fairways & beyond

Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate is no stranger to the whims of nature. In 1987, after a biblical downpour, its course and clubhouse flooded. The next year, a fire ripped through the clubhouse, reducing it to ashes in under an hour. In 2022, it co-witnessed the most catastrophic floods recorded in KwaZulu-Natal history. And just this past January, water again made itself at home in the clubhouse.

If disasters are one constant of life at Mount Edgecombe, coming out stronger at the other end is another.

When the clubhouse fell to its knees in 1988, the club, still known as Huletts Country Club, had only one course. By 1992, as the Mount Edgecombe residential estate was in development, it had not only upgraded the existing course, today known as “The Woods”, to USGA specifications, but also commissioned the creation of another, “The Lakes”.

Mount Edgecombe’s roots trace back to 1924, when a group of employees at the sugar estate on which it now sits decided to carve out nine holes instead of continuing to make the 15km trek to Durban for their golf fix.


Introducing Mount Edgecombe’s head green superintendent Mary Sibiya, who takes care of the immaculate greens of The Woods course.

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Mount Edgecombe golf director Kevin Stone explains how all the staff handled the storm damage just two weeks before hosting the 2024 SA Stroke Play Championship.

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explore the woods course

explore the lakes course

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Eight-time SA Open winner Sid Brews lengthened the course to 18 holes in 1935, and the design remained unchanged until Hugh Baiocchi modernised it in 1992. Peter Matkovich and his team made further changes in 2017 and 2023, with the 2023 update focusing on the bunker complex.

“The bunkers had not been upgraded in many years and the drainage was extremely poor,” says CEO Desiree Stone. “They were all redone and repositioned. We also added new bunkers. Additionally, we extended and added many tee boxes, and redid four greens. All the putting surfaces are now bent grass.”

The Woods is generally considered the easier of the two layouts. Less undulating and with fewer water hazards, higher-handicapped players in particular tend to find it less penalising.

It is not without venom, though.

Holes 14 to 16 – its so-called ‘Amen Corner’ – can make or break your round. The par-five 14th’s green is guarded by water, leaving the longer hitter with an important decision on their second shot. The 15th is a par three across water, and on the next tee box, you will have to clear a dam to reach the fairway.

Formerly a par 72, Peter Matkovich shortened the parkland layout by two shots in 2017, replacing the par-five 5th with an exciting downhill par three with water left of the green, now the 7th.

Unlike its upstart sibling, The Woods is an easy walk – and a scenic one at that, its Royal Blue fairways lined with beautiful pines, gums and exotic trees.


The design upgrade at The Woods course featured a complete re-bunkering of the golf course, where 39 bunkers were closed up and 58 new bunkers constructed.

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Everything you need to know about what’s on offer at Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate.

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Before & after the upgrades on the 4th, 15th & 16th holes

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If you arrive at Mount Edgecombe in a more adventurous mood (and with an ample supply of spare balls), head over to The Lakes.

Nestled amid rolling hills, it has many elevation changes and, as its name suggests, water lies at the bottom of those hills.

The Pani Dam is the biggest of these puddles, and nowhere does it loom larger in players’ minds than on the 8th and 9th, where it runs along the left. And if you think you’ll bail out on the right, don’t bother: indigenous bush is lying in wait.

If worse comes to worst and you blunder these holes, at least you can console yourself with a beautiful view of the Pani Dam while nibbling on your halfway meal. You may even spot a fish eagle.

Both courses are of championship pedigree and have hosted many prestigious tournaments. At the end of January this year, The Woods hosted the SA Stroke Play Championship for men. In 2024, The Lakes did. The 2023 SA Stroke Play Championship for women took place over both courses. For the club, these tournaments are business as usual.

“We strive to keep the courses in excellent condition year-round,” says Stone, “not just for special occasions.”


Golf days co-ordinator Thobile Mhlongo

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Fortunately, thanks to the work done on the course after the 2022 floods, it sustained minimal damage on 13 January when 100mm of rain fell in less than 45 minutes. Only the clubhouse took a beating.

“Extensive drainage and stormwater measures were put in place at a huge cost, but sadly the main municipal road flooded. All the measures worked exceptionally well, but the road just could not cope.”

Just as it did in 1988 and 2022, the club is again emerging stronger at the other end of this disaster. “We are installing further stormwater measures, again at a major cost. Hopefully, this will ensure we do not flood again.”

What can other clubs learn?

“Sadly, it is hard to predict these freak storms, even though there seem to be more and more each year. Investing in robust drainage and stormwater systems certainly will help. All I can say is that the power of water must never be underestimated. And in the office environment, do not leave any important documents and computers on the floor!”


Tournament Sunday vibes at Mount Edgecombe.

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