South African Open

As part of the great Kimberley Exhibition of 1892, Kimberley Golf Club decided to hold a week-long South African Tournament, the main event comprising The Championship of South Africa, with 18-hole match play ties “open to all non-professional players who have been six months members of any golf club in South Africa”. The first winner of the SA Amateur was Denholm Walker of the Cape Golf Club, defeating local golfer H. J. Mackay by one hole.

South Africa Open trophy

The ball had started rolling on organized golf in the country and it didn’t take too long for a South African Open Championship to take place at the annual South African Tournament. Port Elizabeth hosted the Tournament for a fifth time in 1903 and ten players – four professionals and six amateurs – entered the 36-hole stroke play competition, with Laurie Waters winning the inaugural Open by three shots from his nearest rival. He later won the Open title again in 1904, 1907 and 1920. Only four others have won more national titles.

In 1908, the Open was played for the first time over 72 holes concurrently with the Amateur at Port Elizabeth, attracting a field of thirty; seven professionals and twenty-three amateurs. George Fotheringham won the Open with an astonishing aggregate score for that time of 294 – to be anything short of 300 was virtually unheard of in those days. Fotheringham would go on to win the title again in 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1914, five times in all.

There’s an element of mystery surrounding the iconic trophy. According to the Sunshine Tour: “There is a record in a newspaper advertisement in 1909 which refers to the ‘Open Championship Floating Trophy’, which was to be held by the amateur or pro...

South African Open host courses

Bloemfontein

3rd Free State - Best in Area 87th South Africa Ranking

Golf in Bloemfontein dates back more than a century but the parkland course in play today at Bloemfontein Golf Club is a Bob Grimsdell layout that was later refashioned by the prolific Peter Matkovich and Dale Hayes.

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East London

3rd Eastern Cape - Best in Area 14th South Africa Ranking

East London Golf Club has hosted the South African Open seven times (between 1930 and 2001) and it’s widely regarded as one of the top courses in the Eastern Cape.

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Erinvale

8th Western Cape - Best in Area 21st South Africa Ranking

Erinvale was one of the earliest residential estate courses in South Africa to open back in 1995 and it made an immediate world wide impact the following year when it hosted the World Cup of Golf...

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Fancourt (Links)

1st Western Cape - Best in Area 1st South Africa Ranking

The Links course at Fancourt opened for play in November 2000 and it represents a unique and very tough South African golfing experience.

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Glendower

2nd Gauteng - Best in Area 8th South Africa Ranking

Formed back in 1935, the Glendower Golf Club engaged the services of Harry Colt’s associate, Charles Hugh Alison, to lay out an 18-hole parkland course in two loops of nine...

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Houghton

18th Gauteng - Best in Area 56th South Africa Ranking

Jack Nicklaus officially opened his new Signature course at the long-established Houghton Golf Club in 2011. The course is not brutally long but relies on strategic bunkering to protect par.

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Humewood

1st Eastern Cape - Best in Area 4th South Africa Ranking

Greens at Humewood are firm and fast, requiring a sure putting touch – which was needed when the South African Open returned to this top class links in 2006.

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King David Mowbray

19th Western Cape - Best in Area 75th South Africa Ranking

Mowbray Golf Club celebrated its centenary in 2010, having played host to seven South African Opens. In 2016 King David and Mowbray merged, creating King David Mowbray Golf Club.

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Maccauvlei

13th Gauteng - Best in Area 42nd South Africa Ranking

Situated a forty-five minute drive south of Johannesburg, Maccauvlei Golf Club is one of the “lost” golf courses in the country.

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South African Open Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Trevor King Courses Played 22
= Heinrich du Preez Courses Played 22
3 Les Coetzee Courses Played 21
4 Byron Price Courses Played 19
= Stuart McLean Courses Played 19
6 Stefan Blommaert Courses Played 18
= Leon Bevan Courses Played 18
= Gideon Steyn Courses Played 18
9 Boela Pieterse Courses Played 17
= Mick Hough Courses Played 17