Benoni - Gauteng
General manager: Hardus Maritz
Golf director: John Woudberg
Greenkeeper: Betheul Moyo
Club captains: Chris Scott & Leslie Nienaber
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 71.1 out of 100
Conditioning14.2 / 20
Playability15.2 / 20
Aesthetics10.5 / 15
Design Variety10.5 / 15
Shot Values10.0 / 15
Memorability10.7 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Gold 6879 metres, CR75.2/140
White 6372 metres, CR72.8/138
Blue 5457 metres, CR69.5/131
Red 5254 metres, CR67.6/126
Women’s blue, CR75.6/146
Women’s red, CR73.1/141
Visitor green fee
Golf cart R360
Peter Matkovich 2008
087 285 3557
46 (2021) & 38 (2020)
When Peter Matkovich unveiled his unique Ebotse layout at Rynfield Dam in Benoni in 2008, comparisons were immediately made between it and the golf links of Scotland and Ireland. Matkovich had ingeniously used vast quantities of excess sand from the disused quarry on which the estate was developed to build natural looking dunes between many of the golf holes.
With changes in elevation, deep-faced bunkers, and long wispy grass in the rough, he created an inland links in Gauteng. In 2012 the course was rebranded as Ebotse Links. And standing on the first tee, with dunes lining each side of the fairway, and another towering behind the green, it’s easy to convince yourself that you could be on in the British Isles.
Matkovich is an old-school thinker in terms of design and good at coming up with distinctively unique holes that are pleasing to the eye. There are many of those at Ebotse.
The opening holes at Ebotse are actually even more dramatic to play than those on some of the best true links. Matkovich’s love for links golf, and his eye for detail, has seen him capture many of the quirky attributes that are a fascinating part of ancient designs. The winter months are possibly the best to experience the joys of links golf in its purest form. When the fairways harden the tee shots run much further and bring bunkers into play. The bent grass greens provide slick surfaces, similar to the fescue greens of the UK. However, those at Ebotse are more receptive to a well-struck shot.
Additional Course Facts
61 by Doug McGuigan in 2013;
Jayden Schaper twice in 2018;
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 2019
There are two big dams on the estate, the larger Rynfield Dam for leisure pursuits, and another sizeable dam within the back nine around which holes 11-13 have been built. They are an outstanding trio, a downhill par 3 to a green perched high above the water, a long par 5 with water on the right from tee to green, followed by a risk-and-reward 310-metre par 4, again on the water’s edge. The seventh is an unconventional links-style par 5 where you drive between two small hills, and has a small green protected by tufted mounding.
Ebotse Links has a unique range where golfers hit range balls into the large central dam near the clubhouse. The floating balls then drift back to shore to be collected. It is open to visitors (R100 a day for unlimited balls) and membership is available. It is home to the Grant Veenstra Academy, and club fittings are done.
Did You Know
1/ The developers of this highly successful estate, with 720 homes, rehabilitated a large wetland on the estate next to Rynfield Dam which had been left to struggle when the property was a quarry.
2/ Ebotse is home to upcoming star Jayden Schaper who has turned pro after a stellar amateur career. Schaper has twice shot 61 at Ebotse Links, and won the 2019 SA Strokeplay Championship at De Zalze.
3/ The double-storey clubhouse, with a Doppio Zero restaurant, has a prominent outlook over Rynfield Dam, and the ninth and 18th holes run in opposite directions along the shoreline. The dam is used for Formula One powerboat racing and water skiing.
4/ The SA Mid-Amateur was hosted in May 2019, and not one player finished under par for 54 holes, the winner being Derek Scullard on two-over 218.
2021 Jordan Burnand & Tirsa Pittaway
2020/2019 Liam van Deventer
Course and Facilities Rating
Ebotse is worth visiting in winter (value for money on Monday / Tuesday is hard to beat) as this is when it most closely feels like a true links experience. The fairways have run which means a well struck iron will advance a considerable distance. The course provides a good test of driving accuracy and shot shaping. It is not a typical Gauteng layout, an enjoyable change from parkland options. The greens complexes are varied and demand an accurate approach which adds to the challenge. The surfaces are superb and running true. The mown areas are tightly knitted and provide a great response to shots. The par 3s are a highlight, Nos 2, 8 and 11 having a good memorability factor. Par on the second (often playing over 190m) is an excellent result. The par 5 closing hole (532m) demands a solid drive over the wetland area to find the fairway.
