Gauteng Top 41
Johannesburg - Gauteng
General manager: David Roodt
Greenkeeper: Jan Nortje
Club professional: Rudy Whitfield
Golf manager: Dwain Margro
Club captains: Liam Gardiner & Colleen Francis
President: Kriya Govender
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 80 out of 100
Conditioning15.4 / 20
Playability16.5 / 20
Aesthetics10.2 / 15
Design Variety13.0 / 15
Shot Values12.5 / 15
Memorability12.4 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow, 6962 metres, CR76.3/146
White, 6558 metres, CR74.1/142
Blue, 6042 metres, CR71.3/135
Red, 5475 metres, CR68.2/129
Women’s blue, CR77.9/152
Women’s red, CR74.2/145
Visitor green fee
R790 at peak times
R465 at off-peak times
R465 Sunday PM
Charles Alison 1937, Golf Data 2008
011 453 1013
4 (2021) & 2 (2020)
Glendower is one of South Africa’s premier championship courses, and its hosting of eight SA Opens is the most by any Gauteng club in the modern era. It recently had five consecutive Opens from 2013 to 2018, highlighted by the appearance of Rory McIlroy in 2017 which attracted some of the biggest galleries seen in Johannesburg. McIlroy thrilled the fans with two 67s and two 68s, before losing in a playoff to Graeme Storm.
At nearly 7 000 metres in length, Glendower has long held a reputation as one of the fiercest parkland challenges with a testing array of strong par 4s (a quartet of them measure between 436 and 465 metres) and intimidating par 3s. The par 5s are friendlier, and the 2018 SA Open yielded no fewer than 76 eagles. The course was upgraded in 2008 by Golf Data, and its sloping greens complexes only add to the difficulty factor. It has the feel and character of a classic US Open type layout, but without penal rough.
There’s a natural beauty to Glendower with its many large trees and a river running through the property which provides a number of wonderful hazards. It makes an early appearance on the left of the par-5 second, fills up a hazard left of the short third, skirts the front of the seventh green, filters into a pond guarding the 10th, and asks to be carried on the tee shot at 12. It ends up in another sizeable pond left of the par-5 13th green.
Glendower hosted an exhibition match between Bobby Locke and Sam Snead on February 12, 1947. Locke played one of his greatest rounds, a flawless 12-under-par 63 containing 10 birdies and an eagle, while Snead shot 68. At the time Glendower had a par of 75. There were seven par 5s, Nos 1 and 2, 7 and 8, 13, 15 and 18. Locke had six birdies and his eagle on them. The original scorecard is framed in the clubhouse entrance, together with Locke’s scores from the 1939 Transvaal Open at Glendower.
Additional Course Facts
63 by Dawie van der Walt, 2011 BMG Classic;
Graeme Storm, Edoardo Molinari, 2017 SA Open;
Adrien Saddier, 2018 SA Open.
Women: 63 Ashleigh Buhai, 2020 Jabra Ladies Open
Glendower has three outstanding par 3s which add up to 620 metres of challenging shots from the championship tees. Water hazards guard the daunting third (231) and sixth (185), while the 204-metre 17th leaves little margin for error, the narrow green bunkered right, and falling away steeply on the left.
None on site, but the club handles golf and accommodation bookings with group and individual packages. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
8 SA Opens (1989 Fred Wadsworth; 1992 Clinton Whitelaw; 1997 Vijay Singh; 2013 Morten Madsen, 2015 Andy Sullivan, 2016 Brandon Stone, 2017 Graeme Storm, 2018 Chris Paisley). SA Amateur 1987; SA Men’s Strokeplay 2012; SA Women’s Strokeplay 2015.
Five-star range behind clubhouse, long and spacious, run by club pro Rudy Whitfield.
Did You Know
1/ The first round of 61 in South Africa was scored at Glendower in 1975 by Allan Henning on his way to winning a Sunshine Tour event. The course was lengthened and strengthened during the 1980s under club president Francois Tolken prior to hosting its first SA Amateur and SA Open.
2/ Glendower is a rare SA course for having a design connection to legendary British course architects Harry Colt and Alister Mackenzie. The designer in the late 1930s was Charles Hugh Alison, a partner of those personalities, who worked with them on 300 courses worldwide.
3/ Branden Grace had 5 eagles in the 2018 SA Open, three of them at par 5s in a first round 65, when he finished second to Englishman Chris Paisley.
4/ Bobby Locke posted a world record total of 265 for 72 holes at Glendower in 1939 Transvaal Open. He won by 26! The lowest SA Open total at Glendower was 267 by Chris Paisley in 2018.
