South Africa’s definitive
course rankings

The way forward in a new decade

SA Top 100 Courses editor Stuart McLean.
SA Top 100 Courses Editor Stuart McLean.

Welcome to South Africa’s first digital site of the Top 100 course rankings, launched in January 2020.

Our mission is to continue with the rankings established in Golf Digest South Africa magazine 25 years ago, acknowledged by the majority of golf clubs as the premier system. New rankings are announced at the end of January each year.

We have modified the scoring method and invited public participation in the rating process. All golfers can provide input on courses they have played by submitting ratings for Conditioning, a key criteria in influencing a course’s standing in the rankings. They can also rate Club Facilities.

This is a significant change to the way Golf Digest SA arrived at their biennial Top 100 rankings, and an innovation in the worldwide context of how courses are ranked. We continue to have official raters visit courses, but also look to the public to help decide the Top 100.


Of the criteria employed to rate courses, Conditioning stands out as the variable that can change month on month, year on year. It is the one criteria that needs continuous monitoring by golfers around the country to be as accurate as possible.

That’s why I wish to hand this task over to responsible golfers prepared to give an honest appraisal of the quality of a course’s greens, fairways, tees, bunkers and general presentation whenever they play. All you need do is search for the course played, scroll down to Submit Your Review and Ratings, then enter your personal details, and click away on the golf balls.

With intensive feedback on Conditioning, we can update golfers with the most vital information they need to enjoy their golf, by identifying the courses in every region which offer the best quality playing conditions. This has already worked exceptionally well, and enabled us to identify which courses have the best greens, tees, bunkers, etc, from 1 to 100.

Additionally, we are giving golfers the opportunity to rate their overall experience when visiting courses. Let us know what you think in terms of 8 various aspects of a club’s facility. Your ratings can reward those courses which excel at providing a top-class experience.

To see where courses are ranked in Conditioning and Facilities, view


As editor of Golf Digest SA for 22 years, I published the first extensive course rankings list in 1998: A Top 50, followed by a Top 100 in 2002.

The rankings appeared annually until 2012, when like the Ryder Cup they became a biennial feature. The last Golf Digest Top 100 was in the March 2018 issue.

With fewer than 240 18-hole courses, South Africa has one of the world’s most diverse Top 100 rankings, and an aspirational one. While most Top 100s globally are generally elite gatherings, here we have the very best competing with enjoyable holiday courses and the occasional 9-holer. Course budgets and green fees differ enormously, and Top 100 courses are widespread in every region.


Each member of the Top 100 has its own page containing detailed and updated information about the course, the golf club, its members, club champions, and key staff. We’ve hunted down useful and interesting facts from the past and present.

The purpose of this site is not just to identify South Africa’s leading courses, but to promote them and publicise what’s happening in terms of unusual events, course improvements and updates. We are here for golf club members and staff to tell the wider golfing community more about achievements and milestones, no matter how trivial they may seem. Email us, and we’ll decide if it merits national attention.


We have retained six of the seven Golf Digest criteria used to rate courses. These are established global criteria proven over time as the best means of distinguishing the strengths and weaknesses of courses. Shot Values, Playability, Design Variety, Aesthetics, Memorability and Conditioning. The definitions of each are explained under the Criteria link.


The number of points allocated to each criteria has changed to accommodate the South African landscape. There are 100 points available when rating a course – 20 points each for Playability and Conditioning, 15 each for Shot Values, Design Variety, Aesthetics and Memorability.


In addition to the Top 100 we are steadily building an extensive ranking of the best courses in eight regions. We have the Top 41 in Gauteng, Top 25 in the Western Cape, Top 23 in KwaZulu-Natal, Top 14 in the Garden Route, Top 13 in Limpopo-North West, Top 11 in the Eastern Cape, Top 10 in Free State-Northern Cape, and Top 4 in Mpumalanga. These rankings will identify the many good courses that currently don’t feature in the Top 100.

Top Courses By Category


Published by: Stuart McLean - 15 July 2024
Today, it’s a fairly common occurrence in South Africa to encounter wild animals on a golf course, but at Ba-Phalaborwa in the far north of the country it feels very different from anywhere else. With 18 holes bordering the fence of the Kruger Park there’s a sense while playing golf that you’re intruding on their […]