Pecanwood Estate in Hartbeespoort was one of the first golf estates to grace South Africa’s propertscape and has officially sold out. Established in the early 90’s, Pecanwood occupies what was once a tomato farm. Rodney Clare, owner of the Maccon Group (a fledgling development company at the time) came across the land entirely by chance. One day in 1993, Clare and his wife visited Eagle’s Landing to purchase a weekend home. The selling agent happened to joke that for a little more than the asking price of a home at Eagle’s Landing, Clare could purchase the vacant land next door and have his own estate.
An entrepreneur to the core, Clare bought the farm with a view to creating one of South Africa’s first golf estates. In line with this premise, he toured the USA to get a feel for the golf estates there, following which he proposed two developments to his bank: Key West (which would occupy 45 of the 255 hectares of land) and another residential estate which would become Pecanwood.
At the time, Hartbeespoort wasn’t viewed as an upmarket destination. Thus it was deemed necessary to create a draw card to entice buyers. To create appeal, Jack Nicklaus was invited to come out from the USA and design a golf course for the estate.
At one point Maccon began to run low on cash and the bank began to get twitchy. Pecanwood was in need of a financial partner but South African backers were unwilling to come to the party as they believed the estate was doomed to flop. Luckily, it came to Maccon’s attention that Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the owner of Malaysian development company Country Heights was interested in investing in a South African construction project.
Country Heights had been involved with a number of notable projects including the development of The Mines Golf and Residential Estate in Kuala Lumpur. Incredibly, after a brief helicopter flight over the proposed Pecanwood site, Tan Sri signed a joint venture agreement with Maccon on the back of an envelope.
Following Country Heights’ much needed cash injection, construction work on Pecanwood kicked into high gear. Pecanwood’s original homes were built along very strict architectural guidelines based on an American gated development named PGA West in Palm Springs, Arizona. Later Pecanwood homes sport far more diverse architectural lines.
Today, after many years of intensive work, Pecanwood is arguably one of South Africa’s most sought after and successful residential estates. The estate encompasses 825 properties and offers an enviable lifestyle complete with nearby medical facilities, shops and offices. Schooling is provided by the adjacent Pecanwood College which has earned a reputation for educational excellence. The college is set to offer a boarding facility in the near future.
Residents never run short of activities. The estate offers a health spa, gym and golf training academy at its award winning club house alongside bird-watching, boating, jet-skiing, volleyball, tennis and swimming. And of course there is Pecanwood’s golf course which needs no introduction. The condition of this five star course simply improves from year to year and continues to give other courses a run for their money. A beautiful country setting and stringent security protocols round off this already highly appealing lifestyle package. According to Johan Kruger, General Manager of the estate, Pecanwood properties are priced at between R1, 8m and R25m and demand for a spot at the estate remains robust.