Western Cape Top 25
Cape Town - Western Cape
CEO: Walter Tarr
Director of Golf: Grant Wilson
Greenkeeper: Robbie Misplon (Golf Data)
Club captain: Patrick Quarmby
Chairman: Rob Lunt
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 70.7 out of 100
Conditioning14.2 / 20
Playability14.5 / 20
Aesthetics12.5 / 15
Design Variety10.3 / 15
Shot Values9.9 / 15
Memorability9.3 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6 166 metres, CR72.8/127
White 5844 metres, CR71.0/125
Blue 5472 metres, CR 69.1/122
Red 5164 metres, CR 67.4/114
Women’s white, CR77.7/136
Women’s blue, CR74.9/129
Women’s red, CR72.9/124
Visitor green fee
October to April
R1 750 non-affiliated
R1 055 affiliated & hotel guest
May to September
R1 275 & R820
Golf carts R630 & R605
Peter Matkovich 1996
021 713 2233
54 (2021) & 55 (2020)
Cape Town’s first golf estate is one of the country’s premier residences, with properties at trendy Steenberg in the Constantia Valley fetching high prices. Numbering just 225 explains why. It’s more than just a residential address though. There’s a luxury boutique hotel, restaurants and a wine estate. The golf club is a similarly smart upmarket venue commanding one of the high-end visitor green fees in the Cape Peninsula; plus a considerable entrance fee for new members.
A feature of the parkland course is its mountainous surrounding and neighbouring vineyards, some of which adjoin holes. Although an archetypal Peter Matkovich estate design, it doesn’t feel as hemmed in as some. Housing seldom flanks both sides of a fairway, and there’s ample width off the tee to offer different angles of approach to the greens. The course Aesthetics are excellent, with streams and wetland areas enhancing the experience. Steenberg set out to establish the best conditioned course in the Cape, with fast-paced greens, and it achieved that pristine look for many years.
Conditioning issues due to Cape Town’s water crisis, however, saw Steenberg fall outside the top 50 for the first time. All the bent grass greens and surrounds were replanted, and Golf Data changed the design of three greens to improve the course’s playability. It has since returned to the top 50.
The modern greens with their undulating bent grass surfaces provide the biggest scoring challenges. Most of Matkovich’s original waste bunker areas have disappeared, although one remains left of the fairway on the par-5 12th, stretching for some 200 metres.
Additional Course Facts
68 by the late Andrew Carris in 2007
Steenberg has excellent and varied design balance, with several doglegs to contend with. As with many Matkovich designs the 18th is a risk-and-reward par 5 with water right of the green and bunkers left. The par-4 third is an attractive hole bordering a vineyard, where a good drive leaves a downhill approach to a rumpled green falling away steeply on the left. The par-3 seventh has a unique peninsula green within a water hazard, and the par-3 14th – where you view Elephant’s Eye on the mountain – has a 65-metre long green.
Steenberg Hotel & Spa, which includes the award-winning Tryn Restaurant, formerly Catharina’s.
Steenberg has an excellent long range with artificial mats at the clubhouse side, and grass tees at its opposite end. Practice balls do tend to stray on to the edge of the first hole. There are two putting greens, one at the first tee, and a larger one together with short-game area nearer the tenth tee. The club is home to the EOGA Golf Academy, founded at Steenberg by teaching pro Etienne Olivier.
Did You Know
1/ Steenberg’s history dates back to 1682 when a farm was first established by early Cape settlers.
2/ A new modern art gallery by the Norval Foundation frames the entrance to the estate. It was endowed by Steenberg member Louis Norval, the 1979 SA Amateur champion at Humewood.
3/ Steenberg hosted its first major tournament with the 2022 SA Women’s Open won by Lee-Anne Pace on a level par total of 288. Low round was a 66 by Becky Brewerton (Wales). It returns in March 2023.
4/ Former Springbok rugby player Lance Sherrell is a recent men’s club champion.
5/ The club has caddies, and visitors can hire clubs and electric trolleys.
