At home on the green

MAY 2013 – Living life to the full on this peaceful residential estate in the beautiful Cape Winelands includes nothing less than having one of the best championship golf courses on your doorstep. There’s also relaxed dining and a spa with unique offerings – all surrounded by the spectacularly rugged Simonsberg and Franschhoek mountains.

Golf,’ Jack Nicklaus once said, ‘is, above all, a game.’ While dyed-in-the-wool golfers may recoil in horror, it’s a typically light-hearted comment from a man who even managed to fit in a round of 18 on his wedding day – and then went on to become perhaps the greatest golfer of all time, playing in a record 154 consecutive Major championships between 1957 and 1998, winning 18 of them. So it’s perhaps fitting that it was Nicklaus – dubbed the ‘Golden Bear’ – who was given the honour of laying out the course that is the heart and soul of Pearl Valley, a residential golfing estate that occupies some of the most scenic countryside in the Cape Winelands.

The Franschhoek mountains tower to the east, while the rugged Simonsberg forms a striking backdrop to many of the tee boxes. Nicklaus has brought a challenging playfulness to this manicured course, so it’s no surprise that Pearl Valley is ranked among the best championship layouts in South Africa.

Bunkers leap out without warning, water hazards creep into play when you least expect them to, and tee boxes and greens are used to dramatic effect. It’s a course that will bring a smile to your face – while making your knees tremble. Tee up when the weather is clear and it’s as perfect a day of golf as you’ll ever experience. Play when the Cape’s legendary winds are blowing and you’ll wish you had the big-hitting Bear at your side for some sage advice. Whichever it is, this course has deservedly become one of the most sought-after in the country. Yet the 18 holes that have hosted the South African Open three times in the past six years are not the only attraction at Pearl Valley. Spread across the 212-hectare estate, you’ll find everything from innovative spa facilities to fine bistro-style dining and luxurious accommodation.

While a range of villas and self-catering lodges are available for rental, Pearl Valley has more importantly become one of the most sought-after property investments in the Cape with year-round residents, upcountry tycoons and overseas ‘swallows’ owning upmarket homes on the security-controlled residential estate. The safe environment and convenient location are both major draw cards, while building and landscaping guidelines ensure the estate always looks its best. Residents – as well as guests at the Pearl Valley lodges – enjoy access to the estate’s modern clubhouse with its complimentary Wi-Fi internet and its laid-back eatery, The Valley Restaurant. This has wonderful estate views and serves up stylish bistro cuisine from the knife of Executive Chef Jeromy Joubert. Residents and guests also receive unlimited use of the sparkling swimming pool, tennis courts and modern gym facilities. If you find – between the golf, tennis and gym – that you need some downtime, the clubhouse is also home to one of the finest spas in the Winelands. The Breathe Spa is a subterranean sanctuary offering a full portfolio of treatments, including a unique take on the hot-stone massage. In this one-of-a-kind offering, heated golf balls are massaged across selected pressure points to aid in relaxing stiff muscles, releasing toxins and improving circulation. ‘Golf requires players to have flexible muscles for an outstanding swing and the treatment not only does that, but aids in reducing stress too,’ says spa manager Lizelle du Toit. Limber and lithe, residents can also access the well-equipped equestrian centre offering riding lessons as well as out-rides on the estate and into the surrounding Winelands. In the pristine fynbos that envelops the golf course and residential properties, a well-maintained network of hiking and biking trails offers a close-up glimpse of this Winelands jewel. Perhaps most importantly, a selection of plots and established houses are still available, offering potential investors the choice of a front-row seat at the fairway, or the tranquillity of fynbos vistas.

From tennis to the table, golf to galloping, your days will be full here, never mind that the fine restaurants and boutique wineries of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch are a short drive away. It’s why so many guests have chosen to become permanent residents, investing in property to turn a dream holiday into a lifestyle.

Golf may be just a game, as the Golden Bear once opined, but here at Pearl Valley the important business of living life to the full is taken very seriously indeed.

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