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The Woods at Mount Edgecombe

Umhlanga - KwaZulu-Natal

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General manager: Vacant
Greenkeeper: Larry Sogoni (The Matko Group)
Club captain: John Herselman
Chairman: Darryn Hutchinson
Acting golf director: Andrew van der Knaap
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 70.2 out of 100
Conditioning15.2 / 20
Playability14.6 / 20
Aesthetics10.8 / 15
Design Variety10.2 / 15
Shot Values10.1 / 15
Memorability9.3 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 70

Yellow 6008 metres, CR71.8/125
White 5685 metres, CR70.1/123
Blue 5262 metres, CR67.7/121
Red 4963 metres, CR66.2/117
Women’s white, CR77.2/138
Women’s blue, CR74.1/131
Women’s red, CR72.0/124

Visitor green fee

Affiliated
R545 weekday,
R685 weekend
Non-affiliated
R655 & R810
Golf cart R460

Course designer

Sid Brews 1935,
Hugh Baiocchi 1992

Contact

031 502 1010
www.mountedgecombe.com

Previous ranking

57 (2023), 62 (2022) & 66 (2021)

Mount Edgecombe Country Club has the only 36-hole facility in KZN, part of this 1200-home golf estate north of Durban. The two courses were rebranded in 2018 as The Woods & The Lakes as part of a major upgrade to the clubhouse, pro shop and other member and home owner facilities. The Woods is parkland golf on the estate’s older layout, with gentle undulations, while The Lakes, with its hillier terrain, is named after its central water features.

Both courses have been in the Top 100, but only The Woods continuously since the rankings began. This course started out in the 1930s as part of Huletts Country Club, and was then redesigned in 1992 to accommodate the new Mount Edgecombe estate development close to Umhlanga Rocks. The main clubhouse and pro shop overlook The Woods finishing holes.

The Woods also underwent a significant re-routing of their layout due to the construction of a new par 3 in 2017 for safety reasons. This hole was originally the par-5 fifth, bordered by estate homes on the left and a busy road on the right outside the boundary fence. Too many golf balls were going astray, and Peter Matkovich designed a superb downhill par 3 in its place which is now the seventh. Water left of the green makes it a challenging proposition. This lowered the course par from 72 to 70, with five par 3s. The re-routing of holes on each nine was done to create a better balance of holes in terms of overall distance and design variety.

The Watershed Café, overlooking Pani Dam in the heart of The Lakes course, has proved a fabulous facility for club members and residents since it opened in 2017.

Read: TOP AMATEURS GATHERING AT Mt EDGECOMBE

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

61, J C Ritchie, 2022 Jonsson Workwear Open first round
(30-31. Hole-in-one at 2, eagle 14, 5 birdies)

61, Aldrich Potgieter, 2023 SA Amateur (29-32. Nine birdies)
There have been four 62s by Keith Horne (2018 Sun Sibaya Challenge), Ruan Conradie, Neil Schietekat, Hennie Otto (2019 Sun Sibaya), but there was placing in each Sunshine Tour event.

Feature Holes

The Woods has a demanding finishing stretch which begins as early as the uphill par-4 13th. Water is in play from 14 to 16, a downhill par 5, then a par 3 with water to carry all the way from tee to green, and a dogleg right par 4. The 17th is a shortish par 4 to an elevated green, and 18 a strong 4 with water left of a large sloping green.

Accommodation

Mount Edgecombe Golf Lodge close to the clubhouse has six rooms for guests.

Practice Facility

The spacious Mount Edgecombe range is a separate facility a short drive from the clubhouse, open to the public. Upgraded with new bays and a short-game area, it is recognised as the premier range in KZN, and has an excellent restaurant. The resident pro is Steve Cottingham, who won the PGA of SA Teaching Pro of the Year award in 2021 and 2016.

Did You Know

1 / The Woods hosted the European Tour’s 2013 Nelson Mandela Invitational, won by Dawie van der Walt. Colin Nel and Jorge Campillo had 59s in the second round, but because the course had been shortened because of heavy rain, the scores were not official records.

2 / Home club member Jared Harvey won the 2011 SA Strokeplay Championship at The Woods in a sudden-death playoff over Scot David Law. Jared’s father George Harvey had twice won the same title, in 1973 at Houghton and 1976 at Mowbray. Jordan Burnand won the 2024 SA Strokeplay at The Woods.

