|Fancourt’s Montagu Course. The South Africa resort has three championship courses all designed by native son and golf legend Gary Player.|
South Africa may be known for wine and safaris, but its golf is just as striking. One place that is defining South African golf is Fancourt, in the heart of the country’s Garden Route. Why do we think so highly of it? Well, when you have three courses designed by legendary South African golfer Gary Player, it’s hard to debate.
The newest and most talked-about is The Links, which was added to the resort in 2000 and is unique for its links layout, as the name suggests. Player is a big fan of links golf, having won three Open Championships. “Links golf is how the game originated and at The Links we take golfers back to the roots of golf,” he says. The course, which plays 6,930 yards from the tips, typifies the classic links courses of Scotland and Ireland—the only difference, perhaps, being the fierce blowing winds (we don’t think golfers will mind too much). Note: The Links at Fancourt is a private club and, as such, there are limited tee times for hotel guests. Booking a tee time ahead of a guest’s stay—we say at least two months—is essential.
Easier tee times can be obtained at Fancourt’s other two courses—Montagu and Outeniqua. Both have a parkland layout and the former has recently undergone renovations with several holes being redesigned and two completely new—the first and the ninth—being added. Outeniqua is similar in character to Montagu and, likewise, play is restricted to hotel residents, members and their guests, so players will rarely feel crowded on the course. Note: Booking a tee time in advance of stay is still recommended.
|The Sea Island Suite features a fireplace and private balcony.|
Cool Touch: Fancourt is home to a TaylorMade Performance Lab, which provides golfers with an Ultimate Fitting Experience utilizing the same advancements in motion-capture technology seen in such films as The Lord of the Rings and Batman and in the Tiger Woods video game. We say this is a must-visit for any serious golfer. Luxury travel advisors should contact Golf Reservations Coordinator Nadene Loubscher with questions and tee time requests.
While golf is a point of emphasis at Fancourt, its accommodations match its courses’ lush fairways and landscape. Built in 1859, The Manor House is Fancourt’s original homestead and has now been rejuvenated as a luxury boutique hotel. The top accommodation here is the 1,670-square-foot Master Bedroom Suite. Views of the Outeniqua Mountains greet guests at every turn and amenities include a free-standing bathtub with separate, glass-enclosed shower. There is also a completely stocked Butler’s cove entrance. Note: The Manor House also has 13 Luxury Suites, each 645 square feet, and four Grand Suites, each 785 square feet.
Guests can also stay at the Fancourt Hotel, where the top accommodations are the two Two-Bedroom Suites, which come with their own balcony or patio and views of the gardens, golf course or Outeniqua Mountains. Contact Reservations Manager Liezl Van Der Spuy with questions.
Dining and spa are also featured attractions at Fancourt. Morning Glory restaurant overlooks the Outeniqua course and serves up Asian- and European-inspired dishes. For fine dining, Henry White’s Restaurant is well regarded and we hear the Karoo lamb is a must.
|The Coral Suite at Four Seasons Punta Mita is nestled at the end of the resort, on Manzanilla Beach.|
The spa has 14 treatment rooms along with a tepidarium, cold plunge pool and Roman bath. Note: We hear the deluxe aromassage is a must and should be requested with therapist Cornel Haskins. Contact Spa Manager Mericia Chapman for arrangements.
Getting There: Fly clients into George Airport, a domestic airport with daily arrivals and departures from all international airports nationwide. The airport, which is only five miles from Fancourt, can also accommodate private helicopters and jets. Ground services can be arranged through Van Der Spuy.
Stateside, Sea Island sets the tone for resort golf in southeastern Georgia. The resort is home to two championship courses—Plantation Course and Seaside Course, the more difficult test of the two. (Note: Seaside Course will be the site for this October’s PGA Tour event, the McGladrey Classic.)
The Plantation Course, which plays more than 7,000 yards from the tips, is a Rees Jones renovation and boasts expansive fairways that wind through the marsh and forest. We say it’s the perfect course for both the accomplished and beginning golfer.
|Four Seasons Punta Mita’s Beachfront Casitas open directly onto the Punta Mita beach.|
Meanwhile, the Seaside Course, at the tip of St. Simons Island, is a true oceanside links course, which puts a premium on shot selection and putting. The course, which has a slope rating of 141 and plays 7,055 from the men’s back tees, was originally designed in 1929 by famed architects Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison, before Tom Fazio gave it a facelift in 1999. Luxury travel advisors can contact Chrissy Felton to arrange golf outings. Note: Golfers would do well to visit the resort’s Golf Learning Center, where anyone from Davis Love III to Lucas Glover has gone for instruction.
Sea Island features two sets of accommodations: 195 rooms at The Cloister at Sea Island and 40 rooms at the more luxe The Lodge at Sea Island, which offers butler service among its other services and amenities. We hear the top suites at The Lodge are the Seaside Suite and Plantation Suite. Each comes with more than 1,000 square feet of space; view of the St. Simons Sound, Atlantic Ocean or the Plantation Golf Course; rich wood furnishings; and complimentary town bicycles. Contact Call Center Manager Christen McCuiston with questions.
Dining at Sea Island is as sublime as the golf. The Georgian Room is the top choice with fare described as “refined Georgian cuisine.” Hint: Take part in the restaurant’s Chef’s Table, where guests sit at a table in the kitchen and watch the executive chef prepare the meal, which is tailored for the guests. To book this experience, contact Restaurant Manager Tony Liartis.
Note: Guests looking for an even more private dining experience should contact Chef Concierge Houston Vissage, who can arrange a sunset cruise on the Cloister Belle for a romantic dinner for two.
Getting There: Fly clients into Jacksonville Airport in Florida (70 miles from the resort) or private planes can land at McKinnon Airport in St. Simons Island, GA, only five miles away.
|Sea Island has two 18-hole championship courses and a Golf Learning Center.|
South of the border, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better golf resort than Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. There are two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses: Pacifico, built back in 1999, and the more recent Bahia. Top View: Think hitting tee shots while looking out over the Pacific. Note: Golfers will love the novelty of Pacifico’s Hole 3B, dubbed The Tail of the Whale. We hear it is the world’s only natural-island green.
Post-round, VIPs will want to retire to one of the resort’s two Presidential Suites—Arena and Coral. Each has five bedrooms and a beachfront location. The resort’s most requested rooms are the Oceanview Premium Casita rooms along with the One-Bedroom Oceanfront Suites, which are cliff-side and have dramatic ocean views. Note: We hear guests can easily hear the waves crashing and spot whales and dolphins passing by. Hint: Look to book No. 400 or 500. Families should opt for one of Four Seasons Private Villas, the four of which are strewn throughout the resort. Luxury travel advisors should contact Liliana Diaz, travel industry sales manager.
|The Presidential Suite At Fancourt offers views of the resort’s gardens.|
The resort’s spa is noted for its use of indigenous ingredients in its treatments. Signature treatments include the Punta Mita Massage and Hakali Massage. Note: The former incorporates actual tequila while Hakali uses cactus pear. Services should be booked at least 15 days in advance through Assistant Spa Manager Ana Magno.
There are three restaurants at the resort, each serving different cuisines. Aramara is known for contemporary Asian cuisine; Ketsi, for modern Mexican; and Bahia, for its seafood and grilled meats. Note: The Chef’s Table, which pairs each course with a wine, is a great option for groups of 10 or more, and can be arranged at any of the restaurants. Contact Ana Velazquez to reserve.
Getting There: Fly clients into Puerto Vallarta, 26 miles from the resort. Tip: For a fanciful arrival, guests can opt for a transfer from the airport via the Four Seasons Punta Mita’s own yacht.