A classic parkland layout steeped in history, Parkview Golf Club is one of Johannesburg’s finest suburban golfing treats, and this tight, beautifully groomed course definitely qualifies as one of our golfing institutions. This club will also soon join the elite group of clubs that have been in existence for a century.
Parkview Golf Club is one of those enduring and endearing parkland classic golf course layouts that appeals to both the more accomplished player and the novice.
It is certainly no monster compared with most modern creations, but few players will ever bring this golf course layout to its knees.
Parkview Golf Club’s origin and golf course design
It was in July of 1916 that an assembly of about 200 sports enthusiasts and business dignitaries gathered on what was then undeveloped veld to officially open a new golf club named Parkview.
Parkview’s layout runs alongside a dreaded ‘sluit’ – the Braamfontein Spruit that has bedevilled countless golfers over the years. It is assumed that the designer, Laurie Waters, attempted to create a links-style course reminiscent of those found in his native Scotland, and when he laid out Parkview there would have been few, if any trees on the property.
Waters resisted the temptation to route the course in such a way that it would traverse the water course, rather running the holes parallel to the hazard, which remains both a feature and a curse, as it has periodically flooded the golf course layout over the years.
A rather quaint report in The Star newspaper of 8 July 1916 declares: “If a player should show a fancy to slice, he will be eternally damned and curse heartily the genius who endeavoured to improve on nature. The ditch at Parkview is at once its character and its weakness.”
It would be difficult to improve on this description today.
Notable visitors at the Parkview Golf Club
Very much part of Parkview Golf Club’s history, entwined with that of Johannesburg, is the list of important names that have been associated with the club.
Sir Evelyn Wallers, a three-time president of the Chamber of Mines, was one of these, but most famous of all was the great Bobby Locke. After winning both the SA Amateur and the SA Open championships hosted by Parkview in 1935, young ‘Muffin Face’, as he was affectionately known, became a member of the club, and today a bridge added to the golf course layout on the 13th hole pays homage to the four-time British Open champion.
Members and top amateurs play the annual Bobby Locke Festival of Golf in his honour.
The great Springbok golfer Dave Symons joined Parkview Golf Club in 1953, and besides winning the club championships on no fewer than 16 occasions, he also won one of the club’s four major competitions in five successive decades. Symons, a former SA Amateur champion, represented his country 15 times.
One of South Africa’s greatest tennis champions Eric Sturgess was also a long-time member of the club. Sturgess won two Wimbledon mixed-doubles titles and a French Open doubles title in his career and considered Parkview Golf Club a second home once his tennis days were behind him.
The bridge on the 3rd hole was restored in his name. The list of great women golfers who called this club home is also extensive, and most recently Ladies European Tour stalwart Laurette Maritz was the pride of the club during her impressive amateur career before she joined the professional ranks.
The Parkview Golf Club experience
In short, one cannot help enjoying a day at this club, and those who may have had the pleasure of playing in the famous ‘Dawn Patrol’ on a Saturday, an event that attracted some famous sporting names over the years, will have experienced typical Parkview hospitality.
This golf course layout has maintained a pleasing balance between retaining its traditional soul while keeping abreast with modern trends. Among the favourite golf experiences on the Highveld, Parkview continues to rank near the top.
In an era when golf course layouts are being stretched ever-longer, with wide fairways and huge, undulating greens, Parkview Golf Club is a welcome respite.
→ The clubhouse – since its revamp, this structure with its famous 19th hole and veranda overlooking the 18th has lost none of its warm atmosphere.
→ The course – a welcome reminder that golf is not about brute strength and clubhead speed; this is a course that rewards accuracy and shot-making.
… AND DISLIKES
→ The quirky loops of 10 and eight holes.
→ The fact that the golf course layout lacks a driving range and other practice facilities.
PARKVIEW GOLF CLUB FACT FILE
Course – Classic parkland, Kikuyu tees and fairways, A1/A4 bent greens. 6 587 metres.
Designers – LB Waters (1916) and Gen Hotchkin (1930).
General Manager – Jerry Fraser
Course Superintendent – Richard Metcalf
Club Professionals – Ashley and Letitia Roestoff
Club Captain – Mike Sham
Greenfees – Weekday am special: R170, Affiliated rates: R300
Contact – Tel: 011 646 5400 | Mail: [email protected] | Web: www.parkviewgolf.co.za
Getting There – From Joburg’s N1 Western Bypass, take exit 85 and turn right into Beyers Naude Drive. After 8km, turn left into Judith Rd, left into Barry Hertzog and right into Greenhill Rd. After 500m, turn left into Greenside Rd, home to the Parkview Golf Club.