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Umdoni Park

Pennington - KZN South Coast - KwaZulu-Natal

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General manager: Rynardt Crous
Greenkeeper: Ian Lawrie
Club captain: Jos Matthysen
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 64.8 out of 100
Conditioning12.5 / 20
Playability12.0 / 20
Aesthetics13.0 / 15
Design Variety10.0 / 15
Shot Values8.0 / 15
Memorability9.3 / 15

Course Summary

Two tees / Par 72

White 5592 metres, CR 69.8/133
Blue 4989 metres, CR 66.9/121
Women’s blue, CR73.0/127

Visitor green fee

R335, and R195 on Sunday PM and Monday
Combo special: R600 for two with golf cart on certain days
Stay & Play at Botha House, call for prices

Course designer

W H Horne, 1921 (9);
Sid Brews, 1930 (18)

Contact

039 975 1320
www.umdonipark.com

Previous ranking

79

Umdoni Park celebrated its centenary in 2020 (the actual celebrations had to be postponed due to Covid), and for much of the last 100 years it has been a largely unknown golf course, hidden away on a private estate an hour’s drive south of Durban.

It’s a fun, shortish layout in a scenic and tranquil location overlooking the Indian Ocean. Arnold Palmer once described Tralee in Ireland as “Created by God, designed by Arnold Palmer,” and the same could be said of Umdoni, where two former SA Open champions, W H Horne and Sid Brews, played a part in laying out the holes.

Modern greens built in the 1990s by former greenkeeper Don Knight transformed it into a Top 100 course, and its reputation as a wonderful getaway destination has grown in the new millennium. The rolling terrain on which it was built makes for a unique and quirky collection of holes.

You reach the clubhouse through the village of Pennington, then take a dirt road past Botha House, the ocean-facing historic guest house named after General Louis Botha, first prime minister of the Union of South Africa.

The course presents golfers with some of the finest outlooks of any coastal venue, as it climbs steeply in places away from the clubhouse. The front nine stays within view of the sea – long hitters will enjoy the prospect of driving short par 4s – while the back nine ventures into dense coastal forest.

The finish is a grand one. The challenging par-4 17th climbs uphill to an elevated green, and a walk from there through the forest takes you to the highest point of the property and the tee of the par-5 18th, a stage presenting the most panoramic of views.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

62 by Leorin Pillay, 2015 monthly medal

Feature Holes

The back nine is 350 metres longer than the front and has some of the best holes, packed with character. These include the magnificent par-5 13th; the dramatic par-3 16th which plummets steeply downhill; and the 110-metre Majuba (No 12) with the green high in the forest above the tee. There are few flat holes at Umdoni Park. You are either climbing up to greens, or descending to them.

Accommodation

Botha House is a magnificent double-storey historic home, recently refurbished, inside the property and overlooking the ocean. There are nine en-suite rooms and a self-catering 2-bedroom family cottage with elegant finishes. There is also a self-catering cottage and annex in the forest close to the 12th green which can accommodate groups of up to 16 golfers.

Practice Facility

Two putting greens. Hitting area for short irons but golfers must use own golf balls.

Did You Know

1/ Umdoni Park has the most old-fashioned clubhouse of any Top 100 course, and the 1920s building retains the beautiful architecture of its period. A peek inside gives a good idea of golf club life in an earlier era. There’s a board where the names of golfers are slotted into the tee times for the day. The club has 465 members.

2/ The clubhouse restaurant is a popular lunch and dinner venue with the public, particularly the outside deck overlooking the ocean. Open daily from 8am to 3.30, and on three evenings. Booking is essential.

3/ Park runs are held in the Umdoni forest at 8am every Saturday & Sunday. There are nature walks for bird lovers. The estate covers 200 hectares.

4/ Being a hilly course, not easy to walk, Umdoni has a big fleet of golf carts.

Club Champions

2021 Calvin Donnelly & Sharon Schutte
2020 No championship
2019 Luke Cubitt & Sharon Schutte

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
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Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
Easy and friendly booking and check in. Short course but relatively tight fairways. Lots of elevation giving the course great character. Walkable, but be prepared to test your fitness! Amazing views of the ocean from many holes. Greens in good condition. One of the most enjoyable courses in KZN. We played on a relatively still morning. Have heard it can be a massive challenge when the wind picks up.
Avinash Kalkapersad
15 June 2021
Not long ago golfers used to walk a course like Umdoni Park. Golfers were a hardier breed back then. I played on a busy day with a big group (the Troubleshooters from Durban) taking up most of the afternoon tee times, and not one person was walking. Few do these days, and Umdoni's cart fleet grows every year. I can understand why there is no appetite for walking because Umdoni has some severe hills. The course would make a fine mountain bike trail. It's a quirky course, not dissimilar to Royal Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, and the unique holes and beautiful scenery is the main attraction. It's worth the green fee alone just to tee up on the fabulous 18th, where your drive from the high tee seems to hang in the air forever.
Stuart McLean
08 May 2021
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Played in the Saturday afternoon field and enjoyed the good vibe at this popular members club both before and after the round. It's an old fashioned course, and the only other vaguely similar in South Africa is Royal Port Alfred. Umdoni Park has more scenic views over the coastline. It also has some of the steepest uphill holes in the country, notably the par-4 ninth, where the short-iron approach is equivalent to trying to land the ball on the top-storey of a block of flats! On several greens you cannot see the bottom of the flag. But there are fabulous holes too that enrapture those who play here and keep bringing them back. The clubhouse restaurant provides superb fare at a good price, perfect for after the round.
Stuart McLean
20 November 2020
Umdoni is a pleasure to play! Several unforgettable holes, are the course tests your game! The greens are in a good condition. On the back nine in the forest it feels as if you are the only fourball on the course. I recommend the clubhouse catering as a great way to finish your round.
Philip Malan
28 September 2020
Elevation changes throughout the course make for spectacular and challenging holes with breathtaking scenery and sea views.
Trevor King
08 March 2020
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