The city of Nelspruit is situated in the fertile flood plain of the Crocodile River in the province of Mpumalanga and it’s home to around half a million people. Nelspruit Golf Club was founded in 1928, moving to its current location eleven years later. Bob Grimsdell was tasked with marking out the original 9-hole bushveld course and this remained in play until he returned in 1968 to expand the layout to eighteen holes.
Thirty years later, Johnnic Properties acquired land adjacent to the course from the city council in order to develop a residential estate. As part of the purchase arrangement, Johnnic agreed to renovate the clubhouse, construct eighteen new bent grass greens and install new bunkers. Peter Matkovich carried out this upgrade work on the course, rerouting three holes in the process to accommodate the housing element of the project.
It’s a rather intimidating start at Nelspruit, where the opening hole is a really strong par four measuring all of 475 yards from the back tees but the front nine ends with a couple of benign two shotters, the second of which features a rather ornate water feature to the right of the green. On the back nine, the par five 14th is real feature hole. It’s reachable in two shots for big hitters but trees to the left and a ditch to the right of the fairway will catch overly wayward shots en route to the green.Nelspruit changed its name to Mbombela Golf Club in 2017 and the club hosts an annual competition called the “Jock of the Bushveld Festival of Golf,” and this event attracts amateur golfers from all over the country. Started the same year that the course was extended to 18 holes, when a couple of members decided to organise a tournament for ordinary (as opposed to elite) golfers, the “Jock” now sees around eight hundred golfers play something like two thousand rounds at Nelspruit during one week in May of every year.