Black 6682 metres, CR74.9/139
White 6289 metres, CR72.7/136
Blue 5796 metres, CR69.7/136
Red 5330 metres, CR67.2/126
Women’s white, CR79.2/153
Women’s blue, CR76.0/148
Women’s red, CR72.9/139
R340 weekday off-peak (Tues, Wed AM, Thurs, Friday AM)
R425 weekday peak (Wed PM, Friday PM)
Sunday PM R420, Sunday AM R750
Levy of R30 applicable each day
Gary Player 1991
011 875 0422/21
75 (2021) & 64 (2020)
Dainfern, the second oldest golf estate in South Africa, is vast enough to be considered a suburb of Sandton, with more than 1200 homes centred around a Gary Player golf course. The secure lifestyle estate has nature trails, parks, sports facilities, a school, while the broad Jukskei River flows through the property.
Dainfern’s length from the back tees shows its age, because it is relatively short by modern Gauteng standards. The Sunshine Tour professionals produced extremely low scoring in the 2021 Players Championship held at the estate, with three players shooting 25-under-par for the four rounds, which is 12 shots lower than when Ernie Els won the SA Masters in 1992. It is principally used as a member’s course, and its undulating topography and rocky outcrops makes it an enjoyable one as it meanders through the estate.
The river comes into play on the closing holes of each nine, which have been reversed in recent years from the original design.
The clubhouse, with a beautiful raised outlook over the course and river, is a hub of the estate, having an attractive outside deck and a large family restaurant.
Dainfern is one of 10 Gary Player designs in the SA Top 100 (three are in Gauteng), and the club have designed an attractive tribute to him within a turning circle for golf carts in front of the clubhouse.
61 by Thabang Simon, 2003 Seekers Pro-Am.
He had an ace at 15 (now 6) and eagle 3 at 17 (now 8).
61 by Jaco van Zyl in 2012 club competition.
There are two excellent risk-and-reward par 5s which make good use of the Jukskei River as a hazard. The 472-metre eighth crosses the river twice, first with the tee shot to an angled fairway parallel to the river, while the green is on the other side of the river bank. The 500-metre 18th is played from an elevated tee to a fairway curving right along the river bank, giving long hitters a decided advantage by taking a shorter route. The par 3s are good, notably the 11th with the river on its left.
There is a 240-metre range on the other side of the river from the clubhouse, with a short-game facility in front of clubhouse.
2021 Josh Cunliffe & Joyce Hughes
2020 Marcus Taylor
2019 Ryan van der Klis & Joyce Hughes
1/ Dainfern was the first golf estate in Gauteng: there are now 15 with 18 holes. It was built on the site of the Fourways course. When it launched in 1991, stand sales were slow before growing in the mid-1990s. There are more than 1200 homes, making it one of the country’s largest golf estates.
2/ Gary Player and his designer Phil Jacobs took a very average Fourways layout and built a championship course that made more use of the Jukskei River that flows through the estate. Less than a year after opening, Ernie Els won the SA Masters in February 1992 with a 13-under total of 275. Between January 16 and February 15, 22-year-old Els completed a remarkable hat-trick of winning the SA Open at Houghton, Lexington PGA at the Wanderers, and Masters at Dainfern.
3/ Ed Holding was the first club professional, before a house was built on the estate, and left Dainfern at the end of October 2019 after 28 years of service to the golf club. An outstanding teaching professional, he was the PGA Club Pro of the Year in 2005.
4/ Dainfern hosted the Sunshine Tour Players Championship in 2022 (won by Jaco Ahlers on 18-under 266) and 2021 (Jaco Prinsloo on 263). Thriston Lawrence had a 62 in 2021 and Luke Jerling a 62 in 2022. Prinsloo won the Sunshine Tour Teams Championship at Dainfern in 2019/2020 with JC Ritchie. There was a betterball 58 by Jean Hugo and Hennie du Plessis (10 birdies 2 eagles) in 2019.
Dainfern for me is a course with a mix of creatively designed holes and some disappointingly dull ones. The original 18th, now the ninth, was a weak par 4 to finish, and even more so today now the ball goes so much further compared to 30 years ago this February when Ernie Els won the SA Masters here. It was a good decision to switch the nines around and finish with a stronger risk-and-reward par 5 which has a challenging tee shot for club golfers over the river. The par 3s at Dainfern, which all play from elevated tees, are certainly not dull, though, and I like each of them. From the back tees they vary in length from 185 to 199 metres. Possibly the toughest is No 11 adjoining the river, playing to a large green well protected by deep bunkers. A back pin position is brutal. Dainfern was the first estate course in Gauteng and it remains one of the more attractive estates in terms of its leafiness and the houses sensibly set well back from the fairways.
I played Dainfern towards the end of winter, so it wasn't as lush as it normally can be, but the course was in good shape and a great challenge. The fairways are always firm which is great, while the greens may not be the fastest, but roll true. A good day with the putter generally means a good score here. I prefer the front nine with its mix of holes, specifically the closing stretch which brings the river and rocks into play.
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