GEORGE, South Africa -- The The Montagu golf course will always live in the shadow of its sister course at Fancourt, the world-ranked Links at Fancourt.
Montagu is still plenty good. A 2005 redesign by David McLay Kidd helped the original Gary Player design blossom into one of South Africa's premier places to play. Golf Digest South Africa ranked the Links first and Montagu sixth among the country's top courses in 2014.
Kidd built two new holes -- the par-4 first and the par-5 ninth -- and added other cosmetic changes to many of the greens on the 6,714-meter layout. Overwhelming positive impressions are left by the water hazards, sweeping elevation changes and beautiful landscaping around the tees and greens. Many of the fairway bunkers on the front nine jut into wide fairways, tempting players at taking them on.
Ponds and streams intrude upon six straight holes in the middle of the round, starting at the sixth, a tough par 4 that's the no. 1 handicap, and finishing at the 10th, a downhill par 5 with some risk-reward involved.
Three daunting par 4s at holes 13-15 on the far side of the property derail many rounds. The relief comes at the 16th, a drivable par 4. The final approaches on the par-3 17th hole and par-5 18th hole must carry ponds. After the round, head for the terrace with a drink in hand to watch other golfers attempt to tackle this tough finish.