Clovelly Golf Club
Founded in the 1920’s by the British military, it was soon to become the apple of the eye of two entrepreneurial Jewish gentlemen who had been refused membership at a golf club in Cape Town. Turning their passion and efforts to Clovelly, their ethos continues to evolve through the generations as the original course owners son, Raymond Ackerman, embarked upon ground breaking technology in the new computerised ground irrigation systems. Ackerman also has his name to the Golf Academy which takes in 20 to 30 children from challenging backgrounds to give them some structure in their lives. Cleverly mixing academia with golf on a 80/20 split, the academy supports the boys and girls equally, even beyond school years.
The golf course itself was originally designed to be a sand course, now a grass course the kikuyu grass does take some getting used to as it grabs the club, especially on approach shots. That said the short cut of the greens was fantastic with the roll being true and quick!
Playing a day with a slight warm breeze meant we didn’t need to take solace from the sun under the variety of trees along the course. Some trees bore the battle scars as they encountered the wind one too many times, taking on a 45 degree growing position which added to the drama and becoming at one with the golf course.
Holes one and ten were almost mirrors of each other, but beyond there the course opens up to a variety of challenging holes. Water was in play for a number of holes, notably the forth hole, being as close to the original design as the fairway swept along between sand dunes. The approach shot should be carefully considered as the small pond in front creates a magnetic field committing golf balls to the deep. Other such mindful idiosyncrasies were sloping greens such as the ninth with a big slope towards the ocean, bunkers as consistent as any good golf course and played well.
The longer kikuyu continued to plague me when slightly off the fairway. Even my trusty rescue woods had to battle their way through the matted grass, but when they struck gold, they were like a hot knife through butter and the sweet clink of the club face made me smile once more. A stunning course, not trying to be something it isn’t, just a good honest play with it all set out in front of you to see as the fairways ducked and dived between the trees and dunes and popped out to take in the whole course, all the time bringing a depth of play with he ocean in the distance.
The greens were fantastic, the course design was easy to follow and it did turn after nine back at the clubhouse to top up with some cold water. Some elevated tee boxes and also some elevated greens keep you on your toes.
However, even the water shy can plot their way around this beautifully presented course, set in a valley which allegedly if the winds blows down the valley towards the sea, its going to rain. Luckily for us, on both visits that wind didn’t blow and we were able to enjoy Clovelly as two regular golfers having a fantastic day out golfing. It is hardly surprising Clovelly is no. 45 in South Africa, it was a great day out and we hadn’t finished yet!
Clovelly’s delights didn’t end with the golf. Sat on the clubhouse terrace overlooking the course we were presented with a menu, the selection wasn’t huge, but there was enough variety to give us a sore head trying to choose, and we weren’t disappointed. The food delivered was a perfect size portion and tasted amazing. Members chatting easily with us, we were made to feel welcome as visitors and as golfers. With the peacock wandering around, the sea in the far distance and the golf course in the near view, life couldn’t get any better
By stark contrast a trip into Cape Town was a slap in the face back to reality. It is many years, well 30’ish to be exact, since we visited Cape Town as a tourist, so we were determined to make the most of it. Starting at V&A Waterfront we were staggered at how busy it was, it wasn’t an aggressive hustle and bustle of a crowded shopping centre, it was just constant with people. The cleanliness was ever present, and covid times were taken seriously with hand sanitiser distributers at every entrance to every shop or restaurant. With the sunshine glistening on the water, the V&A looked spick and span as the ocean movement gently lapped up to the boats at rest in the harbour. We took a short harbour cruise, met with sleeping seals upon the huge tyres preventing the boats from crashing against the sea walls, and views fo the beautiful and iconic Table Mountain didn’t disappoint.
Next stop was Table Mountain. Five years ago we decided to walk up Table Mountain, so having already ticked that box we jumped on the cable car – just as the table cloth descended upon the top! The views going up the mountain were stunning, despite the cable car track being quite steep and tight! The cabal car seemed to travel at a pace, but apparently it takes about 6 minutes up or down but depends on how full the cars were. It was a one up one down mechanism, with the cars driving each other on a push me pull me arrangement.
A full days sightseeing was enough for us, but the drive back to where were were staying took us through Hout Bay and up over Chapmans Pass – wow, what a sights we feasted our eye upon the sun setting as we climbed the hills overlooking the beautiful blue bays beneath.
This is not our first trip to Cape Town, but it is our first to play golf and stay out of the big city. As Clovelly was our first encounter playing golf in the Cape, we knew that we were not going to be disappointed with our chosen venue.
Thank you Clovelly for making us feel welcome
This is the first of three articles and videos we will show out our trip to South Africa.
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Thanks for reading
Sarah & Steve Forrest