Back 5756 metres, CR71.0/124
Front 4916 metres, CR65.9/112
Women’s back, CR77.1/127
Women’s front, CR71.3/118
Affiliated R310 for 18
Non-affiliated R480 for 18
Ken Elkin 1947
Swellendam’s attractive 9-holer occupies a beautiful and tranquil site on a hill above the town, overlooked by the majestic Langeberg mountain range. There are magnificent westward views over the surrounding Overberg countryside from this lofty position.
On one side is the Marloth Nature Reserve, and the other the Hermitage Valley.
There’s a natural rugged look to the course, which undulates softly towards the valley, its holes framed by a variety of mature trees and native grasses which form penalty areas.
Swellendam is the fifth oldest town in South Africa, founded in the 18th century, with numerous historic buildings, and golf has been played here since early in the last century, the first course being south-east of the town. That was when the national road came through the middle of town. Now there’s a bypass on the N2.
The current course and clubhouse was built in 1947 on what used to be the town airfield. Ken Elkin provided a design and the local farmers did the rest in terms of bush-cutting and planting grass.
The golf club is a thriving one, with 188 members, who take pride in the excellent condition of the 9 holes and the fact they are complemented by bent grass greens, most of them guarded by bunkers. Investment in mowers has helped create that, plus invaluable assistance from former STM greenkeeper Rudi Mahne in recent years in implementing the best turf management practices. And the course is maintained by just three staff.
The course itself is a compact one and opens in front of the clubhouse with a gentle 290-metre par 4 running away from the mountain range. The hole doglegs slightly left. The second is a par 5 with a more pronounced dogleg to the left, the fairway running downhill to the green. The par-4 third returns uphill, its green hidden away on the right. The fourth is a par 3, followed in the opposite direction by the longest hole on the course, the par-5 fifth, the tee shot again being uphill to an interestingly designed green.
You return to the clubhouse on the 333-metre sixth, running alongside a boundary fence and heading towards the high mountain peak (1450 metres) famously known as Twaalfuurkop. This is the only green close to the clubhouse, and it’s fronted by two bunkers, with water right.
The 307-metre seventh is a feature hole with its fairway angling away from the clubhouse. The green is positioned to the right, the other side of a ditch and guarded by a large gum tree, so tee shots should favour the left half of the fairway. No 8 is a short par 3 heading west, and then you return uphill with a strong finishing hole of 405 metres.
65 by Paul Baatjies on February 28, 2015
2022 Paul Baatjies
2021 Grant Human
2020 Hein Witbooi
Chipping and putting green and warm-up net.
Swellendam member Megan Streicher, now playing college golf at the University of North Carolina in the United States, brought glory to the club when she won the 2021 SA women’s Strokeplay championship at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington with a closing round of 67 to beat No 1-ranked Caitlyn Macnab. She was 18 and the top-ranked junior in SA. The same week she lost in the final of the SA Amateur matchplay to Macnab. In 2023 Megan won the SA 72-hole teams championship at Paarl (284) having been runner-up in 2022 at Mbombela. In 2022 Megan shot 65-63 at Pecanwood to share the North West title with Samantha Whateley. Megan won her first Swellendam club championship at age 12 in 2015, and won the title again in 2016, 2019 and 2020.
1/ Swellendam, 220 kilometres from Cape Town, and 150 from Hermanus, has much to offer tourists. There’s heritage buildings in the old town, hiking and mountain bike trails in nature reserves. The area is botanically diverse with an abundance of wild flowers and fynbos. Accommodation options vary from self-catering and glamping to the luxurious Schoone Oordt Country House.
2/ In the 18th century Swellendam was the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony, and in 1795 the local burghers declared the area an independent republic. But it only lasted five months until the Cape was occupied by the British. The Overberg boomed with the arrival of British settlers in the early 19th century, and Swellendam benefitted in terms of trade due to the navigable Breede River south of the town.
3/ Paul Baatjies won his 20th club championship title in 2022. He has also won five Swellendam Opens, and represented Boland in numerous interprovincial teams at Country Districts, Mid-Amateur and Senior level.
4/ The Swellendam Open is part of the Boland amateur circuit, in September, and was won by 16-year-old Garrick Higgo in 2015. The Swellendam Classic is a four-day festival event played in October.
5/ The annual membership fee is R3 550.
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