174 Ottery Road,
- +27 (0) 21 761 6551
Ten miles south east of Cape Town, off the N2/M5/M68
Welcome, except Saturdays, book well in advance
Bob Grimsdell, Dr. Charles Molteno Murray
Modern day members of Royal Cape Golf Club are very proud to belong to the oldest golfing society in South Africa (formed in 1885) where founding members first played their golf at Wynberg Military Camp and then Rondebosch Common before moving in 1906 to the present location at Ottery.
The original course was set out by J.W. Stewart, the club’s professional, assisted by several members. Additional land then became available, allowing another member named Dr. Charles Murray – who went on to design other courses such as Clovelly, George and Westlake – to redesign the layout in the late 1920s.
A number of architects have had a say in the design of the course down the years, most notably S.V. Hotchkin who made suggestions in 1929, then Bob Grimsdell who submitted further recommendations in the 1960s. Peter Matkovich and Phil Jacobs also had input during the 1990s, before the greens were rebuilt to USGA standards in 2000.
The true test of any course that is called “championship” is the number of top flight tournaments that have been held on it and Royal Cape is well endowed in that regard, having hosted the national Amateur Championship eight times and the South African Open ten times (the last in 1996 when Ernie Els won). For several years, in November, the club has hosted the Cape Town Open on the Sunshine Tour.
Basically, Royal Cape is a classic parkland course, laid out on pretty flat terrain, where fairways are narrow, causing wayward shots to be severely punished by the bordering trees. Ponds and creeks come into play at a number of holes on each nine (holes 3 to 6 and 13 to 16) and inaccuracy here will be dealt with harshly by the water hazards.
One of the toughest holes in the whole country is found at the 440-yard, par four, 14th, sandwiched between two par threes. It’s a right dogleg, normally played into the prevailing wind, with water protecting the front right hand side of the green – not too many golfers walk off here with a par score on their card.
As the oldest course in South Africa, Royal Cape has quite the pedigree. The history is impressive and the historical documents and memorabilia are worth visiting. The setting with Table Mountain in the background is stunning. However, the course is above average. The holes that stood out to me were 3 and 14. Worth playing, if in town, but I would not pay to play it again.
Good course which is a short drive from the center of Cape Town.
The club itself is good, with great chipping, putting and driving practice facilities.
The course is nice, but gets a little repetitive with no stand out holes. However it is a tough course and requires your to think a little more than just hitting a driver, which will get you into more trouble due to the many trees separating the fairways.
However i found this a good experience on the whole and due to its history it is worth a round should you be in Cape Town.