Published by : Stuart McLean - 01 February 2020

It’s a magical scoring barrier everywhere in the world, the holy grail among golfers: to shoot 59 or lower in 18 holes.

Cape Town professional Peter Karmis was the first to score a 59 on the Sunshine Tour, in the 2009 Lombard Classic at the Royal Swazi Spa. It has since been done again on the tour, but asterisks are attached to the two 59s at Mount Edgecombe and the two 57s at Royal Durban.

Peter Karmis was the first player to shoot 59 on the Sunshine Tour
Peter Karmis was the first player to shoot 59 on the Sunshine Tour.

These were in the Nelson Mandela Championship, and heavy rain in Durban on both occasions meant that the courses had to be shortened to make them playable. Royal Durban had a par of 65 in the 2012 Nelson Mandela.

Yet 59s, and lower scores, on courses at least 5 500 metres in length, have been popping up frequently all over South Africa in social rounds and club competitions in the new millennium. We know of several golfers who have done so, including an amateur. All told, by our records, 11 golfers in history have shot 59 or lower in South Africa, and that’s not including Karmis, who achieved it in Swaziland. (Look at our list below, and if any 59 is missing, please let us know.)

The SA Top 100 Courses website is particularly interested in tracking down all the exceptionally low scores in our country’s history. One of the items of information we have for every Top 100 club on this platform is the course record. That research has helped us unearth some low scores which might have gone unnoticed.

Most golfers have heard of Louis Oosthuizen’s remarkable 57 at Mossel Bay back when he was a rookie professional in 2002. He has since promoted the Louis57 brand.

But did you know that Branden Grace has also posted a 59 in his home town of Knysna, or that Sunshine Tour pro Daniel Greene has done it twice, at different courses, in his home region of the KZN Midlands. Greene in fact matched Oosthuizen’s 57 in a round at the 9-hole Bosch Hoek layout in January 2019.

Numerous golfers have come up one shy, shooting a 60, the most recent on the Sunshine Tour being Jean Hugo in October 2019 when he won the Wild Coast Sun Challenge.


57 (15-under)
Mossel Bay
By Louis Oosthuizen on December 12, 2002 at age 20, with two eagles and 11 birdies. He was out in 29 and back in 28.

57 (15-under)
Bosch Hoek
By Daniel Greene in January 22, 2019 club medal. The Sunshine Tour pro played the front nine in 27 with five birdies and two eagles, then came back in 30 with 6 birdies.

58 (14-under)
State Mines
By Jaco van Zyl in April 2003 Diner’s Club Tour event. First score in a tournament under 60 in South Africa. Had 12 birdies and an eagle. He shot 65 in the second round for a 36-hole total of 123. Note: Van Zyl had a 57 in the 2012 Nelson Mandela Championship at Royal Durban. However, the course had to be shortened to 5594 metres (par 65) due to heavy rain and flooding.

59 (13-under)
Windsor Park (Randpark)
By club pro Eric Moore in 1949 on the original Windsor Park.

59 (13-under)
By John Bland in a club competition in the 1970s while he was the club pro.

59 (13-under)
Knysna GC
By Branden Grace in a social round in September 2015

59 (13-under)
Silver Lakes
By Shaun Norris in a club competition in 2015. He’s also shot 60 and 61 at his home course, and played off a +9 handicap when he was an amateur.

59 (12-under)
Victoria CC
By Mark Truter in November 2003 on the old course before it was redesigned. Shot 27 on front nine with an eagle and 7 birdies. On the back nine he had 4 birdies and one bogey, having lost a ball at 16. He made a birdie with his second ball.

59 (12-under)
By Daniel Greene in 2008 on the new layout.

59 (12-under)
Gowrie Farm
By Matt Saulez in a social fourball in April 2018. Thought to be first 59 by an amateur in South Africa. Played front nine in 4-under 31 and back nine in 8-under 28, with 3 eagles and 6 birdies.

59 (11-under)
The Woods at Mount Edgecombe
By Colin Nel and Jorge Campillo in second round of 2013 Nelson Mandela Championship. Heavy rain meant preferred lies and a par reduced to 70. Nel, who made a remarkable 18-shot improvement on an opening 77, had an eagle and 9 birdies. Campillo had five 2s, three in a row from the third to fifth.


Shane Pringle, Gabarone GC, 2002 Botswana Open,
10 birdies and one eagle

Ernie Els, Fancourt Outeniqua, 2003 Ernie Els Invitational
(shot 65-60 to win by 8)

Gary Clark (England), Devonvale, 2009 SA Open Qualifier
(31-29), 10 birdies and one eagle

Matias Calderon (Chile), Waterkloof, IGT Tour, April 2017
(31-29), 11 birdies and one eagle

Jean Hugo, Wild Coast, 2019 Wild Coast Sun Challenge,
8 birdies and one eagle

Christo Lamprecht, Kingswood, 2020 Cape Province Amateur Open
(30-30) 10 birdies and one eagle

Shane Pringle, Gaborone GC, 2002 Botswana Open,
10 birdies and one eagle

Ernie Els, Fancourt Outeniqua, 2003 Ernie Els Invitational
(shot 65-60 to win by 8)

Bobby Lincoln, Leopard Park, 2005 Mafikeng Senior Open
(31-29) Three eagles and 6 birdies

Gary Clark (England), Devonvale, 2009 SA Open Qualifier
(31-29), 10 birdies and one eagle

Matias Calderon (Chile), Waterkloof, IGT Tour, April 2017
(31-29), 11 birdies and one eagle

Jean Hugo, Wild Coast, 2019 Wild Coast Sun Challenge,
8 birdies and one eagle

Christo Lamprecht, Kingswood, 2020 Cape Province Amateur Open
(30-30) 10 birdies and one eagle

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