- 41 Jindong-ri, Changseon-myeon, Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
- 82 1644 0280
Frequently billed as the South Korea’s premier golf resort by golf experts, South Cape features a championship 18-hole course that sits on the beautiful Namhae Island, off the south-east coast of the country. The layout, which was designed by American Kyle Phillips and completed in 2013, makes full use of its position overlooking the Korea Strait to deliver fairways that play to the edge of rugged cliff tops above the water. Phillips describes it as having a links feel without being a links landscape.
“It is simply an amazing coastline,” Phillips said *. “Every hole has a view of the sea, which comes into play on eight holes. It is one of the most striking coastlines in golf.”
There are plenty of elevation changes as you try to keep the ball on the beautifully manicured fairways and undulating greens.
“The most memorable stretch of holes on the card begins with the downhill par five 11th and carries on for half a dozen holes, highlighted by a stunning pair of waterside par threes at the 136-meter (149-yard) 14th and the 204-meter (223-yard) 16th holes,” writes Wuhyeok Jeon for 100TopGolfCourses.com, which rated it as the No. 1 course in South Korea in 2017.
These waterside par threes have been compared to Pebble Beach’s famous Hole 7 and Cyprus Point’s Hole 16, respectively.
The clubhouse itself is an outstanding, and chic, architectural design, built into the side of a mountain. In fact, everything about this development, which was the brainchild of South Korean entrepreneur Jae Bong Chung, is stylish.
You’ll be hitting across valleys and the ocean on various holes, which will make some nervous. However, the wide fairways provide comfort on the elevated tees.
When to play: Year-round.
Yardage: 7313 yards, 6685 meters
Best hole: The 204-meter 16th hole is a stunning par three where you hit down to a green almost surrounded by sea cliffs and guarded by four giant bunkers.
The designer says: “There is a good variety of strategy through the course,” said Kyle Phillips*, whose stylish bunkering replicates the natural outline of the island coast. “You can play bump-and-run shots, or you can be aggressive. There are multiple lines of play, depending on how you want to attack the golf course.”
The resort experience:
South Korean golf journalist Hwa Young Nam rated this the best resort in the country, and it is a most impressive development. The course was built as an exclusive club for owners of 130 sea villas, but it is open to guests of the South Cape Spa & Suite. This luxury boutique hotel has 49 suites along the shoreline and 10 cliff houses facing the ocean, and subsequently the views of the coastline are outstanding. Billing itself as “the world’s most artistic healing place”, this resort aims to give you a peaceful break away from the usual noise of the world. The interiors feature furniture and fixtures by well-known artists, giving visitors the feeling they are in an art gallery rather than a swanky hotel.
Chill out to vinyl records in the music library, have a swim in the long infinity pool, sample a rare vintage in the wine bar, or sweat away the toxins in the sauna – just relax.
Dine and wine:
You can enjoy both Korean and Western food here but I’d be choosing the seafood. The thrust of South Cape’s restaurant is to “maximize taste of the local and seasonal raw integrant” in keeping with the seaside location. And the view from here is stunning.
The bunker-like design of the hotel rooms may be striking from the exterior but the interior is luxurious and stylish. The four-room cliff-houses feature four rooms with about 600 square meters (6458 square feet) of space.
There are two seaside trekking paths – a 2-hour and 1.5-hour course – that you are invited to walk barefoot. However, I think I’ll be heading to the spa, which is managed by an anti-aging therapy group known as Chaum, for a Korean massage.
* Source: kylephillips.com