Leopard Creek Golf Club is situated near Malelane in the heart of Mpumalanga, on the southern border of the Kruger National Park. Leopard Creek Golf is in the top 5 golf courses in South Africa.
The front gate to the club is at the bridge leading over the Crocodile River into the Malelane Gate of the Kruger National Park. The entrance is as strictly secured as that at Augusta National, Leopard Creek being reserved for members and their guests. However, visitors can access the property, use the clubhouse, and play the course, by staying at various game lodges in the area, and paying a high-end green fee. The closest one to the course is Buhala Lodge, which is located a few kilometres away on the banks of the same Crocodile River which borders the golf course.
Originally designed by Gary Player, the course was radically overhauled a few years after opening following advice from one of its members and residents, Jack Nicklaus. Where Player had typically built up his greens, tees and bunkers, Nicklaus suggested they be lowered to look more natural. Aside from flat waterside greens on the front nine par threes, which are a touch featureless, his changes are impressive and a major improvement to the layout.
Around the same time the club also removed a wall behind the 13th green to open up the views over Crocodile River and into the vastness of Kruger, which was a real masterstroke as it allowed golfers to watch the wildlife while they waited to putt. The par-five 13th is one of Leopard Creek’s most memorable holes.
An addition to the golfing experience at Leopard Creek in 2016 was the construction of a par three course which replicates famous short holes around the world, plus a state-of-the art practice facility adjoining the par three course.