Eye of Africa
Johannesburg - Gauteng
COO: Mark McGovern
Golf manager: Marc Alexander
Greenkeeper: Themba Ngwenya
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 72.7 out of 100
Conditioning14.6 / 20
Playability15.4 / 20
Aesthetics10.5 / 15
Design Variety11.0 / 15
Shot Values11.2 / 15
Memorability10.0 / 15
Five tees / Par 72
Black 7210 metres, CR77.3/143
Yellow 6867 metres, CR75.3/139
White 6266 metres, CR72.0/132
Blue 5545 metres, CR68.4/124
Red 5047 metres, CR65.4/114
Women’s blue, CR74.3/140
Women’s red, CR70.5/132
Visitor green fee
R360 Tuesday to Friday
R400 Sunday from 10.30
Golf cart R400
Greg Norman 2010
010 500 0300
071 401 3127
38 (2022) & 32 (2021)
This large golf estate south of Johannesburg with a unique Greg Norman course has boomed in popularity in recent years since being launched in 2011. It offers luxury homes, cluster homes and apartments.
What separates Eye of Africa from other Gauteng courses is that it’s in a beautiful and tranquil part of the countryside, away from traffic noise. The houses on this eco-friendly property sit within an attractive isolated valley. It’s a course with generous playing corridors and subtly challenging greens complexes, and played host to the Eye of Africa PGA Championship on the Sunshine Tour from 2016 to 2020.
The greens at Eye of Africa are magnificent both in terms of the thought which went into their design by The Great White Shark, and surfaces which are a dream to putt on. Norman is an outstanding designer who adds flair to his work. He’s not a fan of conformity but creates holes which most golfers think they can par before discovering that he has used the land cleverly to provide a challenge. The fairways at Eye of Africa look wide when viewed from the tee, but most holes have an easier side from which to approach the green. Elevation changes through undulating terrain provide golfers with a good picture of each hole.
With cynodon grass fairways, Eye of Africa is a firm and fast course which adds distance to tee shots, but also has shots running further into well-positioned bunkers that pinch the driving areas and entrances to greens. The greens are A1/A4 bent grass, a unique Greg Norman strain.
Additional Course Facts
The fifth is a stunning long par 3 played downhill, and the back nine has a strong finish, starting at the tricky par 4 14th and concluding with the ultra-long and scenic par 4 18th, which plays 496 metres in the PGA. The par-5s are all testing 3-shot holes, measuring between 551 and 581 metres from the back tees.
One of the best ranges in South Africa, 300 metres long and spacious, with short game areas, which is why Eye of Africa is such an outstanding tournament venue and enjoyed by the professionals. It is open to daily visitors (Tuesday-Sunday).
Four of the five Eye of Africa PGA Championships from 2016 to 2020 were decided in playoffs. Jaco van Zyl (268) beat Dean Burmester in 2016; Erik van Rooyen (272) won in 2017 in a 3-way playoff; in 2019 Louis de Jager (276) beat Trevor Fisher; in 2020 Darren Fichardt (268) beat Matias Calderon from Chile, who had won (271) without a playoff in 2018.
Did You Know
1/ Unusually for South Africa, Eye of Africa is an out-and-back course. You only return to the clubhouse at the 18th. There is a halfway kiosk after nine holes.
2/ Being a championship course which can be stretched to 7 200 metres, Eye of Africa offers five tee options.
3/ Greg Norman has designed two courses in Africa, the other being in Egypt, The Allegria in Cairo.
4/ When Jaco van Zyl won the first Eye of Africa PGA in 2016 he had just one bogey in 72 holes.
5/ Eye of Africa was Golf Digest Best New Course in 2011.
2023 Chris Keeling & Lynette Lennon
2022 & 2021 Kevin Sharp
2020 Kevin Sharp & Carol Mills
2019 Chris Keeling & Robyn Mills
63 by Justin Hicks (USA) in 2017 Eye of Africa PGA Championship.
Course and Facilities Rating
At Eye of Africa you really feel you can open your shoulders and smash it. The greens were slow but true. Perhaps with all the rain they didn't cut it that low. The new halfway house is an improvement, and the food is good. The pace of play is an issue though. Can anything be done about it or is this just a 5-hour round course? We didn't wait on any hole, there was no one in front of us, just expect to play 5 hours here. It feels shorter though.
Ignis van der Merwe
09 January 2024
Eye of Africa was much improved from my last visit. The greens were impressive and a pleasure to putt on. A well-presented course that is fun to play, with challenging slopes and approach shots, and this Greg Norman design provides a welcome change from Gauteng's parkland layouts. The uphill 396-metre third is a tight hole, both off the tee and the angled approach to a green protected by water on the left. Two other uphill par 4s on the front nine are 4 (337) and 6 (370) where a bold tee shot is rewarded with a relatively simple approach. But trouble lurks in the form of large bunker complexes well placed to snare an errant drive. The poor consistency of the bunkers is the Eye's “Achilles heel.” The sand is either powdery or down to liner level. It needs attention as it detracts from an otherwise pleasant experience. Service at the on-site facilities is excellent.
