No other golf course is more ingrained in the Stone name than Rustenburg Golf Club. That’s why this month’s feature course is featured in my column, writes BRANDON STONE.
It’s the only way I can pay the club its dues for all it has done for me and my family.
It all started in in the 1970s when my grandfather picked up the game and went to the pro, an old Scotsman by the name of Jock Black, to improve. He went from a 21 handicap to a single figure in a matter of months, showing the value of a good coach. He went on to win many club championships and later represent the South African Senior team, and it all started at Rustenburg GC.
My grandfather introduced my father to the game when he came of age. My father would develop his game there and go from a beginner to representing the province. He would also go on to represent South Africa at a junior level before turning professional and winning several events on the Sunshine Tour. But his relationship with the club didn’t end there.
Rustenburg would also be the first club where my dad became a club professional, paving the way for his career for two decades. He would also take ownership of the local pro shop, naming it ‘Kevin Stone’s Little Shop of Golf’. This is where my love for golf would begin.
My dad was obviously the pro, but not many know that my mom used to be in the back, doing the books for the shop. This meant I was spending a lot of time in the shop too, although I was left in the second-hand golf ball basket, so I didn’t cause too much trouble. However, a problem did arise. With my parents being busy in the shop, many of the members would ‘babysit’ me by taking me to the bar and feeding me chips and chocolates. As a result I was a very fat baby (see picture), which prompted my parents to make a sign. ‘Do Not Feed This Child’, which they hung from my neck. My dad would also put me on his back and take me along for course inspections.
Rustenburg Golf Club was where I took my first swing, where I holed my first putt and where I won my first milkshake. If I were a superhero the first act of my origins movie would be there, and it would be good.
Over the years I would try to get back there as often as I could. Especially around October for the famous ‘Orange Blossom’, which was a week-long golf festival for members and visitors. Unfortunately I was never privileged enough to win the event, but I’ve still got many years to try.
The course itself is a timeless classic. It might not be the longest course in modern times, but she’s still a beauty. Par fours like the 2nd and 11th are no guaranteed pars. But my favourite parts of the course are the par threes. Each one is a different length and poses a different threat. The best of all is the 13th. Measuring no more than 130m it’s an 8- or 9-iron for most. However, the green is littered with bunkers, punishing any errant tee shot. The green also slopes severely from back to front which makes any putt above the hole very slippery and an easy three-putt if you’re not careful.
As you can see, I love Rustenburg Golf Club more than any other in South Africa. With this humble little golf club in the North West I would not be where I am today. So from the bottom of my heart … thank you!
STONE’S FAVOURITE GOLF COURSES
12 Centurion Country Club
11 Parkview Country Club
10 Royal Cape Golf Club
9 Royal Jhb and Kensington West Course
8 The Lakes at Mount Edgecombe Country Club
7 Irene Country Club
6 The Els Club at Copperleaf
5 Wild Coast Sun
4 Pretoria Country Club
3 Rustenburg Golf Club
2 Revealed in December’s issue
1 Revealed in January’s issue