Fairways & Beyond

Gowrie Farm, in the sleepy KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, is a delightful Scottish links-style golf course. How it came to be such a thing, though, and what it now represents, brings with it one of the most interesting South African golf stories.

Guy Smith, a local attorney from the Pietermaritzburg region is the man this is based around. After playing a key role in the development of Prince’s Grant Golf Estate with Peter Matkovich, Smith wanted to turn the land we know as Gowrie Farm into a course of his own making.

The motivation was simple. It wasn’t about making a flashy resort-style golf experience, or maximising estate property sales with the course as a hook. He wanted to created a course where golf could be played the way it was meant to.

This stemmed from his love for the great traditional American layouts. To learn from them he made numerous trips to the US in the lead-up to creating Gowrie, once spending a week at Pinehurst and the Donald Ross museum to get a greater understanding of what made the magnificent course so timeless. These trips were followed by visits to Scotland, where he was equally impressed and drawn in by the natural charms of the country’s many iconic links golf courses.


Guy Smith creating a pure golf experience.



Everything you need to know about what’s on offer at Gowrie Farm.

With natural, defining undulations and existing water hazards from original farming needs, Smith felt his Gowrie property just off Nottingham Road would be an ideal place to create the kind of golf course he loved.

With limited equipment and resources, the initial course was mostly developed by his sheer passion for the project and desire for the natural elements to play their part. Twelve push-up greens were created and fairways were laid along the contours, with signature links-styled bunkers knitted into the landscape from there.

To access the 12 greens, 18 sets of tees were created for a layout that provided a great variety of holes. Although this set-up gave Gowrie a unique appeal and praise from all golfing quarters, the feeling was always that it needed to be expanded into a true 18-hole layout for it to reach its true potential.

Smith teamed up with investment partner Roger Newman and SA golfing great Dale Hayes to take this next step. He did this with ample consideration, to ensure that what existed at Gowrie could be completed with the spirit of the course being honoured.

The bulk of the additions appear on the front nine of the layout. After playing the original 1st hole away from the clubhouse, you then play the old 11th as it was, before embarking on seven new holes.


Gowrie Farm Golf Club members comprise homeowners and 180 outside memberships.

Gallery below


Check out the full view of phases one and two at Gowrie Farm.

watch now

Most notable being the par-four 5th, where a low stone wall runs along the left of the hole before cutting across the fairway short of the green. It probably isn’t something you’ve seen on a course before, but is a definite reference to Scotland’s old coastal links courses where age-old stone structures pop up.

The 9th hole then brings these new additions to a thrilling end with the risk-and-reward drivable par four. By sheer distance it may seem inviting, but with a significantly raised green you have a delightful “natural” obstacle to test any level of golfer holing out from there.

The main feeling of this upgrade is that Smith and his team haven’t just added more holes to Gowrie Farm to get to 18. They have well and truly finished what was started, and with it added a golfing experience for all who visit this unique part of South Africa to enjoy.