The Links at Fancourt

George - Garden Route

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Director of sport & recreation: Ryan Reid
Golf director: Jeremy D’Argent
Superintendent: Jacobus Fortuin
Resort Superintendent: Gerhard van Rooyen
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 82.3 out of 100
Conditioning16.7 / 20
Playability14.4 / 20
Aesthetics13.4 / 15
Design Variety13.3 / 15
Shot Values12.1 / 15
Memorability12.4 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 73

Black 6930 metres, CR77.8/Slope 149
Yellow 6360 metres, CR74.1/141
White 5721 metres, CR70.9/137
Blue 5494 metres, CR70.0/132
Red 5124 metres, CR67.7/123
Women’s white, CR77.5/146
Women’s blue, CR76.2/141
Women’s red, CR73.3/133

Visitor green fee

Hotel guest R5 500
Includes golf cart, caddie & halfway house
R6 325 from November 1 2024

Course designer

Gary Player 2000


044 804 0030

Previous ranking

2 (2023), 1 (2022) & 1 (2021)

The Links at Fancourt is one of the world’s most significant and creative design achievements. Gary Player was set the challenge of building a unique and distinctive five-star golf course for Fancourt owner Hasso Plattner, and produced something monumental for the game in South Africa.

Golf Digest ranks it among the Top 100 Courses in the World outside the United States, and The Links achieved its highest ever ranking of No 28 in their 2022-23 list of the World’s 100 Greatest Courses.

Dramatic, unconventional holes, undulating fairways, pot bunkers, and links-style greens in a variety of shapes and elevations make this one of the modern wonders of the golfing world. It might not qualify as a “True Links,” yet it is a surreal experience for those who have the privilege of playing it.

Exclusivity has not only given The Links an extra mystique, everything about the experience of playing there is distinguished. It adheres to an ethos of high standards and respect for the game’s traditions. From the attractive clubhouse to the first tee starting rituals, to the menu at the halfway house, to the fact that each golfer must take a caddie. The club has a small membership, and is not open to visitors. However, Fancourt hotel guests do have access to a limited number of tee times. 

The course has been in the global eye a few times on TV, although not recently. Among high-profile international tournaments hosted were the memorable 2003 Presidents Cup match which ended in a spell-binding tie between Gary Player’s International team and a United States team led by Jack Nicklaus. The European Tour visited for the 2005 SA Open and 2012 Volvo Golf Champions. And The Links hosted the first Women’s World Cup in 2005.

The Links is not only a challenging golf course – even tour professionals have found it daunting – it is a pristine environmental habitat, its 18 holes bordered by grasslands and wetlands. It is a wildlife reserve, without large animals. For 20 years it was part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary programme. Fancourt are looking at a golf-centric programme to replace that.




Additional Course Facts

Course Record

64 by Nicolas Colsaerts in 2012 Volvo Golf Champions; Jaco van Zyl in 2013 Dimension Data Pro-Am; Ben Eccles in 2016 DiData

Feature Holes

Holes which would grace a list of the world’s best include the long downhill par-3 second, boasting an astonishingly large sloping green; the highly unusual par-4 tenth, called Kilimanjaro, with an elevated green perched at the top of the dunes; and the par-5 16th, over and through the dunes to a hard-to-find rumpled green. There are also two fabulous short par 4s, Nos 6 and 14, their fairways littered with bunkers, with the most diminutive of greens. There are five par 5s, three of them in the last six holes.


Guests staying at Fancourt have a range of luxury accommodation to choose from. There are 113 guest rooms and suites, either in The Manor House (18 suites) or elsewhere on the estate. Its facilities include four restaurants, a spa, gym, hair salon, business centre, four swimming pools, tennis courts, a leisure centre with Kidz Club, cycling, hiking and jogging trails. There is a discount on green fees for hotel guests.

Practice Facility

The Links has its own range and short-game area a short walk from the clubhouse, complemented by a unique 5-hole short course for a fun experience.

Did You Know

1/ The Links encourages walking, but cart use is allowed and included in the green fee. A caddie for every player is compulsory.