2022 Benjamin Schaffer & Bobbi Brown
2021 Noel Anderson & Bobbi Brown
2020 Freddie Spencer & Bobbi Brown
2019 Lance Sherrell & Bobbi Brown
Course and Facilities Rating
Steenberg has always had one of the best modern clubhouses, and my latest visit revealed a luxurious 5-star experience after recent renovations to the lounge, outside deck, pro shop and halfway house. The men's locker room doesn't need modifying. My ideal of the perfect changing room, comfortable and functional, with attractively presented wooden lockers and benches. A large practice green is to open behind the 18th. And the reeds choking the water feature next to the eighth tee have been blitzed to their roots, opening up views and improving the aesthetics once it's full. Steenberg has probably the biggest teeing ground I've seen on the seventh, and a feature of playing here is the variety of tees on most holes. Several are currently out of play as the club prepares to again host the SA Women's Open, March 8-11.
27 January 2023
I challenge anyone to name a better risk-reward finishing hole in Cape Town than the 18th at Steenberg, a par-5 that requires players to twice traverse a stream and then avoid the greenside water hazard, overlooked by patrons on the clubhouse deck. The SA Women's Open will return to Steenberg in March after the success of the 2022 event won by Lee-Anne Pace for a record fifth time. The clubhouse has been renovated, and the pro shop extended and upgraded as befitting a premier course. A new expanded practice green has been built, along with revamped short-game practice areas. Only the bunkers remain inconsistent, with variable sand and some pebbles.
10 January 2023
Steenberg is a pleasant experience although the course needs wind to protect some of its shorter holes. The more I play the course I have learnt to make different decisions off the tees which can help my scoring. Conditioning was good although the greens were significantly slower than the last time I played here.
16 December 2022
In superb condition as Steenberg's continued course drainage programmes are paying off. The closing of most of their 'waste' bunkers, replacing them with new bunkers, has given the course a more aesthetic appeal. Steenberg is maturing into a wonderful parkland design thanks to the growth of young trees, particularly on the par-5 fifth where they are shaping the hole more and more. The overall experience is excellent.
02 November 2022
The course is neat and tidy, well manicured, good attention to detail. The greens are smooth but soft underneath. Deep pitch marks suggest over watering. The hyacinth in the water hazard at No 7 has been removed, making the hole attractive again. The pine trees right of the ninth have been replaced with yellowwoods, opening up the hole yet making it more challenging. There are still golfers who fail to repair pitch marks, fill divots or rake bunkers. They have no respect for others playing the course.
13 June 2022
Steenberg's greens have improved. They are firm, consistent, hold well, and smooth to putt (9.5 to 10 on the stimp). Fairways recently de-thatched and not as thick as they used to be allowing more run. Bunkers let the course down through inconsistency. Those on the front nine have new sand, heavy to play from, while those on the back nine have yet to be done. The course is untidy in places and lacks attention to detail. The water hazard at No 7 is infected with a hyacinth, while the reeds in front of the eighth tee need to be cut as they block the view of the fairway, bunkers and the water hazard on the right.
29 January 2022
The greens complexes are the standout feature of the Steenberg design, and it's good to thus see the surfaces back to their best again in terms of conditioning, consistency and speed, because putting and chipping are key arts around here. Every green has a uniquely different look, guarded either by bunkers, slopes or water hazards. You have all three to contend with at the dangerous par-3 17th. Disappointing to see the water hazard circling the picturesque par-3 seventh choked with hyacinth. And on the eighth tee the tall reeds in the adjoining wetland have obscured the view of the right half of the par 5 fairway. Steenberg has an excellent clubhouse, compact yet having all the facilities a member needs. Few clubs have a 19th hole outside deck so close to the action at the 18th green.
28 January 2022
A course I finally managed to play for the first time. I had heard mixed reviews over the years about Steenburg, especially the greens, and overall my experience at the club was a good one. I found the greens incredibly slick, which surprised me, as rain had recently fallen. In some instances it was difficult to gauge the pace of putts which made the short game a challenge. As a residential estate I felt the course is not overly affected by the homes or their impact on the routing. It was enjoyable if not my favourite in the Western Cape. Next time I play here I would probably adopt a different strategy off the tee. Many holes don’t require driver as positioning is more important.
27 January 2022
Steenberg is in the best condition it has been in many years. The greens are superb. Recent hard work to improve the fairways has paid off, with less thatch and more run. Personally I would like to see the course play firmer through the summer months, with reduced watering. Only the bunkers let the course down. They are inconsistent, some stony, others with no sand. The club is considering proposals to refresh elements of the course and address the bunker issue. Prime consideration will be given to future water use as the arrangement for treated effluent water is coming to an end.
