Eshowe Hills Eco Golf Estate – Where Passion Meets Dedication
What started off as an ordinary recreational facility was simply the beginning of a bigger calling and a brand new start to Eshowe Hills Eco Golf Estate.
Perfectly situated on an eco estate surrounding the oldest golf course in Zululand, established 1907, Eshowe Hills Golf Estate has been much admired by those who have had the privilege to visit it, and it took a team of 7 passionate individuals to make this dream of saving their beloved golf club.
“When Eshowe was first established, the site chosen was on top of the hills in the Dlinza forest. The golf course runs through the forest amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in South Africa,” explains Dave Davenport, Developer of Eshowe Hills Golf Estate. “I was a member from 1989 and by 2002 time was running out for the club and we, myself, Dave Gardner and Tony Balmer, decided that the only way to save the club was to do a housing development,” he continued.
Like so much of Eshowe, this was a community project and despite the small number of players, it kept going as a result of people, especially farmers, helping with tractors and equipment to keep it in shape. “Eshowe Hills Eco Golf Estate was and still is a project so close to everyone’s heart. It was more than just a golf course, it was a dream, it was a passion, and we all knew that we could not give up on something so truly magnificent,” says Davenport.
He continued, “It had been going for 100 years and was home to the most diverse number of bird species in the country – how could we abandon what 100 years of effort had produced?”
“In addition to the three of us, we realised that we needed some experienced professionals to take on a project of this magnitude. Our team then grew and included Quantity Surveyor, Roy Turner, of Davis, Langdon Farrow Laing, Engineer, Gordon Fleming, Architect, Willie van den Heever of Theunissen and Jankowitz, Land Surveyor, Rory Conway of Stott Milton and Conway, and Town Planner, ThysBlom of Plan Konsult,” explained Davenport.
“We would never have got the project off the ground without their expertise,” he added.
“I hoped that we could preserve and continue the Eshowe Country Club for our own and the benefit of all residents of Eshowe. The course is one of the oldest in the country and has been played on and loved by thousands of golfers. It was opened in 1907 and we still have photos from then of players teeing off amongst grazing cattle,” he continued.
Davenport went on to say, “It was upgraded in the 1950’s by one of South Africa’s most famous golf architects, Mr. Bob Grimsdel. It has a great pedigree and is steeped in history. So, perhaps our hope and dream is to continue the development that so many members started long before we were born”.
Eshowe Hills boasts a Victorian architectural theme and an 18-hole golf course, as well as offers club house facilities that can cater for weddings of up to 150 guests, 6 all-weather tennis courts, a club house which has a wellness centre, plus 2 squash courts. It is set on a glorious 110 hectare property that enjoys forest, hills and an abundance of the greenest grass. With proximity to the airport being only an hour away and the Ballito shopping centre, also less than an hour away, Eshowe Hills offers country living with all amenities at only a drive away. To add to this, the acclaimed Umfolozi Game Reserve is just an hour and a half away, making exciting day trips more than possible.
“When we started the development, most of the fairways were lined with gum plantations, all these were removed and stumped. The forest has been preserved and is a wonderful asset to the estate,” explains Davenport.
He continued, “Eshowe Hills is a true conservation project and with the help of local staff of KwaZulu Natal Ezemvelo Wildlife, we are proud of the contribution the estate has made towards the environment of this special area,”
“For a golfer, Eshowe Hills Eco Golf Estate is paradise, like having your own private course, no booking and always plenty of chaps looking for a game. Children have the freedom of the Estate, they love seeing the buck and start to learn about the birds and wildlife from a young age,” ends Davenport.