Yellow 6467 metres, CR75.0/130
White 6052 metres, CR72.2/129
Blue 5575 metres, CR69.4/129
Red 4974 metres, CR67.5/117
Women’s blue, CR76.0/136
Women’s red, CR73.4/127
Zimbali is an exclusive members facility.
Visitors can only play if invited by a member or are residing on the estate.
Hotel guest R1120.
Includes golf cart
Tom Weiskopf 1998
032 538 1041
25 (2021) & 18 (2020)
The KZN North Coast, or Dolphin Coast, has seen incredible growth over the last 20 years, and the Zimbali Coastal Resort development in Ballito anticipated that population boom. The resort has a large residential component, two hotels, and a world-class golf course.
Zimbali moved to being an exclusive members facility in December 2020. Visitors can only play the course if invited and together with a member, or staying on the estate in one of the short-term rental properties or the Zimbali Lodge or Capital Hotel (formerly the Fairmont).
American course designer Tom Weiskopf was presented with a considerable challenge when he first saw the terrain on which he was asked to build Zimbali in the mid-1990s. “I had never before worked with land where so much elevation had to be taken into account,” he said. Fortunately his brief was to integrate a cart-only layout, which at the time was a first in South Africa, into the property.
Zimbali rolls and tumbles among hills on the Indian Ocean shoreline. There are only two flat holes on the entire layout, the fourth and sixth which adjoin each other at the lower end of the course. Three of the par-3s are played from elevated tees, which makes for tricky club selection. Weiskopf used a clever and unusual design ploy to build the par-3 14th. Being a cart course, he was able to take golfers up a steep path into a gap in the forest, and then have them play back to the green.
Zimbali has two distinctively different nines, the first on open land with ocean views and wide fairways, while the back nine ventures into the beautiful indigenous coastal forest from the 13th to 18th, with a highly attractive series of holes to finish.
The course has had significant upgrades in recent years which have made it more playable, notably at the stroke one, par-4 15th where a severely sloping hidden green has been levelled and opened up to be seen from each side of the fairway.
64 by Jared Harvey in 2017 Vodacom Origins.
The second is a glorious short par 4 from a high set of tees with a large dam guarding the left side of the hole; No 13 is a tight downhill par 4 with forest on both sides of the fairway; while the 442-metre 18th is one of South Africa’s great finishing holes, and a favourite of Weiskopf’s. A dogleg left from an elevated tee with cross bunkers guarding the left side off the tee, with the approach to a raised green.
There are two luxury hotels within the resort, the Zimbali Lodge close by the golf clubhouse and overlooking the course, and the larger 154-room Capital Zimbali Hotel on the Indian Ocean shoreline.
Range is a fair distance from clubhouse in the residential estate. The teaching professionals are Blanche Lamprecht and Amy Henning.
2022 Steve Phytides & Kayla Saunders
2021 Steve Phytides & Jemima Ullyett
2020 Kevin Ullyett & Jemima Ullyett*
2019 Shane Douglas & Thea Sadler
*Father and daughter champions
1/ The renovated African-themed clubhouse occupies a unique forest setting. The indigenous forest was left undisturbed and trees grow through the raised decks which provide sea views. The entrance features the remains of a ruined farmhouse framed around a wild fig tree. The 18th green sits below the shady clubhouse, now visible from the outside deck. The first and tenth tees are accessed via a bridge over the main estate road. There is a halfway house at the par-3 ninth green, and golfers only return to the clubhouse at No 18.
2/ American course designer Tom Weiskopf, the 1973 Open champion, died in August 2022, aged 79. He designed 70 courses worldwide, including Loch Lomond in Scotland, and Double Eagle Club in Ohio which is in the USA Top 100.
3/ On the par-5 17th Weiskopf initially hid a bunker over a slope in the fairway (since removed). “I call that the What Bunker,” he said. “When I first played the Old Course at St Andrews I would hit a shot into what looked a safe part of the fairway, and the caddie would tell me I was in a bunker. My reaction was always ‘What Bunker?’”
4/ When Zimbali first opened for play the main coastal road between Ballito and Umhlanga ran through the middle of the course. That is now a quiet residential road, and a new section of the M4 bypasses Zimbali.
5/ Zimbali has Royal Blue cynodon grass tees and fairways, with paspalum greens.
If you've played this course recently, why not tell us all about it? Follow the link to our review section, complete our grading criteria and give us some details on your experience. If selected, your review will appear amongst the course’s collection of player reviews.