Reported by J.S. Fletcher and Kathy M. Newbern
We are full into golf season and waiting for Tiger to win a big one. Yet seeing Mickelson’s win at the British Open was wonderful. Most golf fans will likely watch a few matches on TV, and some will attend. And if you have not heard, closer to home (about an hour from Raleigh). Pinehurst Resort, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., will be hosting both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open championships in 2014. Play it now while you can drive in.
But if you’re interested in golfing someplace elsewhere in the world, here is an option for you: Leriba Coastal Golf Lodge at Prince’s Grant Golf Estate, Dolphin Coast, KwaZulu-Natal.
Where’s that, you ask? Well, the lodge is located on the Dolphin (North) Coast of KwaZulu-Natal at the Prince’s Grant Golf Estate, about forty-five minutes north of Durban and 15 miles from Ballito on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It’s on the North Coast of South Africa.
After opening in 1994, the golf course has been given the Compleat Golfer 5-Star Golf Experience Award and was named the Best Golf Development in South Africa by the World Property Awards. Many consider it among the best in South Africa, particularly when considering the coastal scenery, painstaking maintenance, and moderate year-round temperatures.
Called a parkland/links course (because it has a links feel in some areas and a parkland feel in others), this 6380-yard, par 72, was designed and constructed by Peter Matkovich, who along with his team, currently has 21 courses in Southern Africa and one, Golf du Chateau in Mauritius.
Prince’s Grant Golf Course was built on dune land that was once a sugar-cane farm. It takes it name from Prince’s Grant. The first owner was George Wilson Prince who was deeded it on 20 October 1856 from her Majesty Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The purchase price for the 3 354 acres was two pounds, five shillings and four pence sterling – around $4 by today’s conversion.
When the land was in development in the early 1990s, the plan differed from most golf course estates because the golf course took precedence and was given priority over everything else. This is seen in 15th hole, which would be prime real estate for houses in most developments. Peter Matkovich believes in “listening to the land,” so he insisted on favoring the natural environment.
Matkovich, who grew up in Shabani near Fort Victoria in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), was a player on the Sunshine Tour for over ten years and played in two open Championships: Carnoustie in 1968 and St Andrews in 1970. Among his competitors were four Grand Slam winners: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
After recognizing that he wasn’t going to be a top player, Matkovich realized that his love of golf and golf courses could be put to great use: designing them. He has been quoted saying, “Golf is not just about scoring; it is a walk in the park, an experience for all the senses and hours of incomparable therapy. Golfers should leave the course with an irresistible urge to return.”
Sounds like a reason to go play Prince’s Grant Golf Course.
The lodge itself makes for a great getaway, sitting on the 12th fairway, and comprised of six luxury en-suite rooms, a fully equipped open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining area, swimming pool and outdoor entertainment and braai (grilling) area.
Non-golfers can find plenty to do, considering there are miles of secluded beach and nature walks, which make it a birdwatchers’ paradise. Other facilities include tennis, squash and swimming at the recreation center. There are also onsite restaurants, including The Bunkers Restaurant and Mulligan’s Pub.
Other options for things to do are Umhlanga Rocks and the Gateway Shopping Experience and the Dolphin Coast and Lifestyle Centre at Ballito. The Hluhluwe Game Reserve in Northern Zululand, famous for Black and White Rhino, is a day-trip.
St Lucia World Heritage Site and Maputaland Marine Reserve, Rorke’s Drift, Battle at Isandhlwana, Ulundi Battle Ground and other famous battlefields are all within reach from Prince’s Grant. Oh, and for the golfers, Zimbali, Umhlali and Mt Edgecombe golf courses all within easy reach.
For more info or to make reservations, go to www.leribacoastalgolflodge.co.za.
And if you’re looking for a great gift for the golfer in your life who might like to get a little sense of what it’s like to play in a major golf tournament at a fictitious Carolina sandhills golf resort, consider putting them in Sandhills Fore-Play, a personalized golf fantasy book we wrote that stars you and your Sweetie (or any couple) – that’s right, the couple will be the stars of the book. Here’s a little video to give you a taste: Sandhills Video.
Regardless of where, how, when, or why you play the game of golf, here’s hoping you hit ’em straight and enjoy every minute of it.
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Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.