3 / The SA Amateur was first hosted by MECC in 1998. Trevor Immelman won the 72-hole strokeplay and Jean Hugo the matchplay. It returned in 2023, both titles won by Frenchman Martin Couvra.

4 / The SA Women’s Amateur was first held here in 1980, when MECC was known as Huletts. It returned in 1996, and the 2023 SA Strokeplay was won on The Woods by Samantha Whately (216).

5 / Club general manager Desiree Stone is the mother of 2016 SA Open champion Brandon Stone.

6 / Hennie Heyns won the 2020 A division men’s club championship at age 70, posting a 36-hole score of 144 over the two MECC courses to win by two.

Club Champions

2023 Astin Arthur & Amy Fletcher
2022 Cade Cryer & Bronwyn Rae
2021 Jono Poppesqou & Amy Fletcher
2020 Hennie Heyns & Bronwyn Rae
2019 Greg McKay & Amy Fletcher

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Course Reviews
The Woods has returned to its original routing, and nines reversed to where they used to be. The opening hole is a short par 4 to the side of the clubhouse. Still a par 70 with 34 front nine due to there being 3 par 3s and one 5. The upgrade last year has resulted in a vastly improved experience. Several greenside bunkers have been removed and replaced with runoff areas which provide different options in terms of scrambling. New fairway bunkers are both superbly positioned to catch longer drives and beautifully framed. One of the feature holes, the dogleg right 16th over a large dam, was previously a bunkerless hole; now it has two on the far side of the fairway and two guarding the entrance to the green. Four new greens (3, 4, 14, 15) which were reshaped. Overseeding has meant the greens are now mostly bent grass rather than paspalum, and they putt exceptionally well.
Stuart McLean
09 March 2024
The new-look Woods hosted the men's 72-hole SA Strokeplay last week, and the course proved surprisingly resilient with only four players under par, unheard of these days. Average score was 74.94 over the three days. Three of the par 3s proved tricky, the easiest being No 15 over the water. There was wind, so the winning score was a modest two-under 278 by Jordan Burnand. Another champion from Ebotse as Jayden Schaper won this in 2019 at De Zalze. Playing only two par 5s and par 70 made a big difference to the scoring. The winning score last year on MECC's second course, The Lakes, was 15-under 273, and even that was high compared to some of the ridiculous scores (27-under twice) in recent years.
Thomas Souness
04 February 2024
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The 2023 revamp of the course has settled, and The Woods is in pristine condition despite all the rain in the area. We have had 450mm since December 1. The new bunkers have coped outstandingly with all that water, draining exceptionally well. On Saturday, when the clubhouse was flooded, there was 100mm in 90 minutes. Staff are busy fixing the damage to both MECC courses. The Woods needs to be in good shape to host the SA Strokeplay amateur championships beginning on January 30.
Ivan Naidoo
15 January 2024
This is the best MECC has ever been in terms of its conditioning, and I have been a member for over 20 years.
Michael Hollick
13 January 2024
Course was unplayable more often than not during December due to the rain. I suggest constructing cart paths to allow for playing as is the case with The Lakes.
Greg Beattie
12 January 2024
The Woods revamp has resulted in a magnificent course. It was well worth the wait for it to be completed. Main clubhouse bar area needs sound proofing.
André Torr
14 December 2023
The Woods was closed for five months to undergo extensive improvements and the results are well worth the wait. Fairways and greens superb. Several new strategically placed bunkers have made the course more challenging, while the tees have been massively improved. Such an enjoyable course to play.
Noleen Turner
10 December 2023
I have played The Woods for many years. The recent course improvements and its overall conditioning have never been better. It is magnificent.
Peter Almond
08 December 2023
The Woods is in excellent shape following its closure and upgrade. The new bunkers and layout have enhanced the course. The parklike setting, with fewer homes than most gated estate courses, and excellent clubhouse makes for a great experience.
Sidney Turner
05 December 2023
Impressed with the improvement of The Woods the last few years and looking forward to the changes due to commence at the end of May.
Gabriel Fernandes
16 May 2023
The Woods was magnificently manicured. Greens excellent, true and receptive with approach shots. Tee boxes level, neat and clearly marked. Fairways and rough clearly defined.
Basil Karstadt
12 May 2023
The service was excellent as the staff were helpful and friendly. The course was in great condition from tee to green. We were delighted to be welcomed in the pub by the club captain after our round.
DAVID REID
12 May 2023
