Yellow 6208 metres, CR73.4/137
White 5979 metres, CR71.2/134
Blue 5552 metres, CR68.8/124
Red 5263 metres, CR68.0/121
Women’s blue, CR75.8/137
Women’s red, CR74.1/134
Affiliated weekday R450,
Non-affiliated, R600 & R660
Laurie Waters, George Waterman 1922
031 313 1716
Durban Country Club has long been recognised internationally as South Africa’s premier classic golf course. It is one of only eight in the Top 40 which were designed and built prior to the Second World War. Country Club is a masterpiece of original design work on what is sublime golfing terrain close to the Indian Ocean. It has a wonderful balance to it from first hole to last.
A magnificent clubhouse is also part of the Country Club “look.” The stately 95-year-old building stands hard up against the first tee and 18th green, adding to the atmosphere of the venue.
Today the course is an island encircled by busy roads, yet it continues to retain its reputation as a magical place to play. In recent years it has never looked better, thanks to a bush-clearing programme which has opened up more of the holes, exposed mature trees which had been concealed in the undergrowth, and given golfers new delightful vistas of the layout which had previously been hidden. And a decision in 2010 to replace the traditional paspalum grass on the greens with an imported cynodon from America called Mini Verde has speeded up and enhanced the putting surfaces.
Country Club began in the 1920s as a links-style treeless championship layout among the sand dunes. Immediate acclaim meant that just two years after it opened it hosted its first SA Open. And there have been another 16 since then. Over time the tropical climate hastened the growth of vegetation and trees between holes. It reached the point where many holes were hidden from the rest.
The course built its reputation on the “fabulous five,” the opening stretch of five holes which run among the dunes closest to the sea to the furthest point of the property. Each is individually superb, and the par-3 second and par-5 third have been ranked among the world’s greatest holes. Yet Country Club does not peter out disappointingly once you reach the sixth tee. There are more great holes to come, notably the par-5 eighth.
The halfway house is in the middle of the course, so golfers only return to the clubhouse at the 18th. The back nine might not be of the same quality as the front, yet it has its own singular holes such as the Prince of Wales, the par-3 12th, a narrow green perched on a ridge. Two modern holes, 15 and 16, are perhaps too bland, yet there’s a thrilling climax to the round at the roller-coaster 17th and the quirky short par 4 18th, where the green can be driven if the right bounce is found on a mounded, sloping fairway.
The opening par 4 immediately has golfers exhilarated, an undulating fairway curving left around a dune to an elevated green. Anything short rolls back down the fairway. The second tee is the highest point on the property with wonderful views, and is a terrific par 3. The famous par-5 third plays from a high tee into a long valley. The fifth is one of the most challenging par 4s, its high tee right up against the boundary fence and having another rumpled landing area with hazards left and right. The par-5 eighth is just as good as the third, and altogether different, unusual in the way two sloping dunes conceal the green from view. There are similarities between the eighth and par-4 17th, where the fairway resembles deep troughs between ocean waves on the way to another elevated green.
Limited size range & short-game area adjoining 18th hole. Another short-game area close to first tee.
A record 17 SA Opens, from 1924 to 2010. Winners: Bertie Elkin 1924, Jock Brews 1928, Bobby Locke 1939-50, Gary Player 1956-69-76, Retief Waltman 1963, Bob Charles 1973, Bobby Cole 1980, Wayne Westner 1988-91, Tony Johnstone 1993, Ernie Els 1998-2010, Tim Clark 2002-05. Hosted European Tour Volvo Champions in 2013-14, both won by Louis Oosthuizen.
62 by John Bland in first round of 1993 SA Open
1/ Durban CC is the only SA course to have always featured in the Golf Magazine ranking of the world’s leading 100 courses outside the United States. It was first published in 1985.
2/ The club hosted the 100th SA Open in 2010, which gave Ernie Els his fifth Open title, and second at DCC.
3/ John Bland shot 62 in the first round of the 1993 SA Open, with 11 birdies, seven on the back nine which he played in 29. Bland finished T-5, 10 shots behind winner Tony Johnstone.
4/ Gary Player won three of the five Opens he entered at DCC, and also two Natal Opens.
5/ Durban CC acquired a second golf course, Beachwood, in 1994, although it is due to close in 2020.
6/ The Waterman Cup, in tribute to George Waterman who helped build the course, is a 36-hole medal event for one of the club’s historic trophies, first presented in 1924.
7/ Durban CC has 2520 members, of which 804 are golfers. The club also offers bowls, squash, tennis and a swimming pool.
Basil Naidoo & Lydia Muhl
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