I told Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City, that I loved the game of golf but I’m no good, and he still insisted I played in his fourball on the day the golfing media turned out to announce the opening of The Club at Steyn City to the public.
In retrospect I think he might have chosen a more competent partner to take on Derek Watts and Mark Fraser, the latter a scratch golfer and the former off a handicap I think is far too high for his ability. It was tight through the 18 holes but Giuseppe and I lost R100 between us, which is now the stake on a double or nothing rematch.
The launch of the new 18-hole Steyn City Nicklaus Design golf course and clubhouse in the last quarter of 2014 has generated unprecedented interest and seen its management team inundated with requests from interested members of the public who wish to play a round of golf.
Steyn City’s Management’s original strategy was to host invitationals for VIPs and potential buyers until the official launch of the lifestyle resort in March 2015, after which golf course membership would be open to Steyn City homeowners.
However Giuseppe Plumari says; “Due to overwhelming interest, we have taken a decision to open the course for play to members of the public from 1st April 2015. We will revert to our original strategy once we reach critical mass but we only anticipate reaching capacity in a few years’ time, providing ample opportunity for golf enthusiasts to book a round at ‘The Club at Steyn City’ and experience Nicklaus Design at its best.”
The huge interest in ‘The Club at Steyn City’ is understandable given that it’s a stand out course. This is as a result of a substantial initial investment that saw the course constructed two to three years ahead of property sales, allowing for a lengthy growing in period, prior to the course opening. This is a reflection of the broader strategy underpinning the resort’s development that has seen an initial R6.5-billion investment so that the public has access to an already built product and fully functioning infrastructure.
Commenting on this novel approach Golf Course GM Ken Payet says; “We’re letting golfers see exactly what they’re buying into up front. This is one of the key reasons there has been such a surge in interest in the course and requests from individuals and corporates to play the course.”
In terms of the golf course, this allows the final product to reflect the full gambit of amenities not just a limited playable portion. The course therefore offers golfers a championship quality course with greens and tees planted with 007-Bentgrass and the fairways and roughs with cool season rye/fescue and Kentucky Blue Grass. This guarantees a green playing surface all year round.
It’s also home to an award winning, fully operational clubhouse that is home to the new XIX (Nineteen) Restaurant. A fully stocked boutique Pro Shop complements the clubhouse with its custom-made, wooden displays and hanging-rails to display the finest golf merchandise and apparel for all players.
In terms of rankings, Payet is confident that the Steyn City Golf Course will soon be recognised by the two most well-known rating systems in the country. The first of these is run by renowned publication Compleat Golfer and sees industry specialists rate the golf course and clubhouse on various ‘five star’ criteria such as service, playability and clubhouse amenities.
The second is overseen by Golf Digest magazine and is angled towards the technical aspects of the course. As such, a new golf course can be rated as the best new course in the country within two years and ranked amongst the Top 100 courses in the country after five years, which are both accolades that ‘The Club at Steyn City’ will strive for.
Accessibility is key
In terms of playability, Payet says the course has also been designed to be user-friendly for all levels of players from top golfers to amateurs. “We have always focused on this being an enjoyable course to play and it has been designed to be configured into either a championship golf course or a more user-friendly form, thanks to its wide fairways and a small number of bunkers.
Interestingly ‘The Club at Steyn City’ will also offer the option of playing a shorter round of nine holes. This is based on the appreciation that globally, leisure time is shrinking and people are therefore seeking out faster sports that take up less of their time.
In terms of usage, the number of players per day will be capped at a maximum of 80 and Payet stresses that the quality of the experience, created by the pristine condition of the Steyn City golf course will always be the top priority, versus the quantity of players.
The daily guest rate is R800, plus R350 golf cart hire. The course will be closed on Mondays to allow time for in-depth maintenance, ensuring a consistent, first class golfing experience. Individual bookings can be done two weeks in advance while group bookings (min 32 golfers – max 80 golfers) can book six months in advance.