Golf Resorts for the whole family
Golfers need not leave the family behind when they venture out to tackle the greens. Today’s golfing resorts are multi-faceted, catering for the interests of all family members. Michelle Colman looks at some of the options for families.
Robert Peters, Website Online Writer at Wesgro; votes Fancourt one of the top golfing facilities in the province with family appeal.
Peter Dros, Sales and Marketing Director at the resort says Fancourt ensures the whole family enjoy a relaxed holiday with top-class recreation and dining.
The Montagu, Outeniqua as well as The Links courses have immaculate landscaping and include every modern convenience. A Golf Academy as well as practice facilities assist those intent on improving their game.
When not on the golf course, guests can relax at the Fancourt Spa, watch movies at a cinema and mingle with other guests at social gatherings. For children there’s a schedule of fun-filled activities, including children’s golf, and happenings at the leisure centre.
The estate is a convenient base for families to explore the Garden Route, which has a wealth of beaches, safari experiences, adventure activities such as cycling and mountain biking, and organic food markets. There are adventure trails one can explore on the Fancourt property or at the nearby Witfontein Nature Reserve.
Also on the Garden Route with views of the Indian Ocean and Knysna Lagoon, is Pezula Championship Golf Course. Peters highlights the challenging but rewarding course, its clubhouse and facilities for kids. The Young Travellers Club provides activities for children from three years of age; and the well-schooled Cape riding horses offered at the resort are suitable for all levels of experience; supervised circle rides for younger ones are available. The spa even offers treatments for kids aged 12 and younger with its ‘Princess and Prince Spa Menu’, featuring 100% natural speciality treatments.
In the Eastern Cape, St Francis Bay draws golfers who are enjoy the bunkers, lakes and long drives on two courses in the area. St Francis Bay Golf Club is an 18-hole course in the heart of the village, and challenges all levels of golfers with short lake holes to long par-5s. St Francis Links offers undulating greens and surrounds, and variations in length and direction.
The place here for families to stay to enjoy a host of activities besides golf, is Cape St Francis Resort, which offers its guests more favourable green fees.
“The mild winter climate of the Eastern Cape most often delivers balmy, windless days, perfect for hitting a hiking trail, strolling along the dunes, cycling the village streets or surfing the Seal Point waves for which Cape St Francis is most famous,” says Anita Lennox; who conducts the resort’s marketing function.
“A short walk from the main beach is the historic Cape St Francis Lighthouse and SANCOB, a rehabilitation centre for rescued seabirds, where the kids can get close to African penguins and other marine birds. Around the corner is the Wildside, offering stunning ocean-edge walking trails, rock pools filled with sea creatures, amazing flora and possible otter sightings,” says Anita.
Club Break and Village Break packages are the resort’s most popular when it comes to clan getaways; offered in three- and four-star self-catering cottages and stand-alone villas.
In Durban, the Durban Country Club has reframed itself as a lifestyle destination venue with a strong sense of family. According to Renée Burton, Marketing Consultant for the club, gone are the days when country clubs were primarily dominated by golf and seen as male space.
Durban Country Club’s pool area is now family-friendly with its own menu that offers family and child meal preferences. A kids’ zone has a trampoline, sandpit, jungle gym and mini-soccer field. Child minders are on hand to assist with young ones, and one can also hire the facility for birthday parties.
The club’s bistro has also been revamped and, with its excellent standard of food; is now regarded as a “destination restaurant”; says Burton, with Sunday lunch having particular appeal for families. It is open to non-members who pay an admission fee.
The club is also introducing a programme of family-orientated events; with the advantage of being able to host them in a safe and secure environment. In May, the first Festival of Bubbles, a sparkling wine festival, was held, while in June, pre-Comrades Marathon, a fun-run around the perimeter of the golf course attracted runners of all ages.
Further afield, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal names Prince’s Grant Golf and Residential Estate in Ballito on the KZN North Coast as one of its prime family golfing destinations. It has an intimate 15-room lodge on its property. Also on the list are San Lameer Estate on the South Coast and Champagne Sports Resort in the Central Drakensberg.
Ken Creighton, Managing Director of KDA Travel & Tours, which includes a golf travel component, pinpoints five courses across the country as good family golfing destinations. His list includes the Wild Coast Sun, Sun City, Sabi River Sun, San Lameer and Zebula.
Beyond the borders of South Africa; the adventurous destination of Victoria Falls is there for guests at the Elephant Hills Resort to discover; which also has a Gary Player-designed 18-hole course that is renowned for the wildlife that strolls across the greens. The resort places family groups within in reach of a host of activities for all ages; be it bungee jumping, river cruising, white-water rafting or zip lining.
Legacy Hotels & Resorts manages the property and also has golf facilities in another neighbouring country, Namibia. Both the Windhoek Country Club and the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre have golf courses; and the latter opens a whole array of desert-based activities to families such as dune boarding, camel riding, tandem skydiving and dolphin cruises.
“A little gem with brilliant views, good food and the best staff” is how Karin Sieberhagen; Sales and Marketing Manager; South Africa for Serena Hotels, Lodges and Resorts; describes Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa, just 20 minutes from Kampala, the Ugandan capital. As the name suggests; the resort sits on the shores of Lake Victoria and has its own boating marina, which is encircled by a PGA-affiliated nine-hole golf course (under expansion to a full 18 holes).
Mediterranean-inspired in design, the resort offers cruising, birding, tennis and volleyball for family recreation. There are swimming and paddling pools, a chimpanzee sanctuary, cultural trips to local villages and schools, and golf coaching for juniors. Bungee jumping and white-water rafting are on offer in nearby Jinja; and in neighbouring Entebbe there are botanical gardens and a wildlife centre.
Children under the age of three are welcome at no charge. There are reductions for under- sevens (50%) and under-18s (25%). Buffets includes dishes catering for children’s tastes and earlier sittings are available for youngsters. The resort is flexible when it comes to extra beds, cots and interleading rooms and baby-sitting services.
The property has its own helipad, offering link services to the flagship five-star Serena Kampala Hotel.