Golfing estates get a swing in interest

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter |
Golfing estates get a swing in interest

Picking up on the golf tourism phenomenon, and after extensive planning, SATSA recently launched a Golf Chapter aiming to showcase South Africa’s exceptional golf offerings; its unique blend of world-class courses, hospitality, cultural experiences, gastronomy, wine, and safari adventures.

With many of these facilities sited within golf estates, it begs the question whether we can anticipate a renewed interest in these environments, especially from foreigners looking to rent while touring the country or even make a property investment; and/or our local golfing enthusiasts who are attracted to not just the golfing opportunities, but also estates that further cater for the broader needs of families and their individual interests.

Many of these golfing estates offer championship courses, designed by pro golfers like Barry Richards, Ronald Dream and David Dale, the latter two of which designed Pezula Golf Course at Pezula in Knysna which has, over the years been recognised in the country’s Top 5 residential estates.

Even our own Ernie Els, whose company Ernie Els Design is advancing SA’s reputation as a premier golfing designation, recently announced a deal to create a golf course and associated facilities at the R10-billion Zimbali Lakes development on the KwaZulu-Natal North Course.

When Els spoke of the wider virtues of the development he said “Ballito has more gated communities per square metre than any other area in South Africa, which boasts many high-end properties that others around the world would love to call home. Club Med choosing to develop just north of Ballito indicates that this will now become an international destination, and with that comes huge international investment opportunities and exposure.”

One of those investors will be Els himself who says he intends to set-up a home at Zimbali Lakes. “Being able to spend time in a quality location such as this, where security, privacy, and lifestyle come first, is not too hard a decision. Also, the mild weather conditions on the north coast during the winter months will be perfect to spend time with my family and friends here.”

Louise Martin, CEO of Estate Living, can relate to El’s choice. “There is a very common term used in the estate industry, referencing individuals that own a property at a golf estate and live six months at the estate and six months overseas: the‘ Swallows’.

“In some communities such Swallows are on par with the number of permanent residents …it really depends on the estate. The deployment of fibre infrastructure and the pandemic really played a significant role in changing the traditional statistics around golf estate ownership, and it followed that large numbers of South African’s also moved to smaller towns for their golf offerings. Such includes the Garden Route, Hartebeespoort and Clarens.”

Martin confirms that of the country’s approximate 450 golf courses, 85 are registered at the Deeds Office specifically as ‘Golf Estates’. These estates also host hundreds of tournaments annually. “There is literally a tournament ongoing on a daily basis, some of which are large scale tournaments like the Sunshine Tour or PGA tournaments. However, not all golf estates qualify to host a tournament, they need to meet very strict tournament body criteria,” she says.

SATSA’s new Golf Chapter will be marketing South Africa’s golf experiences at the International Golf Travel Market conference in Lisbon in October, and also intends to organise a “familiarisation trip for international golf tour operators and pros to experience our offerings first-hand”.

These efforts will no doubt attract a steady stream of tourists and vacationers throughout the year. With continued development and marketing efforts by property stakeholders, owning a residence in a golf estate promises to be an investment that will have significant returns, be that rental or in lifestyle.

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