Golf tourism is a niche sports tourism market and can be pursued as a secondary activity by travellers on their vacation, which is a growing trend in South Africa.
Peter Dros, Sales and Marketing Director at Fancourt Hotel, says: “We have currently seen an uptake from countries like China, Japan and India. We still have an interest from ‘golfing’ countries like Germany, Scotland and England, as we always have.”
Golf is not only a revenue-generating sport, but also an opportunity creator for travel and hospitality services such as hotels, restaurants, car-rental companies and airlines. In South Africa, there are a number of hotels that specialise in golf, from the golf courses in Cape and the championship courses on the Garden Route.
“I think golf tourism a growing trend for the international market, as we have some of the top golf courses in the world in South Africa,” says Melisia La Cock Sales Manager at Pezula Hotel in Knysna. “Golfers like to say they have played on various golf courses around the world, especially if they have come to South Africa.”
Pezula offers a variety of golfing products for tourists to choose from. The Pezula Championship Golf Course is internationally acclaimed, and guests can also access other clubs in the area through the Garden Route Golf package, such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay Country Club and Goose Valley while staying at the hotel.
“We have dedicated golf suites for our players, which are available with our stay-and-play packages. We are also building a new conference venue that can be used for events,” says La Cock.
Fancourt Hotel in George has three of its golf courses ranked among Golf Digest’s top-20 courses in the country. The Links, a privately owned club, is currently number-one in South Africa and was ranked 38th in the world in 2018 by Golf Digest USA. The Montagu and Outeniqua golf courses are both ranked in the top 15 in South Africa.
“The golf courses at Fancourt are always constantly tweaked to keep up with world trends. Currently we are busy with a bunker upgrade programme with regard to the drainage and sand, the halfway houses are also always looking at ways where we can bespoke our offerings. We are always upgrading our golfing facilities and clearing brush, making for a more pleasant golfing experience,” says Dros.
For guests staying at Fancourt who are interested in learning the sport, there is an academy for golfers of all ages and abilities. It offers private and group golf lessons in half-hour and hour-long packages, hotel guest day rate packages and private and group junior lessons.
The academy uses carefully structured golf lessons with PGA professionals, to facilitate learning and improve golfers’ game.