Established in 1910 by shooting lodge owner Julius Jeppe, Pretoria Country Club has long been a focal point in the city for many sporting pursuits, expanding its provision over a century from croquet, shooting and fishing to squash, tennis, bowls and, of course, golf.
Laid out in the affluent Pretoria suburb of Waterkloof, this 18-hole parkland course was extensively renovated by Gary Player in 2004. His design company upgraded a number of features on the course, including greens, water hazards and tree plantations.
Above all changes made by the Black Knight, the most pronounced was the introduction of no fewer than 95 sand traps around the course – all of them revetted, deep pot bunkers which stiffened the golfing challenge immensely. Many of the deep pot bunkers have been either removed, or softened, making them less penal for member play.
The back nine are remembered by many visiting golfers primarily for the many beautiful willow trees that line the fairways but also for the tough stretch of five holes between 13 and 17 where water comes into play at each one of these. The 18th is also a stern test, played uphill towards the home green with fourteen of the aforementioned bunkers between the tee and the final putting surface.
In 2015, Pretoria Country Club hosted the third staging of the Tshwane Open, which was previously held at the nearby Els Club – Copperleaf. Local hero George Coetzee won the tournament almost two decades after the South African won his first junior competition at Pretoria, aged ten. There was also a course record score of 61 by Jacques Blaauw in the final round of this event. The following year, Charl Schwartzel claimed the trophy with an aggregate score of 264, sixteen under par.
The first impression I got when standing on the clubhouse terrace overlooking the course was like “Holy Moses” this is truly a beautiful Old Lady. Old; because it is old – from 1910, and Lady because here are no straight lines or sharp corners.
The course is a mature parkland course with many small ponds dictating the flow and design of the holes. It is a course where greenkeeping is at the highest quality. Everything, greens, fairways, bunkers are kept at the very highest level and all the small ponds are beautifully fitted into the course.
There are many great holes. Not extremely difficult to play but you can be sure that doglegs and bunkers and water hazards are in the right lengths from the tee not to make it too easy for you, no matter which tee you play from.
Enjoy the practice facilities and the club house service. Here the staff makes you feel among golfers proud of their club as well as of their trade.