Parys Golf Club was founded in 1976 and it sits on the banks of the Vaal River in Free State province. Interestingly, the town lies within the Vredefort Dome – a large crater that was formed by an asteroid strike millions of years ago – which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Cobie Le Grange with DDV Design redesigned the old course at Parys in 2007. For those who don’t know either the golfer or the architects, Cobie was a fine player in the 1960s (winning the British Masters twice during that era) and DDV have designed top end estate courses such as Legend and Mount Edgecombe No.2 (as well as drawing up the original plans for Greg Norman’s Eye of Africa project).
The 6th hole is an excellent par four that’s well worth its status as the toughest hole on the course. From the back tees it measures 467 yards and the drive has to find a narrow strip of fairway before an approach can be played to an island green. Unless a perfect tee shot has left the green within reasonable range, players are advised to lay up with their second shot and play the hole as a par five.
The green for the 9th hole lies on the other side of the Vaal River and golfers play the next few holes on the opposite bank until returning after the par four 13th. The home stretch from hole 14 starts with a tough par four (rated stroke index two) and ends with a tight par five that rarely yields a satisfying end of round birdie.
Course architect’s comments as follows:
This project was the redevelopment of the existing Parys Golf Club on an island in the middle of the Vaal River while adding a residential component to the estate. DDV produced a master plan of the urban design as well as the golf course where four of the holes were taken off the island making room for housing on the island and maximizing the golf course or river frontage.
The course hugs the river in the most part leaving the higher ground for housing as well as making use of the features that the river has created. The DDV characteristic of major earthworks creates naturally flowing undulations. The indigenous veld grass rolls over these undulations accentuating the topography and adding to the experience.