2/ It is exclusive for members and guests, plus Fancourt hotel residents if times are available. There is a separate entrance road away from the Fancourt resort.

3/ The SA Open in December 2005 saw one of the great golfing duels between Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, who at the time were among the top 10 players in the world. They played together the final 36 holes, and were tied on the back nine of the final round until Goosen improbably chipped in for a birdie two at 17 to go one ahead. Els then narrowly missed an eagle attempt at the par-5 18th to tie. Goosen’s total of 10-under 282 was eight clear of the third-placed finishers.

4/ Branden Grace’s big breakthrough came in the 2012 Volvo Tour Champions at The Links when he won a three-way playoff against Els and Goosen.

5/ The first-ever LPGA Women’s World Cup was held at The Links in 2005 and won by Japan.

6/ The Links was No 28 in Golf Digest’s World Top 100 for 2022-23 (this excludes courses in the United States). The Links had previously been No 56 (2020), No 38 (2018), No 43 (2016) and No 34 (2014). It was ranked No 3 in SA from 2004 to 2010, then No 1 in 2011, and again from 2014 onwards.

7/ Australian pro Ben Eccles played the back nine in eight-under 29 in the 2016 DiData Pro-Am, with a birdie at 10 and then seven in a row from 12 to 18. He equalled the course record with a 64, and two days later had a 64 on Fancourt Montagu.

