The famous Wentworth Club in the UK recently told its members to fork out £100,000 (R2.1 million) to retain their playing rights.
This is according to GolfMagic, which puts the club in the top 10 most expensive in the world. The digital golf magazine has Fancourt in the Western Cape, as the fifth most expensive, with fees of £40,000 (R853,000).
South Africa’s golfing landscape has changed over the past decade, thanks to an influx of luxury residential golf estates which have employed the services of some of the biggest names in course design including our very own Ernie Els, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus.
Gone are the days when you simply arrive at a course as early as your hangover allows you, argue over the expensive green fees, lie about your reciprocity status, and tee up.
At least half of the 10 best courses in South Africa are located on residential estates – and unless you are fortunate enough to be invited, you essentially need to own a multi million rand property overlooking the course you would like to play on, just to be considered for membership to then be able to play.
Fancourt, situated on the Garden Route in the Western Cape, embodies more than one course under its brand.
The Links is currently ranked No. 1 in South Africa (Golf Digest Rankings 2014/15) and was ranked 34th in the world in 2014 by Golf Digest USA.
The Montagu and Outeniqua golf courses are both ranked in the Top 20 in South Africa. Play at these two courses is restricted to members, their guests and resort guests only.
The Montagu and Outeniqua golf courses cost R600 for hotel guests wanting to play 18 holes, with an additional charge of R205 for a caddie and R295 for a cart.
Hotel guests wanting to play the Links can expect to pay R1,900 for a round, with an additionalR205 for a caddie.
Play on the course is restricted to estate home owners and hotel guests – sculpted into what Gary Player has described as his greatest feat as a course designer.
If you grow tired of hotel accommodation each time you wish to play at the course, a four bedroom Cape Dutch home can set you back R10.5 million in Fancourt.
There are several distinctive residential areas on the estate including: Links Ridge, Links Avenue, Cape Dutch Village, Oakland’s Village and Montagu Ridge.
2. Pearl Valley
Nestled in the Berg River Valley, surrounded by the Simonsberg Mountains, Pearl Valley is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
Annual subscription fees for residential members cots R19,200. However, an entrance fee of R55,000 is payable to the Pearl Valley Golf & Country Club upon transfer of a property to a new owner.
This entrance fee is included in the purchase price of properties owned by the developer.
For a non-residential member, a once off purchase of a membership costs R25,000, with an annual subscription fee of R12,000.
Summer green fees for members costs R430, and R270 in the Winter.
A prepaid golf membership costs R14,300 annually and allows unlimited green fees.
Private carts are allowed on the course for home owners, while carts can be rented for R230 per round.
A game of golf for a non-member costs between R795 and R1,195, depending on the time of season.
A 3 bedroom apartment in Pearl Valley Golf Estate can cost as little as R3.2 million, while a 4 bedroom home will set you back between R10-12.5 million.
Only a landlord in terms of a lease agreement of six months or longer may nominate a tenant for membership.
3. De Zalze
The De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate is located on the eastern fringe of Stellenbosch.
The estate houses a 18 hole championship golf course, the Kleine Zalze winery, three restaurants, the Kleine Zalze Lodges and the Winelands Golf Lodges.
Residential adult members pay R15,000 to join with a non resident/outside member payingR25,000 to join the cub.
Once a member, you pay a subscription fee of R7,700 and then green fees of R200.
‘Social’ golfers can pay a subscription of R1,400 and hack a round of golf for R450 in Winter and R720 in the summer.
A five bedroom house for sale in De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate can set you back R17.2 million, with a 1 bedroom apartment costing R1.925 million.
Arabella Country Estate is situated in Kleinmond, Overberg, in the Western Cape.
For a visitor to the course it is comparatively expensive. R1,095 buys you 18 holes of golf, whileR795 gets you 9 holes. A golf cart is R440 to rent.
If you are not a home owner you would pay a R5,000 joining fees.
A-Membership costs R17,915 annually and gives you unlimited green fees).
B-Membership costs R11,870 – plus R170 per round played.
Arabella says that in order to justify taking a A-membership over a B Membership you would need to play 45 rounds or more to make it worth your while.
As a home owner you pay 50% off the applicable Visitor rate which is currently R1,095 per person.
Homes in Arabella range between R3 million and R4.5 million, for three bedrooms and a view of the course.
Pezula Championship Course in Knysna, opened in 2001, and has been among the top five golf courses in the country ever since.
Non members pay R750 for a round, along with a compulsory cart fee of R320.
Members pay a R6,800 subscription fee plus R180 per round, while for R20,000 a year, members can play an unlimited number of games.
A four bed home in Pezula costs between R8 million and R12 million.