronted by a water hazard. The uphill ninth is one of the most demanding par 4s. The 11th is just 137 metres downhill from the back tee, but water lies just beyond the small green.
A magnificent old manor house is the centrepiece of the estate, and accommodates the reception and social areas of the four-star Selborne Hotel & Spa, plus several guest rooms and a fine-dining restaurant. This was the original Barker family home. Additional guest rooms are in adjoining garden suites in a shady forest. The hotel is managed by First Group. Groups can rent luxury villas and apartments.
Short-game area and putting green outside the clubhouse.
1/ Selborne is a popular conference and wedding venue, having an idyllic 80-seater chapel in the estate gardens.
2/ It has a private beach club in Pennington, with a freshwater pool, available to anyone staying on the estate. There is a tranquil walking trail on the estate, named after Faye Barker, wife of Denis.
3/ Selborne has been a regular Sunshine Tour venue during winter months, often hosting the Vodacom Origins series. The lowest tournament round is 63, by Merrick Bremner and Danie van Tonder in 2013, due to green speeds being quicker in the winter.
4/ The club hosted the 2012 SA Women’s Open won by Caroline Masson (Germany), the 2017 KZN Open, won by 15-year-old Martin Vorster (11-under 277), and 2021 KZN Open, won by Christiaan Maas (17-under 271).
5/ Sunshine Tour legend Trevor Wilkes, now in his 80s and a life member of the PGA of SA, is the club pro, still giving lessons.
6/ The village of Pennington has another 18-holer, Umdoni Park. The Lynton Hall driving range is across the road from Selborne.
Jack Cubitt & Karin Semmelrath
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