Leopard Creek Golf Club
Leopard Creek Golf Club is situated near Malelane in the heart of Mpumalanga, on the southern border of the Kruger National Park. The 360 hectare development is bordered to the north and the west by the picturesque Crocodile River and the Kruger National Park. Typical bushveld koppies overlook the course from the east, providing an ideal backdrop for a magnificent course.
The 505 meter par-five 13th is one of Leopard Creek’s most memorable holes. Here the green is right on the edge of the Crocodile river but 32 meters above the level of the water, offering magnificent views up the river and into the Kruger Park.
|Red (W)||72||5160 meters|
|Black M: 73.1/123 W: 74.1/125||383||530||410||390||150||292||197||439||435||3226||395||343||176||505||378||547||190||410||495||3439||6665|
An exclusive round in the bush
Leopard Creek feels like the Augusta National of South Africa. Access is difficult - you must stay at one of 15 safari lodges to book a tee time. My group stayed at the nearby Jock Safari Lodge, a place I'd highly recommend. Conditioning at Leopard Creek is spotless. I played it just days after the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Championship, a European Tour event. Adjacent to Kruger National Park, Leopard Creek has wildlife galore. During my round, I encountered a dozen or more monkeys and a spitting cobra crossing a fairway. Hippos were grazing along Crocodile River, only seen from the 13th green. The layout itself is water logged with a dramatic finish at holes 16-17-18. It is the best safari-golf combination in the world, so don't miss it if you travel to South Africa.
Excellent golf in a special setting
By itself, Leopard Creek would just be a high end country club, with plenty of good holes, a beautiful clubhouse and the service you would expect from a club owned by South Africa's richest man. But put it on the edge of the Kruger and you've got one special place. At one time, it wasn't uncommon to see giraffes and other wildlife actually on the course (they were doing damage so some fencing has been added), but you can still see plenty (like hippos and crocs) when you look down on the Crocodile River below from the par-5 13th hole. And throughout the course are statues depicting the leopard in various stages -- from awakening to the triumph of the kill. As for the course, there are plenty of memorable holes (9 & 18 share a lake), excellent conditions and that feeling of having the course all to yourself, which is what you might expect when playing perhaps the country's most exclusive club.