A project two years in the making has paid off handsomely for the board, management, members and guests of Royal Johannesburg following the successful relaunch of the East championship course.
Phase one of Royal’s long-term sustainability plan is a reality, and the response from members and the media has been overwhelmingly positive. While the revamp was trending on social media at number three a while back, it was definitely number one in the golf fraternity.
The course was officially reopened in mid-January and the reviews have been flowing in – all with tremendous positivity.
Compleat Golfer was on hand to take in the first round of the East course, with the new greens and strategic bunkers just two highlights of a number of changes. What is even more impressive is that the project came in on budget and on time (just six months), a testimony to the plans put in place by those in charge of the operation.
The East course revamp has seen significant traction on social media, and now that is translating into the lifeblood of golf clubs: an increase in membership numbers. At least 68 new members across various categories and two new corporate partners have signed on in the past three months, adding to the list the people eager for their share of the Royal Experience.
‘It is the support, enthusiasm and forward thinking of our members, which is not only directing our club toward sustainability, but ensuring we are recognised as a world-class golfing destination,’ said the club’s CEO Chris Bentley.
‘The club not only prides itself on offering world-class facilities but also uncompromising personalised service, luxurious amenities and attention to detail that create a lifetime of memories,’ he said.
‘The East Championship Course, designed in 1939 by Robert Grimsdell is regarded as one of South Africa’s very best. After completing a full revamp in 2017, the Course is now regarded as a contemporary parkland, delivering more of a challenge for the serious player as well as changes that ensures the club golfer enjoy their round. All this with emphasis on cost-effective maintenance and a fusion of environmental sensitivity with elevated aesthetic appeal.’
The work is not done yet as phase two – which includes a state of the art family centre, boutique gym and residential developments – is on track to be implemented.
‘Although [we are] very proud of what everyone has been accomplished in just 6 months, especially the maintenance crew, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous prior to the opening because we promised a true championship course to our members and I was hoping the members’ response would be a positive one,’ said Shaun Brits, the club’s head superintendent.
‘The comments and praise by all on opening is the biggest reward we could have asked for and I am pleased to see everyone testing out their skills and enjoying the changes.
‘The reality of it all is the excitement has now passed, the course is open and the biggest test of all will be to keep it in pristine condition for as long as is possible. Still extremely new, the course needs to mature over the next season as is evident by some sod that is still visible on course.’
The West course will be upgraded in July.