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Home > Articles > Miscellaneous > Golf > Fancourt Hotel, Country Club and Golf Estate - Ranked 59th by Golf Digest

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Fancourt Hotel, Country Club and Golf Estate - Ranked 59th by Golf Digest
Located on the stunning Fancourt Hotel, Country Club and Golf Estate in the picturesque southern Cape, The Links at Fancourt played host to the memorable 2003 Presidents Cup clash between the USA and the International Team, which ended in a heart-warming tie. It also hosted the Women's World Cup of Golf in 2005. Suffice to say that those huge events are proof that the Links is a world-class course.

Designed by the ubiquitous Gary Player, The Links took a marvel of construction to piece together, with over 700 000 cubic meters of earth being moved to create a typical Links style course on what had been a flat piece of land. Ranked fifty-ninth by Golf Digest, it is unique in South Africa.

Possibly the most eye-catching hole is the par-three second, with a bunker in the heart of the green. Despite the challenge of the bunker, Player reckons the contours on the green can be used to get the ball near the flag.

History

Now a golf estate on a par with the best in the world, Fancourt's history is that of a family home that grew and grew...

Henry Fancourt White built a country house in Blanco, at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains, in the early days of South Africa's expansion, the days of ox-wagons, pioneers and impassable mountain ranges.

The building of Blanco House in the style of a Cotswold Mansion proceeded slowly from 1859. Henry, a wealthy man at the time, suffered a major financial setback in 1860 and died soon after. Blanco House was put up for auction in 1857: "a thatched-roof double-storey building with ten airy rooms, kitchen, pantry, outbuildings and servants' rooms".

The property was subsequently owned by Henri de Maraliac, Robert Drummond and M J Adams, the latter re-naming it Homewood in 1879. At a public auction in 1903 Homewood was sold to Ernest Montagu White who re-named the house Fancourt in memory of his father - Henry Fancourt White.

Ernest, or Montagu as he was known, spent the English winters at Fancourt. He made extensive improvements to the house using indigenous timber from forests in the area. Always immaculately dressed - a Panama hat and a flower in his buttonhole being his trademark - Montagu supervised his estate from a white-canopied cart drawn by a red ox whilst he painted watercolors, knotted rugs and lived the life of a country gentleman.

Sadly, in 1916 Montagu, his sister and a friend succumbed to mushroom poisoning after enjoying a dinner of wild mushrooms picked by Montagu earlier in the day. The house stood empty for two years after the tragedy. It was said, however, that the deceased Montagu and Elizabeth continued to visit their much-loved home!

Rumors of ghosts did not deter Rubin Greer from purchasing Fancourt in 1918. He and his family, which included four daughters, brought music and laughter back to Fancourt. Legend has it that performance of the band members at their dances depended on the liquid refreshment they consumed. Too little and they refused to play, too much and they were unable to play!

A number of owners followed, and a century after Henry Fancourt White built his home it fell into disrepair due to neglect. Dr Krynauw bought Fancourt in 1960 and through his skill and excellent taste, the property became a symbol of high-class living once again.

In 1969 Fancourt was sold to a property developer who went into liquidation soon after. Andre and Helene Pieterse became the new owners and in 1987 they decided to transform their country house into an hotel and golf estate and on 23 March 1989, the Fancourt Hotel opened in grand style.

By July 1993, however, Fancourt was on the market once again. In 1994 a German couple, Hasso and Sabine Plattner, bought the estate out of liquidation. Expansion and development proceeded at an unprecedented pace, and when the present becomes history it will be said that Fancourt never stopped growing.

The heart of Fancourt is now the modern clubhouse, but the old Manor House will always hold its soul. When you visit the estate spend time in the stillness of the reading room, appreciate the gardens and walk along the quiet passages. Imagine life as it was then, with Panama hats and buttonholes, grand pianos, camphor-wood kists, antique silver and wild mushroom dinners. Imagine you're not alone...

We can assist you with your golf tour to the Fancourt Hotel, Country Club and Golf Estate.

Come for a visit.
About the Author
Rael and Julia Zieve is Golferswild in South Africa - formed in March 2005 as an inbound Golf and Safari Tour Operation. We are a fully fledged I.A.T.A travel agent. We have a "hands on approach". We will make sure that you enjoy playing your game of golf in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail address: golferswild@webcraft.ws. Website address: www.golferswild.co.za.
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