The prestigious old parkland course at Royal Harare Golf Club – originally founded as Salisbury Golf Club in 1898 – occupies a sizeable property in downtown Harare, next to the Sports Club cricket ground and the Presidential Palace.
The course has been the venue for almost half the Zimbabwe Open Golf Tournaments since the event was inaugurated in 1984, sharing the hosting of this competition with Chapman Golf Club.
Although there are no water hazards to penalize players on the course, there’s plenty of fairway and greenside bunkers to help protect par so don’t expect an easy walk in the park if you tee it up here.
Fred Hawtree remodeled the layout in the 1950s then Nick Price and Steve Smyers upgraded the course in the 1990s. We received this exclusive quote from Steve regarding the work he carried out back then:
“Royal Harare is a magnificent golf course set within the city of Harare. The property has very little topographic movement but has a wonderful mix of high altitude tropical vegetation. Soils are composed of a blend of sand and light clay which prior to the introduction of irrigation allowed for a firm playing golf course. When irrigation was introduced to the property in the late 1970s it allowed for the Kikuyu grass to flourish and overtake the Bermuda. The golf course had transformed itself from one that could be played only along the ground to one that could be attacked both through the air and along the ground.
Though the routing was slightly altered, the major impact of my work at Royal Harare was the repositioning of the putting surfaces and bunkers. These were altered to take advantage of and to conform to the unique spaces that were presented by the dynamic vegetation as well as improving strategy and shot values. The bunkering was developed to create space, to lead the golfer’s eye to the target, develop strategy and to defend certain pin locations. Putting surfaces were set up to receive an aerial shot as well as one that was played along the ground.Royal Harare is not a penal course, forcing the golfer to execute one type of shot. It’s one that is multidimensional, allowing golfers many ways to navigate his or her way around the course. Playing the course is not only a fun and stimulating experience, it also encourages different styles of shot making and those who play it frequently will become much better players as they learn and become comfortable executing a multiple range of shots.”