Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 9
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 9
The ninth hole at Leopard Creek Country Club falls downhill to the large water hazard around the clubhouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 1
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 1
The first hole at Leopard Creek Country Club is guarded in front by a narrow creek bed. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 2
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 2
The par-5 second hole at Leopard Creek Country Club bends right with plenty of bunkers to avoid. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 3
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 3
Beware the hidden creek on the par-4 third hole at Leopard Creek Country Club in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 4
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 4
The fourth hole at Leopard Creek Country Club doglegs hard left to a green with a single bunker in front. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 5
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 5
A leopard statue -- like this one on the fifth tee -- accompanies every hole at Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 6
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 6
The driveable par-4 sixth hole at Leopard Creek C.C. provides a fun challenge. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 7
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 7
A monkey races by the par-3 seventh green at Leopard Creek Country Club, which sits adjacent to South Africa's Kruger National Park. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek Country Club - sandwich tray
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Leopard Creek Country Club - sandwich tray
Leopard Creek Country Club serves a complimentary sandwich tray for lunch at the turn, a break that is a part of the golf tradition in South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 10
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 10
The 10th hole kicks off a strong back nine at Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 11
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 11
A bunker in the middle of the fairway and dense jungle protect the 11th hole of the Leopard Creek golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 12
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 12
The par-3 12th hole at Leopard Creek Country Club tumbles downhill. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 13
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 13
The 13th green of Leopard Creek Country Club overlooks Crocodile River, which flows mostly during the rainy season. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - hippos
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - hippos
Two hippos graze in the distance at Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 17
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 17
All you can see is water on the treacherous par-3 17th hole at Leopard Creek Country Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 18
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Leopard Creek C.C. golf course - no. 18
Water surrounds all sides of the 18th green at Leopard Creek Country Club, near Kruger National Park in South Africa. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Leopard Creek Country Club: Perhaps South Africa's premier "Top 100" golf playground

MPUMALANGA, South Africa -- Leopard Creek Country Club -- host of the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship since 2011 -- is two parts Augusta National, one part zoo.

It requires a stay at one of 15 safari lodges associated with the club to get on Leopard Creek, one of three golf courses in South Africa to make a world "Top 100" list. The club's exclusivity, impeccable conditioning and location adjacent to the Kruger National Park create a memorable day.

Golfers may encounter monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, antelope, cobras, turtles and lizards. Leopards are perched near every tee box. A collection of 18 leopard sculptures depict a day in the life of a leopard from awakening to the kill. The Gary Player design follows a similar arc, starting simple before building for a killer finish. Solid holes on the front nine -- notably the driveable sixth and difficult downhill ninth -- give way to a more dramatic back nine. No. 11, a par 4, climbs uphill through dense jungle over a bunker in the middle of the fairway. The drive on the signature par-5 13th hole must leapfrog a creek. Its green overlooks Crocodile River, where hippos and crocs roam free. The par-5 16th and par-3 17th holes share a large pond. Water surrounds the 18th green, the finish of a downhill par 4 in the shadow of the clubhouse. These obstacles determine the fate of every round at Leopard Creek, from pros to members alike.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Leopard Creek Country Club: Perhaps South Africa's premier "Top 100" golf playground
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