Houghton Golf Club was first established back in 1926 and for over 80 years it has been considered one of the very best parkland courses in Johannesburg. The South African Open was held here eight times between 1951 and 1992 and the club hosted the Alfred Dunhill Tournament (successor to the PGA competition) between 1996 and 2004. Sid Brews was the national golfing hero before Bobby Locke (winning the South African Open eight times) and he was pro here for 35 years, beginning the year after he was runner up to Henry Cotton in the 1934 Open at Royal St George’s.
In a move which stunned many in the South African golfing fraternity, Houghton recently sold their clubhouse to a property developer for the construction of apartments and a hotel and signed up for the complete refurbishment of the golf course to a Jack Nicklaus Signature layout – now that’s radical!
In 2011, the Golden Bear officially visited his new signature course here at Houghton Golf Club, although the course actually re-opened in 2009. According to the club: “The new design at Houghton is not brutally long, especially given the rarefied air of the Highveld. In order to defend the golf course from the longer hitters strategically positioned bunkers have been used extensively to catch the wayward drive, thus making club selection essential. The new greens have been contoured with rolling undulations and subtle slopes to protect the integrity of the course.”
It’s early days for the new Houghton Golf Club and we’ll watch the club’s progress with interest over the coming years.
A very pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle of Joburg city.
The new layout initially had its critics but the improvements are in my opinion very good and make for a good day out. The conditions are fantastic - you wont find truer and quicker greens in the Joburg area. The greens are heavily undulating so don't be surprised if you're putting average suffers on this course!
Standout holes for me are the Par-3 7th over water, the long Par-4 12th which demands accuracy with a long-iron approach to a heavily guarded green and the Par-4 18th which is a fantastic finishing hole.
You wont be blown away by the course and there are not many memorable holes, but altogether the course provides a very good test.