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 on some old Glendower farmland.
Fifty years later, the club embarked on a major upgrade program, reshaping greens, building new tee positions and adding a number of water features around the course. The results were good enough to see Glendower host the South African Open three times in ten years, beginning in 1989.
Not content with these improvements, the club installed new USGA standard greens and bunkers at every hole in 2007, raising low lying putting surfaces like those at holes 10 and 12 in the process.
Many look to the par three holes for respite (three of the four short holes are played over water) when they play here, such is the unrelenting nature of the long par four and par five holes on a course measuring just over 7,000 yards from the back tees.
The feature hole on the course is the 468-yard, par four, 10th which requires a long approach over a wide lake to a green that has two bunkers on either side of the putting surface – front pin positions rarely yield a par score on this hole, never mind a birdie.
In November 2013, after a 16-year gap, the 104th edition of the South African Open returned to Glendower Golf Club (won by Morten Ørum Madsen) and the tournament has remained at the Gauteng club ever since.
Glendower is a classic parkland routing that demands a high standard of ball striking and strategic positioning on every hole. A wonderful test of golf, superb putting surfaces, and a very welcoming club. My “home from home” when in South Africa, and I highly recommend visiting.