Fancourt Links, South Africa

Fancourt Links is designed by Gary Player, currently ranked No. 1 in South Africa and amongst the top 100 in the world. I had really been looking forward to playing this course. Staying at the resort you get picked up and taken by shuttle to the Links course. Upon arrival you are welcomed and handed this note.

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Nice little appetizer for the day. I booked an early tee time and was literally the only one on the course and the clubhouse for a couple of hours. I walked around the clubhouse and saw some of the history….

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IMG_6825.JPGThe weather was nice and I went on the range for a quick warmup.

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The facilities are immaculate and up to the best standards. My caddie was busy cleaning my clubs on the range to ensure everything was ready for what hopefully would be an epic day on the course. I practiced putting a bit before heading to the first tee, where you are handed a menu to choose what to have in the halfway house – nice touch….

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Hole 1, Par 4, 352m

A short par 4 to start with, but with well placed bunkers. Already looking at the layout of the first hole I knew this was going to be a great experience. I reminded me a bit of Kiawah Island where the holes are also shaped nicely throughout a natural terrain – something I really enjoy. I hit my tee shot in the right hand rough and had a 9 iron to the green.

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Unfortunately I got a flyer and went over the green. Did not manage to get up and down so a bogey start on the first hole.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 195m

Second hole is just magnificent. Called Map of Africa for obvious reasons. It is a pretty big green with large slopes and bunkers guarding around. I hit a 7 iron onto the left hand side of the green and was faced with a tricky downhill turning putt. Here is where my caddie came into play and provided some good reads on the green as well as on course suggestions. Good quality caddie and in my experience it can vary a lot.

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Hole 3, Par 4, 397m

3rd is one of the more difficult par 4s.

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I hit my drive left and couldn’t reach the green. Manage to save my par anyway.

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Hole 4, Par 4, 418m

Another long Par 4 but I hit a good drive down the fairway and good approach shot to set up a par.

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Hole 5, Par 5, 482m

The first par 5 on the course where I hit my first shot into the bushes on the right hand side and had to take a penalty shot resulting in a double bogey. The green is very well protected with bunker and water in front.

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approach to 5th green
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Hole 6, Par 4, 297m

6th a short par 4, but with plenty of well placed bunkers to take wayward tee shots.

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6th fairway

I hit the fairway but missed the green and made bogey.

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Fairway on the 402m Par 4 7th hole

 

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7th green

I managed to hit the green in regulation and made par.

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Hole 8, Par 3, 166m

Another good-looking par 3, I really like the way these holes are shaped in what seems to be the natural environment and you can see the well manicured greens to aim for in the distance. Didnt manage to hit this one in regulation but saved par.

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9th green approach

I shot 41 and 5 over par on the front nine, which I tought was pretty good even though I had double bogey on a par 5. The last hole on the front nine is a long par 5 on 540m where I missed my drive left and made bogey.

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Lunch was ready and served when I reached the halfway house. Really nice spicy chicken wrap and great service. 

You pay a part of the caddie fee after 9 holes, so the caddie can get some refreshments as well.

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Hole 10, Par 4, 356m

10th is one of the shorter par 4s and not too difficult, but as you can see below the bunkers needs to be avoided to have a good chance of a decent score.IMG_6897.JPG

 

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Hole 11, Par 3, 135m

A short par 3 with a large greens that is long and narrow. Requires good distance control.

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The pin was placed on the right hand side of the green and I decided to try to directly at the pin. Good shot, but missed the birdie opportunity.

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Hole 11, Par 4, 418m

The most difficult hole on the course.

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11th green

I had an 8 iron to the green in my second shot, but missed it right into the bunker. Manage to get up and down on what is a green with large slopes. Difficult to see on the picture, but I slopes severely back to front and the approach shot should be a little long to set up the ball rolling back towards the pin.

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Hole 12, Par 5, 468m
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11th green
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Hole 14, Par 4, 309m
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14th green

14th green is a pretty small target, so even though the hole is not long it requires a good approach shot.

The have placed a bench in the bunker behind 14 if you have a little time to sit an enjoy the views.

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Hole 15, Par 4, 362m

One of the really good holes on the course a dogleg left. I played a hybrid from the tee to have a better chance of hitting the fairway which I did.

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Well made paths that you walk on through the terrain. It is a walking only course and that is a good idea and how it should be experienced
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As you can see from the picture the fairway has as lot of slope
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The green is protected by water on both sides

I missed my approach to the left of the green and made bogey. I would probably have taken a driver from the tee as the fairway is bigger than it looks from the tee. That would have left me a much shorter approach to the green.

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Hole 16, Par 5, 523m
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Try to avoid this bunker on 16. Apparently they had to add more sand to the bunker due to the members have too much trouble getting out.

 

 

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16h green
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Hole 17, Par 3, 149m

A well designed par 3 hole that was only playing 119m. I hit a poor tee shot that went into the rough on the right and didn’t manage to scramble for par. You definitely want to avoid being left and short.

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Hole 18, Par 5, 502m

A blind tee shot on the finishing hole. I am not a big fan of uphill blind tee shots, just think that it is much better to be able to watch your ball land.

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18th green

I went for the green in 2 but came up 30m short. Hit a decent approach but no birdie this time either and a finishing score of 81.

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You are handed a home-made ice tea after the round which was really nice. A great day at the links. It is one of my favourite courses and I really enjoy the design, layout and challenge of the course. The condition of the greens was not fantastic, but I knew that already as they had maintenance done a week prior to. Gary Player has done a tremendous job with this course and I would certainly like to come back and play it again some day.

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