The town of Worcester lies just off the main N1 highway to Johannesburg, around a 90-minute drive from Cape Town city centre, and it’s here, in the shadow of the Hex Mountains to the north, that Worcester train station was opened in 1876, serving passengers on the Cape Town to Beaufort railway line. Ten years later, the golf club opened for business.
The course in play today at Worcester Golf Club is a Peter Matkovich/Gary Player co-production from the late 1980s, and it’s the only design the two architects have ever collaborated on. It occupies a rather peaceful rural environment – described by one commentator as “Karoo parkland” – with its verdant fairways starkly contrasting the dry scrubland that borders the layout.
Feature holes include the stretch from the par five 5th to par five 8th, where the par three 7th is the pick of these holes, playing diagonally across the main irrigation dam to a peninsula green. Short par fours at the 6th and 12th also catch the eye, along with the par three 9th and par five 18th, which share the same large double green in front of the two-storey clubhouse.
Worcester has organised a popular 3-day Stableford points competition called The Wijnlander every year since 1990. A player can enter all three days to be in contention to win the tournament or they can compete on only one or two days. There’s also a team prize where the best three of four scores count. Every day has its own prize giving, along with supper and entertainment for the evening. The club planned to add another day for the first time in 2022, which would also contribute towards players running for provincial colours.
Have played Worcester a few times and really enjoyed it. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful. You have to be straight here as you go from fairway to fynbos and if in there a good prayer is needed. This gives the course a most natural feel which fits in with the county. Worcester is in an area where there is little rain but the last time we played they had got enough water to the course. The course also has good changes in elevation which adds to the test.
If moving from Cape Town to the garden route I would highly recommend you play Worcester on the way down.