Founded in 1967 by businessman Punch Barlow, the River Club is an ultra-exclusive golf club located in the well-to-do Sandton district of Johannesburg. Unlike most top South African courses, the River Club do not operate a pay-and-play facility so the only chance of a game here is through a membership or as a guest of a member (and caddies are compulsory).
Those fortunate enough to get a game here at “the Augusta National of South Africa” will find tree-lined fairways, interesting bunker complexes and first class greens laid out over gently undulating terrain. Water comes into play at several holes as the Braamfontein Spruit (“Bramble Fountain Stream”) flows through the property and is incorporated into the design at a number of holes.
Golf commentator Ewan Murray knows a good golf course when he sees one and in an interview with Dale Hayes he nominated the River Club as “one of the top ten courses in the world today. I think the last five holes at the River Club, collectively, are maybe the best five finishing holes in golf.”
Starting with the shortest par three on the course at the 14th and finishing with the right doglegging par four 18th (where the home green lies tantalisingly beyond a small lily pond), this closing stretch of holes is certainly one of the most demanding in all of the country.