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Course Reviews
The Links is a memorable masterpiece from the first tee box shot of whisky to the last putt of the day. Flawless presentation with minor design changes constantly under consideration. Playability continues to improve with generous landing areas off the tee. Greens complexes are among the more challenging a club golfer will play. No easy two putts. The finishing stretch from 15-18 is one of the most demanding of any SA course. The 17th, a par 3 called "Prayer," is a favourite hole. Varied tee boxes allow for a setup to test every player. The uphill par-5 18th - "Near the Dram" - is a test of driving accuracy. The 19th is superb, with service to match.
Jon James
10 March 2024
Fantastic course. As a visitor from Denmark, it was the best of eight courses I played on my travels in South Africa. And The Links rates in the Top 5 out of 213 courses I have played around the world.
Bo Friis
02 December 2023
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The Links has two of the smallest greens you will find anywhere in SA golf. I will be surprised if there are any others similar in size to those on the sixth and 14th holes, a duo of cleverly designed and characterful short par 4s. Modern courses normally have largish greens, and yes there are some of those at The Links (No 18 for instance), but the beauty of the design is the variety of greens complexes on display. No 6 (named Five Penny Piece) is 312 metres from the back tees and with its wide fairway (littered with bunkers) very much a hole which entices golfers to try and drive the green. But the raised target is only 207 square metres, and slippery to hold with slopes running off it. No 14 (Wee Wrecker) is 330m and a narrow fairway and entrance to the green can lead to disaster if a tee shot is not down the middle and over the bunkers. Its green, in a dell, appears minute, but is slightly bigger than No 6 at 224 square metres.
Stuart McLean
19 November 2023
The Links always provides a first-class but not overly daunting challenge. The fairways were running beautifully. Some of the wetlands have been attractively opened up to showcase vast expanses of water, notably on the dogleg left par-4 15th (Roon the Bend) where the temptation off the tee is to cut off as much of the dogleg as possible without getting wet. Retief Goosen, who won the SA Open at The Links in 2005, plays here regularly in the holiday season and I'm told takes out his driver here and goes tiger line over the water for the green. It's a 344-metre hole from the yellow tees. The back tee is 92 metres further back.
Mark Lynam
14 November 2023
I had the privilege to walk the course with my caddie and not use a cart after heavy rain. Although there were wet areas and standing water the course drains amazingly well in the landing area off the tee. It was still firm enough to allow for run on the fairways. On my previous visit only Links members had access to the range. However, this time the range was open to all. World-class facilities add to the experience. The course is very playable when the appropriate tee is chosen. Great variety in design offering many shot options. The amount of work being done on and around the course is impressive. The recent planting of rough areas was noticeable around the start of the 18th fairway. It is easy to relate why The Links rates as one of the best in the world outside the USA.
Lihan van der Merwe
23 October 2023
The Links has a fair amount of space off the tee, but approaches are testing to well-guarded greens, which is why it's for me the most difficult course in South Africa. I enjoy the memorable names given to each hole; they add to the Links experience. The course is currently flawless, with significant work completed on the bunkers. The halfway house upgrade is done, and I welcome the return of the "hour glass" which times your stop. Design variety is a key strength, the par 3s particularly enjoyable. From "Lang Drop" (2) to "Prayer" (17) you will be tested. The Links team are to be complimented on the service and overall quality of a 5-star experience.
Jon James
07 October 2023
The Links remains the yardstick against which other SA courses are measured. Incredible design paired with immaculate presentation is a winning formula.
Hamish Houston
12 January 2023
A memorable outing and true test of golf.
Sandor Kovacs
29 December 2022
The Links is recovering well after its mid-year "burn-back." The conditioning remains second-to-none in SA, setting a benchmark every time I am fortunate to play the course. The presentation is flawless, and it was interesting to hear international guests commenting on their enjoyment of the experience and setup. The Links delivers a unique experience and will test every part of your game. One enjoyable part of the current "club tee" setup is the range of tees in use. I enjoyed seeing some of the tees a touch further forward considering the damp and windy conditions, a welcome change. The greens, bunkers and tees are in world-class shape. The fairways have been replanted in some areas and should shortly be back to their best. The facilities always impress. The range, pro shop and service are faultless. Fancourt was buzzing with activity during our visit. Good to see golf in the Southern Cape in such healthy shape. A golfing mecca.
Jon James
21 October 2022
Quite a shock to find The Links was recently set on fire. Not a case of arson, but a controlled burn on sections of the back nine. It first becomes noticeable on the tenth tee. Closer inspection from the Kilimanjaro green, one of the high points, reveals hectares of scorched earth in the vicinity. The mounds surrounding the par-3 11th are blackened stubbles. The burn has been done to remove the unwanted thick vegetation in these areas and replant with a "special mixture" that will enable the natural grasses and fynbos to return instead. I'm told that happens remarkably quickly. I had never previously been to The Links in late June, the middle of winter, and the conditioning is simply outstanding from tee to green, tribute to the course staff. The air is cooler though, even on a sunny day, perhaps more reason before playing to indulge in a tot of whisky from the decanter on the first tee, one of the treats at The Links.
Stuart McLean
29 June 2022
Playing The Links was one of my golfing highlights in 2021. I believe the condition, experience, service and quality here has gone up over the last five years. It is firmly rooted in the top spot in my opinion and deserves to be there. I would give it six stars for certain criteria if I could.
Chris Wood
30 January 2022
I have played the Links often and still it has my number, even on a calm day. I love the challenge of this tough layout that demands ball-striking skills and an all-round game to make a decent score. The design is masterful and always in great condition.
Neville Clarke
29 January 2022
A treat to play such a magnificent course in impeccable condition. The Links appears to have escaped lightly from the recent George floods, and only the bunkers showed need of TLC. Since I last played here the enlarged berm around the course has added to the serenity and aesthetics. Few SA courses offer this level of strategic course design, forcing players to think hard on each shot and challenging you through the bag. The more often you play you realise that the visually intimidating holes offer a lot of room, adding to the playability. Two small criticisms: no range balls available (we had to beg a few off John Bland); poor service in the bar.
Hamish Houston
11 January 2022
The Links is in a class of its own when it comes to layout and overall presentation. Designed to be walked adds to the experience and as a golfer you feel connected to nature. The continuous design improvements makes the best even better. These subtle improvements are not easily identifiable which speaks to the attention to detail of the maintenance team.
Lihan van der Merwe
09 December 2021
The Links has set the benchmark in the SA rankings since 2011 when it first became the No 1 course. It is clear to see why when you get to visit and play The Links. The full Links treatment is something every SA golfer needs to experience. It is world class. I was impressed with the attention to detail, service levels and hosting. The course conditioning and presentation is as close as you are likely to come to "flawless." The course is generally regarded as a brute to play, and in 35kph winds it is. If you stay patient though it is an enjoyable test which leaves you wanting to play again. The par 3s are demanding, my favourites being the second (Lang Drop) and 17th (Prayer), challenging and memorable. The greens complexes are interesting and frequently raised. The par-4 10th (Kilimanjaro) is a good example of how elevation changes come into play. The bunkers are well positioned and a personal highlight came on the par-5 ninth (Long) where I made a par after being in a pot bunker off the tee. A true SA masterpiece.
Jon James
01 December 2021
I was again fortunate to play The Links in the most amazing conditions. A thick fog delayed our morning start and made the occasion feel decidedly Scottish. We played the first hole blind, but on the second the sun had burned through and we were greeted by emerald green tees, fairways and greens, and had the course to ourselves as no-one else had teed off due to the poor visibility. The course is in stunning condition, benefitting from frequent rain. The greens rolled true, the fairways were firm and good shots were rewarded. The clubhouse staff and our caddies were consummate hosts, ensuring that my guest (playing there for the first time) was thoroughly blown away. Five stars all round.
Chris Wood
08 May 2021

