Gary Player, the world's most traveled athlete®—yep,
he's trademarked that—is selling the farm where he's bred more than 2,000 thoroughbred winners over more than 40 years. Player is testing the luxury property market in South Africa, where low commodity prices have battered the rand, making real estate even more affordable for foreign buyers. He's downsizing but still active: “I don’t think I’ll retire until I’m 90 at least,” he said. Photographs by Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
The 1,431-hectare property including an enclosed horse track, chapel, and three-bedroom guest house is on the market for 50 million rand ($3.7 million).
Player has bred horses that include Broadway Flyer, winner of a Grade 1 stakes race in New York and second in the St. Leger Stakes in England. Here he walks out with a younger group.
A good roll in the dirt is always best right after a bath.
A note from then President Nelson Mandela apologizing for missing Player's 60th birthday party adorns a wall. Player works out every other day, jogging and doing sit-ups with 30 kg in weights on his chest.
Feathered lampshades sit on a work desk inside the Rietfontein ranch and stud farm.
The property has attracted a big response from local and foreign potential buyers, real estate agents say.
Player's wife, Vivienne, holds services in the chapel for the farm staff and other locals.
Lancer the dog accompanies Player wherever he goes on the farm, often in this decades-old Land Rover.
It wouldn't be Player's place without a golf course, here seen from a hilltop, or koppie, where the tee is. The nine holes, built in a nature reserve on the property, feature both normal grass greens and sand greens. Sandbags are used to keep the form of bunkers and to support drainage.
A lap pool offers another exercising opportunity for Player, who says he will downsize by moving to a smaller farm outside of Cape Town.
Player overlooks a vegetable and fruit garden that's fully enclosed to protect it from monkeys on the property. The vantage point accessed by a steep stone staircase also features a rock pool as payoff.