Design of Gowrie Farm Golf Course


~ Selwyn Nathan ~
Commissioner of the South African PGA

Gowrie Farm was originally a golf course in the 1920’s, so it seemed appropriate for Gowrie Farm to revert to a golf course in 2008 – 150 years after it was initially registered as a farm.

Gowrie Farm Golf course is an 18 hole course, designed by Guy Smith, an Attorney from Pietermaritzburg. Guy is passionate about classic design and is heavily influenced by the old courses of Scotland and some of the courses built in the United States in the early 1900’s, in particular, Merion and Pinehurst.

In building Gowrie Farm, Guy identified the following as important elements in classic design:

  • Tees, which are close to the ground;
  • Fairway shapes which are dictated to by the natural features of the land;
  • Push-up greens with interesting run-offs;
  • Bunkers which are tucked in close to the greens; and
  • Fairway bunkers which dictate a player’s choice of option from the tee.

This has led to an exciting, traditional course, which is fun for the average golfer, but tough for the low handicapped golfer to post a good score.

Guide to Gowrie Farm Golf Course

Gowrie Farm is 1 450m above sea level. Allow for the ball travelling further than at the coast. And remember…

“The Wind is part of the Course”

As quoted by Bobby Jones

1st HOLE: PAR 4 – 383 370 361
Stroke 7. Dog-leg right. The line off the tee is the right half of the fairway, which will leave 150m to 120m to the green. Big hitters can reach the wetland.

2nd HOLE: PAR 5 – 488 467 406
Stroke 11. Dog-leg left where the big hitter can get home in two. The shorter drive needs 130m to carry the wetland and 186m to carry to the first bunker.

3rd HOLE: PAR 4 – 436 417 384
Stroke 3. A strong par 4. To get the best line in to the green, favour the right side of the fairway. The bunker on the left is 175m to the green.

4th HOLE: PAR 3 – 131 113 110
Stroke 15. A cheeky par three where club selection is all important. Too much club brings the water into play.

5th HOLE: PAR 4 – 431 418 371
Stroke 1. A monster into the prevailing wind. A worthy stroke one hole.

6th HOLE: PAR 4 – 335 329 321
Stroke 17. Short dog-leg left, the big hitter can carry the bunker on the left of the fairway. For others, the option may be a 3 or 5 wood, leaving 100m to 120m to the green.

7th HOLE: PAR 4 – 333 323 289
Stroke 9. This is a drivable par 4 for the strong player. The safe line is to either play short of or over the Island of Turf grass in the centre of the fairway. The Island is 120m from the green.

8th HOLE: PAR 3 – 184 167 163
Stroke 13. A par 3 where it is better to be short than long. Avoid the “spectacle” bunkers on the right.

9th HOLE: PAR 4 – 283 278 261
Stroke 5. Short par 4. Long iron or 5 wood is all you need for the tee shot. This will leave you a wedge or 9 iron to a green on the water’s edge. Safer to be on the right of the fairway, as the left runs into the water.

10th HOLE: PAR 4 – 408 389 378
Stroke 10. A blind tee shot over the stake will give the same shot as on the first hole, with an additional 30m to the green.

11th HOLE: PAR 3 – 195 179 159
Stroke 18. A long shot to a narrow green. Better to be long than in the front bunkers.

12th HOLE: PAR 4 – 413 403 382
Stroke 2. A long straight tee shot should leave you with about 150m to the green.

13th HOLE: PAR 5 – 352 331 328
Stroke 14. This is the 3rd, played 50m longer. The long hitters can reach the far bunkers on the right and left.

14th HOLE: PAR 5 – 537 502 474
Stroke 4. A strong three shooter. Stay out of the bunkers if you want to make a par.

15th HOLE: PAR 3 – 164 142 138
Stroke 16. A pretty little hole with all the trouble on the right.

16th HOLE: PAR 4 – 389 374 351
Stroke 8. A good drive will get you to the crest of the hill and a clear shot to the green. Aim at the bunker in the distance. The long hitter can, however, reach this bunker and may choose to try and carry the bunker on the right of the fairway.

17th HOLE: PAR 3 – 179 172 160
Stroke 12. Here, you play to the 7th green. The only trouble close to the green is the bunker on the right.

18th HOLE: PAR 5 – 536 496 447
Stroke 6. A hole that records as many 7s as 4s and 5s. Play it carefully and it is not as dangerous as it looks. The tee shot can be played over the bunkers for the brave, or left for the average golfer, who will then have about 150m to the stake on the peninsula fairway. If you are 175m or more from the stake, lay up and play your third to the stake, which is 100m from the centre of the green. The big hitter can get home in 2, but watch the water with your tee shot.

Gowrie Farm Golf Estate is situated on the R103, Nottingham Road, in the KZN Midlands.  We are open to the public for golf, accommodation, breakfasts, lunches, conferences and functions. Open 7 days a week.