Located in the greater metropolitan area of Tshwane, the course was originally unveiled under the name “Gardener Ross” but a few years after it debuted, Investec Property took over and rebranded the layout, creating the first Els Club in the country and (after Dubai) the second one in the world.
The course and the residential element of the property actually sit on land where the Big Easy’s grandfather, Ernie Vermaak, grew up on a farm known as Knoppies Laagte so it seems only right that South Africa’s greatest player of the modern era should be able to stake some sort of territorial claim here.
Laid out in a figure of eight, the holes at the Els Club wind their way round substantial pockets of housing and although playing corridors are wide and residences are set well back from the lines of play, there’s still no denying a certain element of outside intrusion, particularly on the back nine where homes flank both sides of the fairway at many of the holes.
In February 2013, the Els Club at Copperleaf hosted the inaugural Tshwane Open – a European Tour and Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event. The new tournament showcased the Copperleaf Golf Estate, the City of Tshwane and Pretoria to an international audience. Fittingly, South African, Dawie Van Der Walt, claimed the biggest victory of his career to win the inaugural event. England’s Ross Fisher won the Tshwane Open at the Els Club in 2014 before the tournament moved to Pretoria Country Club in 2015.