03 August 2023
Eye of Africa is a pleasure to play. Quiet in midweek and in excellent condition. Golf cart essential though. At this autumnal time of year the cynodon fairways are tight and fast running (our tee shots on No 1 finished close to the green), which adds an interesting dimension to the playability of the course. Many bunkers are now more in play, and these are proper sand traps with high lips that must be avoided. Greg Norman's greens have been magnificently designed with their slopes and run-offs (No 12 is an uphill par 3 with a raised green and no bunkers which repels balls left and right). Putting on them is a dream. Every green has character to it. The four par 5s are outstanding holes, strong 3-shotters all. For anyone good with the driver this is a fun layout because the tee shots present themselves so well and the fairways are wide.
Dieter ten Haag
05 May 2023
Eye of Africa is a solid test with both length and accuracy required. The team there does an excellent job of maintaining the overall look and feel of the course amongst a large developing estate. Greens were firm but receptive and the fairways in good condition.
15 December 2022
Eye of Africa must have the largest practice putting green of any course in SA. Right below the clubhouse (which is basically a pub and a gym). I stepped it out at 60 metres from one end to the other, and it's fairly broad, undulating too. It used to be two separate greens, one for putting, the other for chipping. Now there's a short-game area behind the range, which is one of the finest, 300 metres long, grass bays, five target greens. I find Eye of Africa a delight to play, particularly enjoying the cynodon fairways which come into their own in the summer. A quality tight surface for playing crisp shots. The Eye has some testing holes starting out, as you're climbing to higher levels in these hills south of Joburg. The par-5 second is a stern challenge, as is the third with its green tucked away on the right protected by a stream. The climb is worthwhile though (easy in a cart), not just for the views, as from No 8 you experience some thrilling downhill tee shots to wide fairways. There's scope to whang some enormous drives. Good holes follow one another all the way back to the long par-4 18th, and they are all eminently playable.
09 November 2022
Eye of Africa is Unique in many ways. One drives out the gate after the round thinking “that was something different.” In every sense the course is unlike any other in Gauteng and unlike any other estate course in Gauteng. Having cynodon as a fairway grass is unique, the grass on the greens isn’t your ordinary bent (they roll beautifully). The par-3 greens have slopes as hazardous as being in a bunker, challenging and captivating. The views around this hilly terrain are great, and it's wonderful to be playing golf in soothing countryside aesthetics.
28 April 2022
The fairways and greens are very good and it is clear that the course receives attention. Eye of Africa is a course where you have to think where to place your shots. Very deep bunkers and lots of them. But if you play your shots as planned you will avoid them. The halfway house is in the middle of the course. Don't let the little shack fool you. The food served is excellent and good value for money. Overall an excellent course.
23 January 2022
I was taken aback by the elevation changes on this popular estate course. I wasn't expecting this. Fortunately I had a golf cart, because I wouldn't like to be walking it. The majority of holes are uphill or downhill, including the tee shots on all the par 3s. There's a steady ascent from the attractive par-5 second all the way to the tee of the downhill par-5 eighth. It was a relief to finally get more distance on my drives. The par 5s are seemingly monsters from the black tees (574, 581, 606 and 567 metres), yet three are downhill and play shorter than the distance. The fairways are extremely spacious so driver is always the call. The 11th is 551 from the white tees, and a well struck drive bounds down the fairway. Beware of the nasty bunker short left of the green though. It is cavernous, and best to avoid entering it. It looks relatively harmless from afar yet there's 40 metres of sand from the front of the bunker to the high edge of a raised green. Good luck with that shot.
08 December 2021
Eye of Africa has good design variety and excellent greens. The slopes are not typical of Highveld courses so you are tested in different ways. The course presentation is generally consistent and the estate is clearly booming. The houses are noticeable and do feel close to the course which is a drawback. I particularly enjoy the par 3s, particularly the interesting ninth. An enjoyable day out in the south of Johannesburg.
09 April 2021
Eye of Africa was fun and interesting to play and we enjoyed our round. A variety of undulating holes. Each hole is distinctly unique and requires strategy about how to play them. A few wonderful risk-and-reward shots on offer and many holes had great features to negotiate, including one of the biggest fairway bunkers I have seen. We never usually take a cart but it's a necessity at Eye of Africa.
18 January 2021
One of my favourites in Gauteng. Lots of variety and natural features to keep you on your toes.
16 April 2020
Eye of Africa is an enjoyable experience in attractive surroundings. Great range and short game facility to warm up, and the Greg Norman design is very different from anything else in Gauteng. Wide fairways are a pleasure. Approach shots present the biggest challenge. It's a difficult walk over undulating terrain so you need a golf cart. From the second tee to fourth green is a long climb. From the 11th you're cruising downhill to the clubhouse, and the back nine is superb, particularly 17 and 18. The 19th where estate residents congregate has a great vibe.
15 March 2020
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