I wouldn’t say golf is up there on my list of favourite things. A desperate lack of talent in the sports department would be one reason. Bad memories of playing caddy to a more skilled brother and father would be another.
And so while I might have admired the bright bougainvillea-clad walls of George’s famous Fancourt golf resort on one of my many visits to the Garden Route city, actually staying at the estate is not something I’ve ever contemplated. The fact that it boasts three championship golf courses may be a drawcard for some – but many women in my position would agree that while acres of greens are rather pleasing on they eye, they don’t exactly tick all the boxes when it comes to the ideal getaway for the whole clan.
I’m speaking from painful past experience when I say that a “golf holiday” is likely to end up being a fabulous for certain members of the family, while the childcare is left to someone else … like me. Hardly something you’d call a holiday.
That’s something Fancourt has obviously realised too, because it has long had measures in place to attract more than just golf lovers. Like so many other hotels, Fancourt features a spa and a number of restaurants, but goes beyond that to offer possibly the most compelling feature from a parent’s perspective: a safe and secure kids’ club that offers a well-run and fun holiday programme.
While my younger self would have seen anything encouraging children as a distinct disadvantage, the addition of a decade or so and two family members under the age of five has changed my view somewhat. With the days of sleeping late and endless hours of me-time a very hazy memory, anything that allows even a slight recapturing of this former carefree way of life is to be welcomed.
The spa’s Roman baths, steam rooms and saunas are open to all adult guests, although there is also a long list of treatments you can pay for if you’re in serious need of rehabilitation or relaxation. In spa brochure speak, it’s “a haven of tranquility”, strategically placed on the opposite end of the sprawling estate to the kids’ club.
And then there’s the golf: the three courses mentioned previously (the Outeniqua, Montagu and The Links courses), as well as the TaylorMade Performance Lab (it uses the latest technology to analyse and improve your golfing technique) and the Golf Academy, which offers advice and tuition. No excuse for hackers, then.
When you’re not relaxing and the kids are finished playing, there is eating to be done. There are three restaurants to choose from, although the poshest (Henry White’s) is probably out of bounds if you’re there en famille. La Cantina is probably the best option for families, with its menu of Italian standards (read: pizza and pasta) and waitresses who carry roaming tots on their hips while they deftly wipe up cooldrink spills and the like. Service is not necessarily super-efficient, but at least it’s friendly.
And of course, if you get bored with what’s on offer on the estate, you’ve always got the rest of George (ok, admittedly not exactly the home of fine cuisine) and the rest of the Garden Route.
During our weekend at Fancourt, there was more than one moment when I found myself at the spa. This while my husband was at the driving range and my kids were happily occupied at the kids’ club. In short, the perfect family getaway solution - and although I never thought I’d hear myself say it, a golf holiday I’d happily go on again.
Bridget Pringle stayed at Fancourt as part of the hotel’s Winter Special package, which includes luxury accommodation for two adults sharing with up to two children (under the age of 16), including full English breakfast, at only R1999 per night. Visit www.fancourt.co.za to find out more.