Diamonds were discovered in the city of Kimberley in the late 19th century and it’s reckoned between 1871 and 1914 miners used nothing other than picks and shovels to dig the “Big Hole” and excavate 2,720 kilograms of precious gems. The mine is now 460 metres wide and 240 metres deep, with recent efforts made to have it registered as a World Heritage Site.
Kimberley Golf Club was founded on 3rd July 1890, with the original golf course located around four kilometres south of the Big Hole. Two years after its formation, the club instigated a week-long South African Tournament, with the main event comprising The Championship of South Africa match play event for non-professional players.
This was the first of four South African Amateur championships hosted by the club – and it also held the South African Open during two of those SA Tournaments, in 1907 and 1913 – so the initial Kimberley course was a historically important site. Famed for its “Blue” putting surfaces which were made from diamondiferous mine tailings, the course closed in 1960.
Bob Grimsdell designed the club’s new layout when it relocated ten kilometres north to a site close to Kamfers Dam (with its fabulous flamingo flamboyance) and holes are still composed of indigenous Elliot grass from tee to green, though the encroachment of kikuyu is a constant threat. Tony Jacklin claimed an early professional win here in 1964, as did Ernie Els in 1990.
The course extends to 6,613 yards from the back markers, playing to a par of 72, configured as two returning nines. Notable holes include the 170-yard par three 4th (next to the railway line in the southern corner of the property); the left doglegging 444-yard par four 16th (rated stroke index 1); and the 513-yard par five 18th, which offers a late birdie opportunity.