The course at Irene Country Club dates back to 1912 when Laurie Waters, the professional at Orange Grove Golf Club, brought an elementary nine holes into play. This layout was then expanded a decade later to a full 18-hole course by Bob Grimsdell and his brother.
In 2007, Phil Jacobs – who was senior designer for Gary Player Design when he laid out the courses at Leopard Creek and Fancourt – was called in to upgrade the Irene course in time for the club’s centenary celebrations.
He remodeled all the green complexes, rebuilt the tees then added and remodeled the fairway bunkers. As Phil says, “in the design process, I tried to use old time shapes and concepts to try and keep the golf course as an old style golf course that is fun to play for all golfers”.
The standout hole on the front nine is the 151-yard par three 7th, named “The Pulpit”. Indeed, it’s the signature hole at Irene, requiring golfers to play a thrilling tee shot from an elevated position across the Hennops River to a distant green below.The 480-yard, par four 14th hole (“van der Byl”) is the toughest hole on the back nine. With out of bounds to the right and trees to the left of the fairway, the green is guarded with a dam to the front and another water hazard at the back. Sensible golfers lay up with their second shot then try to pitch and single putt for a par.