Leopard Creek is regularly ranked among the top 2 golf courses in South Africa.
Leopard Creek is located on the Crocodile River with some holes offering direct views of the Kruger National Park. You will know it from watching the pros and I have now had the unique opportunity to play thie course myself! We were standing in front of the gate of Leopard Creek Estate, which is like the gate to the Kruger National Park, nicely covered with reed, our hearts are already racing.
After we pass the gate, we drive another three kilometers to the clubhouse. It’s a bit like driving through the bush with no houses to be seen, just a few gazelles on the side of the road looking up as you drive by.
Then, after the last curve, suddenly there is only a perfectly manicured park landscape and a radiant green lawn that has been mowed short. I can see the sparkle in my husband’s eyes: one practice area next to the other, a playground for every training fanatic to hit unlimited golf balls.
The clubhouse welcomes us. The restaurant and bar overlook the 9th and 18th greens, both beautifully framed by water that are being fed by a creek that separates the two fairways. Then the thought crosses my mind, “hopefully the terrace isn’t full” when we play these two greens. We golfers love to see whether others will hit the green or not. The concierge promptly collects our golf luggage and prepares the cart for us. The way to the pro shop is already programmed into the golf carts navigation system and when you get there, you will want to take a souvenir with you to remember.
At each of the 18 tee boxes is a life-size bronze leopard statue and they are very impressive. They guide us along the course and also describe the daily routine of a leopard resting, hunting and relaxing. A truly wonderful experience.
Back at the cart, our freshly cleaned clubs are hastily brought to us. The service is really friendly and accommodating. Scorecards, tees and pencils are available at the first tee box, along with a cooler box stacked with fresh ice and water, so that we may also enjoy playing in the shade at 30 degrees.
The fairways are generally wide and easy to see. A fair course with beautiful white bunkers, blue water and greenery as far as the eye can see. The fairway is accurately distinguished from the first cut and rough while the greens are not too fast and easy to read. Those who stay on the fairway and are good at estimating their lengths can come off the course with a big grin and a great score. If you are impressed by nature, animals and can also bring a great round home with you, then you are likely to get the most out of your day here.
The halfway house, with a small terrace and a view of the Crocodile River has good offerings and the 15-Minute break flies by here. The second 9 is more spectacular as it gets a bit hilly and of course there are holes with a view of the Kruger National Park.
When we sit on the terrace after the round and enjoy our gin & tonic, watching the golfers come in, I’m happy that I played the 9 and the 18 well, not losing a single ball! It was a great day that we all enjoyed to the fullest and that will be remembered.
And so, my final thoughts: It was an amazing experience to play this course. It has such well-kept fairways, greens and with the houses being so rare, hidden amidst the many trees, there is just an aura that surrounds this place. You could play here until your arms tire. The 9 hole par 3 Course belonging to the facility should not be underestimated either, each hole modeled after spectacular par 3’s we all know and love. Augusta, TPC Sawgrass and St Andrews all in in one Day. So take enough balls with you.
Although the price may seem steep for some, playing at Leopard Creek was truly worth it and a once in a lifetime experience. Life has been kind to us and a dream has come true.