I have always had an affinity for links courses. There is something about playing on a track that takes you back to the way our ancestors used to play the game. Although South Africa boasts 1740 miles of coastline, it houses a limited amount of links layouts. In this post, I am sharing my review of Milnerton Golf Club, South Africa’s second oldest links.
First Round in Three Years
My round at Milnerton marked the first time I had stepped onto a golf course in three years.
Even though I love the game of golf and make a living from writing about it, I still get as frustrated as every other amateur golfer when things are not going my way.
That is why in 2018, I decided to take a sabbatical from playing the game, and I had not hit the links since. Until I walked onto the first tee at Milnerton Golf Club.
Milnerton Golf Club Overview:
Year Opened: 1913
Distance: 5444 meters (5953 yards)
Course Type: Links
Course Designer: Golf Data
Fairway Grass: Kikuyu
Green Grass: Poa Bent Mix
Other Services: Golf cart hire, golf clubs hire, caddies, restaurant and bar
Club Hire: Yes
Best Time to Play: November – April
Green Fees(18): $54, £39, €45
Milnerton Golf Club Layout and Features:
Milnerton stands out as the best of a morsel of links courses in the Cape Town metropolitan.
The club opened in 1913 as a six-hole course. But it closed a year later due to the commencement of World War 1. It was reopened in 1925 as an 18-hole links course. That would change in 1995 when a housing estate was developed in the interior of the layout. Resulting in several holes rebuilt to work within the new boundaries.
While the housing development has certainly removed elements of a traditional links set up. However, the conditions, position, and design of Milnerton leaves no doubt that it passes for a links.
The greens are phenomenal at Milnerton, and I urge the powers that be to maintain their current greenkeeper, as they know what they are doing. They were in superb knick when I played and enjoyed the consistency of the speed.
Since I had a ton of articles to write, I did not have the time to fit in an entire round of 18, so I settled for a cheeky front nine knock around. Here is my review of how to play each hole to give yourself the best chance to keep your scores low at Milnerton.
First up at Milnerton Golf Club is the stroke 5, 371 yards Par 4. The 18th fairway runs down the right, while the Atlantic ocean lurks to the left. Aim to the left side of the fairway to leave yourself the best angle for your second shot.
With a 5-wood or 3-iron off the tee, the average golfer should have a 9-iron or pitching wedge into the green. This green is relatively straightforward and shouldn’t give you any headaches with the read.
Although it is stroke 5, any golfer should be gutted if they walk off this hole with anything worse than a Par. Unless the gale-force south-easter is pumping, then you should be happy to just get the ball in the cup.
While the bigger hitters may feel confident enough to drive this 306 yards Par 4, I would recommend taking a more conservative approach.
Strike a crisp 3-iron to the left side of the fairway. That should leave you with an easy 9-iron into a green that breaks in every direction.
Careful not to venture right as I did in this video, or your ball will end up in an unpredictable lie and turn this stroke 15 into a far tougher hole.
Conversely, do not venture too far left, as your ball will find itself on its way to Robben Island. For the average golfer, this should be a par hole, at least.
Next up is the third, which is the longest Par 4 on the course. It plays 427 yards from the whites and 448 yards from the back tees.
There is minimal trouble on this hole, just don’t go too far left, or you will be playing your second from the 4th fairway.
I would recommend crushing a 3-wood off the tee. However, shorter hitters may need a driver if they are to have any chance of reaching this green in regulation.
The 3rd green is relatively straightforward. But, if the pin is at the front and your ball at the back. You will endure a lightning-fast putt. As it is all downhill from there.
The 348 yard Par 4, 4th hole gives us our first taste of the housing estate, nestled within the Milnerton links. Houses line the right side of the hole, while the 3rd fairway protects the left.
It is easy to see why this is a stroke 3, as I am sure many a ball has ended up on the porch of a house.
Since this hole is not the longest in the world. I would recommend hitting a 3-iron or 5-wood off the tee as it should help you avoid trouble. A solid tee shot should leave the average hitter a 6 or 7-iron into the green.
I recommend aiming to the left-center of the fairway to eliminate any houses from the line of your shot.
The 4th green has two tiers. If the pin is in the front, do not go long. A downhill putt for birdie could quickly become a bogey or worse, given the speed of the green.
If I had to pick a signature hole on the front nine, there is no doubt that it is the Par 3, 5th.