12 January 2022
It has been a particularly wet winter in the Cape, but Steenberg has handled all the rain remarkably well. The course was in fine condition and highly playable the day after an overnight storm, other than puddles on the fifth fairway, long a problem hole for draining. The greens must certainly rank among the best in the Cape Peninsula, running at a perfect speed for club golfers. Steenberg has four outstanding par 3s, attractive and challenging, and also having a multitude of tee positions which add variety to how they play. In general, the plentiful tee box options at Steenberg on most holes can only add to the enjoyment of the course for members. So many courses are stuck with the same tee markers week after week, which means the holes play the same way with no variation other than wind direction.
30 August 2021
Good layout with excellent practice facilities. Good mix of holes providing a challenging but fair round of golf.
Brent Arthur Kleve
30 April 2021
A great Cape Town layout with a good mix of risk and reward holes, and which rewards good course management. The greens are in excellent condition and running true.
Lihan van der Merwe
06 April 2021
Played Steenberg in an extremely strong south-easterly, and it says a great deal for the course's playability that you can still enjoy your golf and score well in difficult conditions. The greens are in outstanding shape and running quick, so they do represent the toughest challenge in a wind, especially some of the false fronts which can quickly catch you out, and have your ball retreating off the green. A beautiful setting is one of the features of this Cape Town estate, and it also has one of the best designed clubhouses in South Africa, compact, attractive, functional, smartly decorated, while retaining a 5-star aura. The practice range is handily close (mats only) with a spacious number of bays.
26 February 2021
I hadn't played Steenberg since August 2017. Played three rounds in December. The course is in superb condition, especially fairways and greens. Good to have it back in great shape again.
28 December 2020
The golf course at Steenberg has been through a torrid time in recent years. However, it has turned the corner and is again a delightful place to play, albeit not at the same level of conditioning. The 2015 Golf Data renovation included the addition of false fronts on several greens, harking back to the Golden Age of course architecture, and they provide an element of deception. The par-3 second is now a much improved hole. One disappointment is the Steenberg bunkers: some fluffy and soft, others hard and bare. Mostly large and flat, they also look dated, both in proliferation (I counted 91) and in scope. The lengthy waste bunker left of the par-5 12th -- the only one that hasn't yet been removed -- will hopefully soon be replaced by something more aesthetic looking and challenging. The practice facility is superb, and unlimited range balls are included in the visitor green fee.
18 September 2020
Playing Steenberg was an absolute joy. Greens were excellent. Quicker than most but true and fair. They've made some wonderful design changes in the greens. This is a high-end course in terms of the visitor green fee, and the service standards and hospitality of the staff is outstanding, friendly and attentive.
18 September 2020
A favourable return to Steenberg. The course in excellent condition and the greens a pleasant surprise. Firm but receptive, evenly paced, challenging and running true. I had a superb caddie, Andre, who knew his lines, and I made several putts thanks to his assistance. The overall presentation of the course was good with the spring flowers out on a sunny day. My overall experience was complete when my clubs and cart were cleaned afterwards. My cart's wheels were particularly thankful as they had never been washed before!
14 September 2020
The course was in better condition than I have seen it in recent years. Good all round and the drainage at last sorted out! It was a windy day and the greens were running too fast for those conditions.
13 September 2020
Some fairways remain soggy after all the rain, otherwise in good condition and well matted. Greens have improved and run truly at 10.5 on stimp. I would liked to have seen more attention to detail, however I am sure all course budgets have been cut. Be interesting to see what happens going forward.
28 August 2020
The long turn-around of Steenberg's conditioning is nearing completion in the greens and surrounds. But bunkers remain below par, with little consistency in sand depth or texture. Most have pebbles, and some liners are visible. Steenberg, like many courses, is over-watered and would support better play and more interesting shot-making if it was firmer. But the modern mentality is that golfers want a lush green course to admire.
20 March 2020
Top-class golfing experience with top-class facilities to match.
08 March 2020
Steenberg's course conditioning has improved immensely. The fairways are excellent, greens firm and running well. Attention to detail re shaping and trimming is what has improved the most. The rest of the facilities are all excellent.
02 March 2020
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