I generally have played The Links during winter, so it was good to see the course in summer playing more like a links should with firmer and drier conditions. Conditioning is faultless.

David Frost
29 December 2020
Most professional golf club setup in the country. Caddies are knowledgeable. Grass is magnificent and kept pristine. Nothing is out of order. An experience like no other.
24 December 2020
The best course I have played. Challenging layout yet enjoyable for the higher handicap.
Stefan Rudman
18 December 2020
Privacy and exclusivity are the hallmarks of South Africa's No 1 course. But an excellent initiative by Fancourt this spring, the Bucket List package, has enabled more than a thousand golfers who wouldn't normally have access to experience The Links at an affordable price. Fancourt should make this an annual promotion. The Links is all about perfection. A high grass-covered berm now surrounds the entire course, shutting out the sight of rooftops in neighbouring suburbs, so that all a golfer sees is the mountain views. While this is a course which promotes walking, with local caddies compulsory, a magnificent 10-kilometre long cart path has been built around all 18 holes for occasions when carts might be required. And the path is successfully hidden away to make it unobtrusive. The tees on 18 have all been raised by a metre or two to improve the playability of the tee shot and provide views over the resort's beautiful dam to the right. The course, as always, is a special treat to play.
Stuart McLean
25 October 2020
We played on a rainy day which spoiled the experience. Two things stood out for me: the course is extremely difficult for mid- to high-handicaps, and it simply does not run like a links. Too soft.
Anton Bezuidenhout
23 October 2020
The greens were exceptionally good and true. The overall tidiness of the course was impressive. Bunkers consistent and fairways running like a true links. A big improvement has been made to the par-5 18th by elevating the tee boxes by 2.7 metres. They now allow a better view of the fairway and landing areas. A great test of golf and playable for all levels of golfers.
Ponky Firer
03 October 2020

The finest course in South Africa by quite some distance in my opinion. Not only is the course always in superb condition but as a test of golf in all weather conditions it tests every aspect of your game. The golf course is backed up by excellent staff and quality caddies. I have been fortunate to play The Links on some 20 occasions and I have never once left disappointed. I have played it in 40km winds and driving rain and never considered walking off, because the course envelopes you in the experience.

Doron Neuhaus
10 September 2020

Course layout and condition superb. The Links tests all shots in your game and one is called to use every club in the bag. Playing to the correct position is vital and hitting driver isn’t always the correct choice. Position in the fairways and on the greens is vital to good scoring, as is avoiding the fairway bunkers. A great challenge for all golfers.

Tony Bailey
05 June 2020
An absolute treat. Always in great nick and a layout second to none. Conditioning never questionable and the greens run at a speed to test all.
Sandor Kovacs
21 April 2020
Conditioning best I've experienced, notwithstanding lack of rain over summer. Greens exceptional.
David Frost
29 February 2020
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