Table Bay runs down the left of the hole, while shrubbery and houses watch on down the right. All this action happens as Table Mountain, Lions Head and the Cape Town CBD create the backdrop.
The back of the green is guarded by more thicket, and to score here requires accuracy on all levels. Do not go long, do not go right, and for the love of God, do not hit left, or the Atlantic will swallow your ball.
This is the thirteenth hardest hole on the course, measuring 164 yards. The weather was phenomenal on the day that I played. So, I gripped down on a 4-iron, took a three-quarter swing, and stuck it 7 feet from the pin.
I have heard about eye-watering scores on this hole during strokeplay tournaments when the Cape Doctor is in play. I am glad that I had a far more pleasant experience, carding a casual 3.
The 6th once was a Par 5 that has been shortened to a 280 yard Par 4. It is the eighth easiest hole and shortest par 4 on the links.
There is no need to do anything irrational on this hole, keep it slightly left, take a 3-iron off the tee, and you should have a pitching wedge or 9-iron at the most into the green.
If you end right, you will be lying in soft sand or fluffy rough, whichever your ball has the honor of landing on. That will turn an easy wedge approach shot into fluff and an ultimate double bogey. As I experienced first hand.
Longer hitters may fancy a crack at this green from off the tee. However, be aware that if you go well right. You run the risk of smashing somebody’s living room window.
After navigating Milnerton’s shortest Par 4, it is time for the 7th hole. Which also happens to be the shortest Par 3 on the course, measuring 127 yards.
The only real trouble on this hole is a pond to the right. Who is no stranger to gobbling down a buffet of balls. I played this hole super conservatively, gripping down on a 9-iron aiming to the left edge of the green and swinging easy.
I did hit the green in regulation. But, I left myself a 20-footer for birdie that I lagged up to the hole to tap in for a par. The pin was placed on a downhill leading to the water, so make sure you get the speed spot on, or it could turn ugly.
Finally, after 7 fantastic holes of golf, the first Par 5 of the round arrived. Measuring 476 yards, even moderate hitters can reach this green in two.
This was the first hole that I whipped out my driver, and considering that there was little to no trouble, I decided a bomb was in order.
While there are shrubs and a gravel path and to the right, it opens up 139 yards from the tee. Meaning that every golfer should be safe.
To the left, there are houses and water. But, you would need to top it and hook it to bring any of that into play.
I was not swinging at my optimal on this day. But, I was happy with my 284-yard drive, which left me 219 yards in for my second.
I smashed my 16-degree fairway wood that pitched on the front edge and rolled another 3-feet. It left me with an 18-footer uphill for eagle, which I steamed past the hole.
Thankfully, I was able to drain the returning 6-footer for a birdie.
If the pin is positioned in the front, make sure you do not hit it long. Otherwise, you will be left with a left to right, right to left pacey putt that could be impossible to keep on the green.
Those of you who are not comfortable bombing a driver can still score on this hole. A 3-wood, 3-wood, and sand wedge should suffice to put you in contention for a birdie.
Before you know it, you are walking onto the ninth tee box. The 404 yard Par 4 is the most challenging hole on the course for good reason. Water features up the right for large parts of the hole. While the 10th fairway runs down the left.
The 9th is not the shortest hole, but you must keep it tight and to the right-center of the fairway. I would recommend a 3-wood or 5-wood and target the center of the fairway.
Don’t put your cover on yet, as you may need to hit the same club again on your next shot. A water hazard protects the green on the left, and for those who go long, more water lurks behind the green.
I went left off the tee and ended on a downslope in the rough. I was 186 yards from the hole and decided to hit an easy 4-iron for my 2nd. Unfortunately, I caught a flyer that bounced to the right of the green and kicked directly into the water.
I dropped, chipped on, and two-putted for a disappointing double bogey to close out the nine.
Concluding Our Milnerton Golf Club Review
I thoroughly enjoyed my round at Milnerton. As far as value for money goes, I felt it was worth it. The greens on this links are phenomenal, and it has the most diverse vistas of any cause in the area.
As far as my golf course review on Milnerton Golf Club goes, my experience was fantastic.
The service of the staff was impeccable, the golf carts were in satisfactory condition, the views were epic, the course was in great knick, and it was excellent value for money.
If you would like to learn more about Milnerton, head over to our YouTube channel and enjoy our course vlog.