Greens in the best condition they have been in the 20 years I’ve been playing here.
Darryl Steyn
05 May 2023
The Woods is in superb condition. The rough is short which allows you to find a wayward ball, helping the pace of play. Bunkers need work but that is in the plans.
Stuart Low
05 May 2023
The Woods is one of the most challenging courses I've played. The two consecutive holes 15 (par 3) and 16 (dogleg right par 4) are exciting for any golfer with water hazards to be carried off the tee. Course maintenance is excellent, and I must praise the clubhouse and halfway house catering.
Trevor Maphumulo
05 May 2023
Been playing here for many years and the course conditions have never been better.
Kevin Buckley
28 April 2023
Bunkers are being rebuilt this year which should improve the ranking of The Woods.
Ron Duckworth
09 April 2023
Beautiful course with its own unique feel. Friendly service from the pro shop to the starters.
Han sen Huang
09 April 2023
The rough proved testing after the SA Amateur Champs but this showed us what these elite golfers encounter at that level. Our golf was slow looking for golf balls, but I did learn a lesson in being more cautious about avoiding the rough and what clubs to use out of the rough. Greens and fairways were in superb condition.
Guy Armstrong
09 April 2023
Course is in exceptional condition. Each tee box has been attractively manicured and lends a beautiful visual effect to the fairways about to be played. No placing is allowed on The Woods, the fairways being smooth and neatly maintained. I enjoyed a wonderful outing and some challenging pin positions made for an awesome experience.
Shane Botha
09 April 2023
The course is stunning, notably the fairways. The team works hard to keep the standard up. Bunkers not great but they are being upgraded from June to September when The Woods closes for four months.
Zuretha Steyl
06 April 2023
The Woods would be more enjoyable to play if the rough was cut shorter. I don't understand why we need such thick rough. It slows play unnecessarily as golfers struggle to find their ball even when slightly off the fairway. The marshall then starts to rush players to make up time, resulting in the whole experience becoming unpleasant.
Anand
06 April 2023
The Woods is an enjoyable layout, in excellent condition with attention to detail very evident.
Mark Randall
31 March 2023
The experience at MECC, from the moment you check in, is fantastic week in week out. The operations team are visible and ready to chat and assist. The course marshals are professional and keep the field moving. The layout of The Woods is challenging and well-manicured.
Doug Felt
24 March 2023
All aspects of conditioning were above average and particular mention needs to be made of the greens which have improved to the extent that they can now be considered among the best in KZN. The three special holes (14 to 16) that make up “Amen Corner” at The Woods are exhilarating to play and can either make or break one's round as each has water to avoid. No 14 is a downhill par 5 with a water hazard front left of the green. This is followed by a par 3 from an elevated tee across a wide expanse of water, and then a dogleg right par 4 where the tee shot must carry a dam to reach the fairway.
Trevor King
24 December 2022
The Woods course has continued to improve its standards of conditioning and presentation in the past year, and must be considered Durban's premier layout in that respect. Greens that were average a few years back have been transformed into beautiful putting carpets. And the top level of the Mount Edgecombe clubhouse has undergone a magnificent upgrade, with a new 19th hole, restaurant and cafe areas. Although primarily a course where golfers use carts, I found it a comfortable walk, although with the changed routing of the layout there are long walks between some greens and tees. Notably that from the sixth green to the tee of the par-3 seventh, due to the fact that the hole used to be a par 5 (shortened for safety reasons). There is now a practice hole in part of that space.
Stuart McLean
17 November 2021
The Woods course has undergone a substantial transformation in conditioning this year. The greens, once among the poorest of the Durban clubs, are now among the best to be found in KZN, thanks to the paspalum grass being overseeded with bent. The course is also magnificently presented from tee to green. Acting golf director Kevin Stone, working closely with the maintenance staff, has improved the definition of the holes, starting with rectangular-shaped tee boxes which enhance the visual impression for golfers from the moment they start their round. Amazing what a difference the right personal care makes to a course, especially from a seasoned tour professional like Stone.
Stuart McLean
21 November 2020
One of Durban's best championship layouts with some memorable risk-reward holes.
Trevor King
08 March 2020
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