Published by : Stuart McLean - 18 October 2022

How would you react if you learned out of the blue that your golf club and attractive 18-hole parkland course was being sold to property developers without the prior knowledge of any members?

Wingate Park Country Club

That’s what happened to the Wingate Park Country Club membership in May. They received a four-page letter, dated May 13, from club president Gerrie Nel, the advocate who prosecuted Oscar Pistorius, in which he informed them that WPCC was in the process of being sold to a developer who had offered R400 million to purchase the entire property.

The 3 000 members of the country club learned to their disbelief that a date of June 30, 2023 had been set as the closing date of operations for a course ranked No 49 in the Top 100. This would affect not only golfers, but the substantial other club sections of bowlers, tennis players and runners. Wingate, with five rinks, regularly hosts major bowls tournaments, and is the only club to have been home to the SA Masters in golf and bowls.

We now know that the sale of this popular club wasn’t to be the fait accompli presented to members by their president.

Instead the members faced down the club’s governing body and the interests of a group called the Foundation Members at a special general meeting and voted unanimously against their recommendation that they go ahead and approve a proposed offer to purchase from the developer.

Wingate Park is thus hopefully safe for the future as one of South Africa’s premier golfing experiences and bowls venue.

It’s important to know the history of Wingate Park to understand how this situation had arisen at a profitable and successful club, which adheres to its objective of providing outstanding sports facilities. It is the busiest 18-hole course in Gauteng, having put through more than 60 000 rounds in 2021. And it provides a service to the local community as one of the few remaining green lungs open to the public in the wider Moraleta Park area.

WPCC was founded in 1947 by members of the Jewish community in Pretoria to establish a sports and recreational club “where everyone was welcome.” The community had been denied access to other sporting and country clubs due to prevailing antisemitism. Farm land east of the city was purchased through the issue of debentures to members of the community. The club was named after Orde Wingate, a British Army officer who became a supporter of Zionism and backed the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine during the late 1930s.


These debenture holders were known as Foundation Members.

President Nel explained in his letter that the Foundation Members evidently had the power to dissolve the club at any time of their choosing. Their descendants had presented the WPCC governing body with an offer to purchase from the developer, after approving the sale at a special meeting on May 9. The governing body agreed to support the process to avoid the consequences of clause 20 of the club constitution being invoked. This was the Foundation Members’ power to immediately dissolve the club.

Nel confirms in his letter that the governing body had accepted the sale as being inevitable. Without yet informing the membership, they set about attempting to ensure the best deal possible for staff and members.

It was agreed that the net proceeds of the sale of assets, once the club was wound up, would be split 75% to public benefit organisations supporting the Jewish community, and 25% to a sporting institution similar to WPCC as determined by the members. However, as it was clear that no single club in Pretoria could take on the entire membership, the Foundation Members had agreed to amend the constitution to allow this 25% be paid out to eligible members in the form of a refund of subscription fees.

Even though they were convinced the sale was inevitable, the governing body did not sign the Offer to Purchase. They agreed, as stated in the letter, that it would be preferable to consult the members first. They “would prefer to have a mandate from the members recommending that we sign the OTP, rather than just forging ahead.” A special general meeting was called at short notice.

Nel’s message to members in conclusion to his letter was that “I sincerely hope you can understand the gravity of the situation and that you will provide us with your vote to approve this sale. I feel we have managed to get the best deal possible for every single person who is part of the Wingate family.”

The members, though, were not of the same mind as Nel and the other eight members of the governing body. The SGM was attended by some 450 members and they voted overwhelmingly against the sale. Independent legal opinion supported the members’ decision, confirming that the Foundation Members had no power to dissolve the club.

The club was approached for comment.

Article Search
Search for news articles
Top 100 Course News, Blog
and Feature
Recent news articles
Today, it’s a fairly common occurrence in South Africa to encounter wild… Read more
When KZN farmer Piet Nel had finished… Read more
There are five new entries in the… Read more
The Top 100 rankings have returned to… Read more
Golf Digest South Africa has returned and… Read more
Mount Edgecombe CC in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal has… Read more
Ten years ago Gowrie Farm in the… Read more
If you follow SuperSport’s 213 channel, then… Read more
Stellenbosch Golf Club has been rated on… Read more
The seaside course at Milnerton Golf Club… Read more
1 Bosch Hoek Golf & Lodge Near… Read more
Joe Knox is not a golf pro… Read more
Louis Oosthuizen’s display at Leopard Creek is… Read more
Homeowners at the Oubaai golf estate in… Read more
The weekend of the SA Open at… Read more
Fancourt have built a new halfway house… Read more
This year is the 25th anniversary of… Read more
An attractive 9-hole course on the remote… Read more
Peter Matkovich has kept himself active as… Read more
Marco Simone was the first purpose-built golf… Read more
More than half of South Africa’s courses… Read more
On a quiet Central Drakensberg road between… Read more
Listed below are all 414 courses affiliated… Read more
Gary Player Country Club will forever be… Read more
The new millennium has seen a remarkable… Read more
Pretoria Country Club has been rated on… Read more
The US Open at Los Angeles Country… Read more
South African Open host Blair Atholl, ranked… Read more
Of all the great tournament venues that… Read more
Augusta National has Amen Corner to describe… Read more
The closure of Beachwood CC in Durban… Read more
Former Sunshine Tour commissioner Arnold Mentz has… Read more
Durban Country Club will be closing their… Read more
Casey Jarvis has become the second youngest… Read more
In South Africa, the Halfway House stop… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club was devastated by flooding… Read more
The Garden Route is a popular destination… Read more
Pearl Valley has been judged as having… Read more
Zwartkop Country Club, the 18-hole course owned… Read more
Does any other sport offer as many… Read more
Silver Lakes has asked to be removed… Read more
Mount Edgecombe Country Club is hosting two… Read more
KZN estate Cotswold Downs, at No 52… Read more
There was a change of the guard… Read more
Houghton and Hermanus are two clubs at… Read more
Woodhill continues its phenomenal rise up the… Read more
Having a river flowing through your course… Read more
Atlantic Beach is one of those courses… Read more
Katberg, Orkney and Emfuleni are this year’s… Read more
An exciting project in Mpumalanga is the… Read more
We’re seeing five key changes to the… Read more
The Eastern Cape has been included as… Read more
The Alfred Dunhill Championship is one of… Read more
Royal Johannesburg’s newly renovated West Course was… Read more
Durban Country Club’s iconic short par-4 18th… Read more
Composite courses could become fashionable locally in… Read more
Blair Atholl is an exciting new addition… Read more
Veteran East London Golf Club member Denis Jones… Read more
How would you react if you learned… Read more
Blair Atholl has the longest stretch of… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club suffered the most devastation… Read more
Durban Country Club will next year be… Read more
Bryanston Country Club head teaching professional Leigh-Jane… Read more
Work has started on the refurbishment of… Read more
Golf Digest magazine in the United States… Read more
The Sunshine Tour visited 17 of SA’s… Read more
TOP 20 GREENS 1 Fancourt Links, 2… Read more
No 1-ranked Fancourt Links claimed more honours… Read more
Links courses were the big winners in… Read more
Gauteng is endowed with wonderful golf courses,… Read more
Today’s announcement of 20 courses ranked between… Read more
Anyone who has played at Plettenberg Bay… Read more
Woodhill is one of 17 courses in… Read more
Four courses – Reading, Eagle Canyon, Centurion… Read more
Two new entrants to the Top 100… Read more
blank blank