Lee-Anne Pace’s top golf courses in South Africa

Paarl, 27 February 2015 – Lee-Anne Pace is currently South Africa’s number-one ranked golfer and last year, she became the first South African in 26 years to win an event on the LPGA tour.

She has come a long way since playing golf on the nine-hole course in Wellington and in 2014, she was appointed as official Ambassador of Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate, a 212-hectare luxury golf and residential estate which is home to a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.

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This allows her to train and live on one of the most prestigious golf courses in the country. The stunning scenery is something she relishes, but what else makes a good golf course?

“The layout is the most important. I like a really challenging golf course, but fair at the same time. So, if you hit a good shot you get rewarded and if you hit a bad one, you’re in trouble. Scenery obviously also plays a part. I’m very lucky to be able to practice at Pearl Valley where I can enjoy the scenery every day,” Pace says.

With so many stunning golf courses to choose from, what are some of Pace’s favourite grounds in South Africa?

“Pearl Valley is definitely number one for me. I also like playing at The Links Fancourt and the Outeniqua golf course. I quite like Stellenbosch, too, because it can be quite challenging. Millvale is also fantastic and it’s in a game reserve which is spectacular,” Pace says.

Because Pace plays most of her golf in America, practicing at Pearl Valley comes with an added advantage: the grass is the same that is used on most of the foreign courses.

“When comparing American and South African golf courses, the biggest difference is the grass. Pearl Valley is very similar to American style golf courses which makes it good for me to practice on. Kikuyu grass is mostly used across South Africa, but not at Pearl Valley. It makes a big difference in how you hit the ball,” explains Pace.

With her schedule jam-packed in 2015, the practice will certainly come in handy and help Pace climb through the ranks of world golf.

Watching golf and playing golf are two very different things, though, and while golf courses are mostly similar in what they offer, each one has its own unique charm for spectators. Pace believes that history is valued above all else when it comes to what makes a ground special for those watching.

“Take a place like St. Andrews, for example. It’s got a pretty good layout and the scenery is quite nice, but being there is magical because it is where golf started. We played there two years ago and it was great. Scenery and history for tournaments like the Masters also play a big role,” she muses.

Being a pro female golfer is not without its challenges, though. When Pace started playing, there were hardly any prominent female golfers around. It was her father who ignited her love for golf and it all started when she caddied for him. But things have changed drastically since she began her career over a decade ago and in America, female golfers are celebrated as much as their male counterparts.

“In America, everything is five-star and you feel like a superstar when you show up for an American golf tournament. There are always places to practice. There are also some interesting things that happen. For example, in Arkansas, we have what they say is “The Loudest Hole in Women’s Golf”. On this tee people are encouraged to make as much noise as possible and they hand out branded merchandise and all sorts of things.” Pace concludes.

Posted: 14 April 2015