Pretoria Country Club has been rated on the Top 100 Courses website as having the No 1 male locker room among South African golf clubs. It’s the only one receiving 4½ stars out of 5. The closest contenders were Leopard Creek and Country Club Johannesburg at No 2 and 3, followed by Blair Atholl and The Club at Steyn City.
PCC is one of the premier country clubs in South Africa, offering a superb championship 18 holes in a beautiful parkland setting, and a wide selection of other sports and numerous facilities for its large membership. As a result it is an exceptionally busy club most days of the week.
Seven Gauteng clubs feature in the Top 10, perhaps emphasising the affluence of clubs in this region. The leading coastal club was upmarket residential estate Steenberg in Cape Town at No 6, followed by the newish Olivewood resort (Eastern Cape) at No 10 and Mount Edgecombe Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal (recently refurbished) at No 12. All the locker rooms down to No 12 received four stars out of five.
It is important to emphasise that these ratings are of male locker rooms, as more than 95% of ratings received on the Top 100 Courses website are from male golfers. But the quality of women’s locker rooms at the top clubs is at least equal to, if not better, than the male ones.
The best locker rooms are those which don’t overdo the basic necessities, a place where golfers can change in comfort and privacy before and after a round, and enjoy a luxuriating hot shower. The criteria for locker rooms on the Top 100 website says “space is important. Plenty of towels, mirrors, benches to sit on. Cramped rooms with inadequate seating are the pits.”
Not said is that they should also provide convenient access to the golf course or practice areas, and exude character. It is more than just a changing room. Character can be achieved by appropriate decoration and memorabilia.
Wooden benches set against the walls, rather than loose soft furniture, work best for male golfers wanting to sit down and change their shoes. Benches are ubiquitous at the best locker rooms.
Some might also say close proximity to the 19th Hole is an essential requirement. Contenders then are numerous. Parkview is rare in having an upstairs locker room a few steps from the bar. It’s one of the finest old-fashioned examples of a clubhouse where it’s easy to find everything. Another is the George clubhouse, where the men’s locker room has a door directly accessing the pub.
At Prince’s Grant and Gowrie Farm, developer Guy Smith made sure locker room and 19th hole were only the width of a corridor away from each other. The same applies at Royal Port Alfred and Bosch Hoek in the KZN Midlands, which has the cosiest clubhouse in SA.
SPACE AND PRIVACY AT PRETORIA CC
Pretoria CC’s spacious locker room occupies the ground floor of the double-storey Pavilion building, and golfers walk out the front door on to the practice putting green. An inside door leads up a flight of stairs to the 19th hole. The women’s locker room exits on to the short-game practice area.
The men’s locker room has a black-and-white theme, and is unusual in being shaped into various areas and passageways to provide golfers with a degree of privacy and choice. It is plainly decorated and has plenty of light, long wooden lockers line many of the walls, with benches alongside, and there is a central shower area. For golfers without lockers there are open compartments at which to store bags or hang clothing.
There are tables and chairs and comfortable looking couches where golfers can relax with a drink after the round, a TV screen in one area.
Leopard Creek’s men’s locker room downstairs in the “bowels” of the clubhouse has an appealing retro feel to it, like many other rooms in the colonial style building, with wooden beams, high porthole windows at one end, and vintage ceiling fans.
It is very different to anything else in South Africa, akin to stepping back into an era of plus fours, hickory-shafted clubs and shoes with metal spikes. The corridor walls are framed with period golfing caricatures.
The room is relatively narrow with fixed benches against the white walls (shoe compartments underneath), and slatted benches in the centre of an uncarpeted floor. The lockers are old-fashioned, with see-through wire mesh on the doors. The showers and wash basin area are compact.
In addition, the clubhouse has a luxurious and separate Founders locker room upstairs.
Country Club Johannesburg, in keeping with a club having 36 holes, has a sizeable carpeted locker room which can accommodate large numbers of golfers at any one time, and a self-contained area for showers and ablutions. It’s luxurious yet understated, and again plenty of benches are provided. And more than enough rack space where holdalls can be left while golfers retire to the 19th hole.
Royal Johannesburg, again a club with 36 holes, has an impressively-sized locker room, two separate rooms for changing lined with lockers. No benches though. It speaks of comfort and tradition and hanging on a wall is a large framed photo of the Old Course at St Andrews, which appears to have been taken during the inter-war years of the 1920s or 30s. The showers are first-class, sporting old-fashioned large heads. And there’s hand soap available, not gels in a container or bottle which delays the washing process.
Blair Atholl’s spacious downstairs locker room with access to the course is big on couches rather than benches, encouraging golfers to lounge about before or after a round.
The showers in The Club at Steyn City locker room are virtual works of art, having levers that operate the flow of water and heat from the large heads. No hand soap though. The locker room itself is luxurious in a modern sense, notably the vast marbled shower area. Positioned right next to the gym.
The locker rooms at Bryanston and Durban CC were among only a few to have security doors which are kept locked.
TOP 50 LOCKER ROOMS
1 Pretoria CC, 2 Leopard Creek, 3 CC Johannesburg,
4 Blair Atholl, 5 The Club at Steyn City, 6 Steenberg,
7 Royal Johannesburg, 8 Houghton, 9 Bryanston, 10 Olivewood
11 Serengeti, 12 Mount Edgecombe, 13 Champagne Sports,
14 Durban CC, 15 Pearl Valley, 16 Gary Player, 17 Parkview,
18 Prince’s Grant, 19 Centurion, 20 Arabella,
21 Simola, 22 Randpark, 23 St Francis Links,
24 Killarney, 25 Fancourt, 26 East London, 27 Glendower,
28 Lost City, 29 Erinvale, 30 Hermanus
31 Stellenbosch, 32 The Links at Fancourt, 33 Gowrie Farm,
34 Zimbali, 35 Pinnacle Point, 36 Eagle Canyon, 37 Knysna,
38 Royal Cape, 39 Cotswold Downs, 40 Irene
41 Royal Durban, 42 Oubaai, 43 San Lameer,
44 Pecanwood, 45 De Zalze, 46 Maccauvlei,
47 Durbanville, 48 Paarl, 49 Umhlali, 50 Magalies Park
TOP 20 IN GAUTENG
1 Pretoria CC, 2 CC Johannesburg, 3 Blair Atholl,
4 The Club at Steyn City, 5 Royal Johannesburg, 6 Houghton,
7 Bryanston, 8 Serengeti, 9 Parkview, 10 Centurion
11 Randpark, 12 Killarney, 13 Glendower,
14 Eagle Canyon, 15 Irene, 16 Kyalami,
17 Woodhill, 18 Els Club, 19 Wanderers, 20 Ebotse.
TOP 20 IN WESTERN / EASTERN CAPE
1 Steenberg, 2 Olivewood, 3 Pearl Valley, 4 Arabella,
5 Simola, 6 St Francis Links, 7 Fancourt, 8 East London,
9 Erinvale, 10 Hermanus, 11 Stellenbosch,
12 The Links at Fancourt, 13 Pinnacle Point,
14 Knysna, 15 Royal Cape, 16 Oubaai, 17 De Zalze,
18 Durbanville, 19 Paarl, 20 Westlake
TOP 10 IN KWAZULU-NATAL
1 Mount Edgecombe, 2 Champagne Sports Resort,
3 Durban CC, 4 Prince’s Grant, 5 Gowrie Farm,
6 Zimbali, 7 Cotswold Downs, 8 Royal Durban,
9 San Lameer, 10 Umhlali.