The only ‘True Links’ golf course in South Africa

The only ‘True Links’ golf course in South Africa

Many golf courses market themselves as a links or links-style course but very few can lay claim to being a ‘True Links’ course.

According to the list that The Links Association has put together, there are only 247 true links courses in the world. 

Only one course in the whole of Africa fits the strict definitions applied.

Just 17 courses in the Southern hemisphere have made the cut with 16 of those found in Australia or New Zealand.

Humewood, South Africa’s only True Links course 

Colonel Stafford Vere Hotchkin originally laid out the 18-hole championship golf course at Humewood.

That original layout, the design of which was initiated in 1929, was a massive par 76 which featured no fewer than eight par fives.

Humewood’s original routing remains intact. Cut to par four were four of the par fives.

In the 1980s Humewood engaged Donald Steel to perform a re-bunkering exercise on the course. More recently, the greens were overhauled in 2008.

Steeped in history this course is on many bucket lists.

The dunes of Algoa Bay house a links masterpiece

Humewood, a challenging test of links golf ability, lies amid the sand dunes of Algoa Bay, just south of Gqeberha

Its Fairways are wide to accommodate for the high gusts that sometimes blow in off the Indian Ocean.

As with most links courses, the wind can elevate the challenge level of the course immensely.

Challenging but enjoyable

The rough and thick coastal bush that flanks many holes augment that challenge even further and ensure that Humewood challenges the golfer even on the still days.

Bunkers are sparse. That said, they can be extremely punishing to anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in one.

The signature hole on the course is undoubtedly the 449-yard, par four, 13th. The hole may be arrow straight but usually plays into a prevailing wind.

True Links endorsement

In their famous reference work True Links, authors George Peper and Malcolm Campbell wrote: “Humewood, in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth [Gqeberha], South Africa, is a bona fide links, Kikuyu and Bermuda grass – two notoriously poor links grasses – cover the fairways, and yet those fairways bounce and roll as if they were in Great Britain. Somehow Humewood not only exists but thrives, the world’s only links whose resident fauna include meerkats and monkeys.”

Visitors to Humewood note the friendly staff and unpretentious atmosphere of the club.

The club is open to visitors subject to a booking, and green fees are reasonable considering this is the only ‘True Links’ course on the continent.