Yellow 5943 metres, CR72.3/141
White 5640 metres, CR70.6/137
Blue 5313 metres, CR68.7/130
Red 4862 metres, CR66.2/124
Women’s blue, CR74.9/137
Women’s red, CR71.9/130
Peter Matkovich 1980
032 947 1181
Umhlali CC & Golf Estate is the most popular golf course in KwaZulu-Natal in terms of rounds played every year. This busy and enterprising North Coast sports club caters for more than a thousand members in a variety of leisure pursuits.
The Club Management Association of SA (CMASA) recently announced Umhlali as the 2019 Club of the Year. It achieved a remarkable score of 96.5% in seven different pillars.
The club has humble origins, having started life in 1961 with a rural 9-holer serving local farmers. Today it sits on the quiet inland side of the N2 highway adjoining the booming coastal town of Ballito, which boasts three residential golf estates.
Course designer Peter Matkovich was the greenkeeper at Umhlali in the early 1980s and rebuilt the 9-holer into an attractive modern layout during that decade. He has always lived in the Ballito area, and over the years has made numerous improvements to the course which has seen it grow in stature and popularity. It’s jam-packed in the December/January holidays.
The beauty of Umhlali lies in its magnificent trees framing the fairways, and rolling terrain which has helped create some outstanding golf holes. The back nine flows through a beautiful indigenous forest. It’s under 6 000 metres from the back tees, an easy walk, yet the sloping ground, smallish greens, and occasional water hazards make it both a fun and challenging test. It has a high Slope rating. The paspalum greens have an excellent reputation.
A major transformation of the club came in 2015 when the clubhouse was revamped and modernised, enhancing the entrance, reception area and pro shop. MammaG’s handle food and beverage.
64 by Wesley Worster in 2007 medal
The par-3 fourth is one of the most exciting and challenging short holes in KZN, played from an elevated hillside tee to a green fronted by a large water hazard. It’s 181 metres from the back tee. The par 3s are all memorable, and the round ends with the 182m 18th, again from a high tee to a green in front of the clubhouse. Matkovich created a superb risk-and-reward 280m par 4 at 14 which brings water, trees and sand into play from the tee. The 489m tenth is a terrific par 5, from a high tee into a curving fairway, with water on the right.
Excellent wide and spacious range next to the tenth tee, playing downhill, with a short-game area. Open to visitors. Putting greens at clubhouse.
1/ Umhlali is a busy country club, with 1300 members, also home to bowls (two greens), tennis (five courts) and squash (two).
2/ Caring for the environment is important at Umhlali. The club received the John Collier Award for good governance and environmental compliance in both 2016 and 2019, plus a special mention in 2017. It’s the only KZN club to have been honoured.
3/ Part of the course, mostly on the front nine, is devoted to estate living, with 302 homes.
4/ Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini won the SA Women’s Strokeplay title at Umhlali in 2012, and the club hosted the 2014 SA Boys Championship, with Tristen Strydom (strokeplay) and Paul Boshoff (matchplay) the champions.
5/ General manager Derick Reinke, a Class AAA PGA pro, was KZN PGA Pro of the Year in 2016 and 2018, plus PGA Manager of the Year in 2017.
Kyle Kistensamy & Jemima Ullyett
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