01 July 2022
Golf has been played in Scotland on links courses for over 400 years. Golf has been played in Benoni in abandoned quarries for a much shorter period of time! You would think this would mean the Ebotse experience would be a watered down links experience. But it isn’t! From the moment you stand on the first tee you feel you’re on an authentic links with high grass blowing in the wind and very little golf course in sight due to the “rising ground,” which is what the word links (evolved from the word hlinc) means. If you haven’t visited, put Ebotse on your bucket list, and bring extra balls. She’s a narrow beast and punishes severely if you stray from the path. Links golf straight out of Benoni.
26 February 2022
Peter Matkovich has created a "links" course that represents as well as one can expect on the Highveld. However, as an estate course the residential development does impact on the visual aspect and imposes somewhat on the course design. If you can overlook that and focus on each hole as it is presented, you could well believe you are playing a links. There are enough humps and hollows, strategically placed bunkers tee to green, and subtle slopes on excellent greens, to give that impression.
03 January 2022
Thoroughly enjoyed the fast running greens said to measure 11 on the stimpmeter the day I played. And this is the speed they keep them most of the time. It has been a disruptive past couple of years at Ebotse Links. First there was a pipeline being dug through the 17th fairway, then came slippage on a bank overlooking the par-5 12th, which had to be temporarily converted to a par 3 while that work was done. Ebotse finally has all 18 holes back in play in their proper configuration. My playing partner was golf director John Woudberg, and his bold play off the tee gave me a good insight into the risk-and-reward attributes of this linksy Matkovich design. The thick bushy grasses lining the fairways can gobble up golf balls, so long drives generally have to be precise to avoid reloading. The 18th is a thrilling par 5 for those who crank their drives, and John struck his best of the day on a tiger line over the Rynfield Dam, all of 340 metres, leaving him a 6-iron approach.
09 December 2021
Great course, however the range was not open for a warmup prior to my round. Admittedly that was at 7am. The course staff were hand-watering two of the greens while we were playing our approach shots. On the one hole my ball was sprayed off the green, and on the other my partner's ball struck a hosepipe and deflected off the green.
14 September 2021
Ebotse is a challenging and well designed course that takes your breath away, as every hole is different to the previous one. The greens and fairways are well kept, although the tee boxes could be more appealing and inviting. Being a links-style course be prepared for difficult bunker shots.
14 February 2021
Ebotse took my breath away with some of the most stunning views in the East Rand. Extremely true greens.
13 February 2021
This enjoyable and testing course has the most amazing greens, and you never get bored playing it.
12 February 2021
A true test of golfing skills, where no one hole is the same. The par-5 12th, one of the top holes at Ebotse Links, is currently closed due to a slope failure.
09 December 2020
It has been a frustrating year for the golf operations team at Ebotse Links who have been without their full 18-hole course for most of the last 12 months. Initially the 17th was played as a par 3 for several months because of a pipeline being built through it. Then the par-5 12th, one of the feature holes, had to be closed in May because of a structural weakness in the earthworks supporting estate homes high above the hole. Fortunately no home was damaged. A new embankment had to be built near the tees, and this will only be completed in February 2021 at a cost of R6-million. The hole is temporarily being played as a par 3, and getting to the tee requires a long detour by golf cart from the 11th green via the clubhouse. New tees are also being built on the first hole after an issue with wayward shots heading into homes on the left of the fairway. Despite this the course is looking good and offers a different experience with its linksy style holes.
06 December 2020
Great layout beyond initial expectations. A true inland links (if it can be called that). Usually in top condition. Only one weak hole so lives up to the hype of playing it.
18 April 2020
Ebotse is in good condition but holes 16 and 17 remain under construction due to a major pipeline through the estate. The course tests your entire game and resistance to scoring is high. One disappointment is that many tees are not level.
26 February 2020
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