5/ The club logo depicts a Blue Crane. Each hole is named after a species of bird, and all 18 are found on the property.
6/ Club members Yurav Premlall and Kyra van Kan are ranked among SA’s top amateurs. They both won their first club championship titles at the age of 13.
2022 Warren Hofmann & Kyra van Kan
2021 Rob Massiceti & Kyra van Kan
2020 Saul Moss & Kyra van Kan
2019 Yurav Premlall & Kyra van Kan
Course and Facilities Rating
Glendower continues to provide the "classic golf experience" and is exceptional value for money. The course, beautifully presented following summer rains, is a challenge off the back tees, with the rough providing a strong defence. The bunkers are generally playable despite the rain providing drainage challenges. The variety of the design makes for an enjoyable round. No two rounds will present the same conditions, pin locations and general setup. The third is a special hole, playing over 200m off the back, one of the best par-3s in Gauteng that will test your mettle early in the round.
10 January 2023
The first thing I noticed on arrival at Glendower was that most of the prime parking is allocated to committee members and staff. Even the club champion has his spot near the front door. The clubhouse has been attractively modernised inside and I like the outside deck. My first visit and from the first hole I could sense this was a proper championship layout. Each hole on the front nine looked stunning and asked for challenging shots. It was breezy and the two par 3s into the wind were daunting due to the water hazards that were very much in play. The par-5 second and the downhill par-4 seventh were holes I would have loved to play again. The green at No 9 was beautifully framed with a stone wall edging the water hazard. The back nine began impressively, but I didn't particularly like the steady uphill climb from 15 to 18 back to the clubhouse. Strong holes yet not matching up to the earlier quality. The magnificent greens made this a memorable outing.
Lamprecht de Villiers
31 October 2022
The “classic golf experience” is the tag line at Glendower and the current conditioning and experience fully lives up to expectations. The course conditioning is immaculate and the greens probably the best in Gauteng. The rough is brutal following record rainfall and will punish any wayward drives. Glendower remains timeless and will test all players with narrow landing areas, subtle breaks on the greens and well-placed hazards. The par-3 third is one of the best holes, with a hazard left and bunkering right of the green. It is followed by the strokes 1 and 3 (par 4s) adding to a demanding stretch which tests the full array of shots. The par-4 seventh (stroke 5) is another special hole which requires an accurate tee shot and well directed approach into a demanding greens complex. The back nine brings similar challenges off the tee, and includes some of the most beautifully framed holes. The par-5 15th is visually stunning, with the bunkering and shaping of the hole to the green representing some of the most memorable design. The only drawback at present is the consistency and maintenance of the bunkers. The greenside traps are acceptable, but many fairway bunkers are poor and frequently unraked by players (something that annoyingly appears to be an unfortunate trend on most Highveld courses). Glendower is a “must play” and is as good as it has been for years. Credit to Mike Burnard and his team. Play it on a Tuesday or Wednesday when it is exceptional value for money.
01 April 2022
Phenomenal true championship course. South Africa's US Open equivalent. A challenging day out. You have to miss in the right place and that still might not be enough. Beautiful greens.
31 January 2022
Top course in a wonderful area, easily accessible and always in immaculate condition. Great smooth greens and a terrific layout playable by all standards of players.
25 January 2022
Having a river run through your course is a mixed blessing for many clubs in Gauteng. These waterways provide excellent natural hazards and attractive aesthetics, yet summer storms bring flooding, unattractive erosion and unsightly debris due to poor management of these rivers upstream. The water quality is usually mucky and contaminated. Glendower's river enters the course behind the first green, and it chugs past eight holes before exiting the property after the par-5 13th. It's hard to imagine what Glendower would be like without it. It enhances the par-5 second and par-3 third, and forms a forbidding barrier short of the seventh green. The pond on 10 turns this long downhill 4 into a scary proposition. And the way the river winds in front of the diagonally shaped fairway at 12 towards the green makes this par 4 an excellent example of a "Cape" template, the essence of risk and reward tee shots. The longer the carry, the closer you get to the green.
22 December 2021
Fantastic course. Always in great shape and greens rolls fast and consistent. Holes 1, 7, 10 and 18 are memorable. Have to make birdies on the par 5s to score well as the rest of course is a strong test.
10 October 2021
Superb golf course all around.
06 July 2021
A tough championship course in very good condition. Bunker sand not firm enough. Such a pity the rivers and streams are so polluted in Gauteng. This impacts negatively on the aesthetic appeal of affected courses like Glendower.
17 May 2021
Every hole offers its own challenge. There is no weak hole that merely moves you from one tee to another. Unrelenting challenge but fun at the same time.
07 January 2021
Had not played Glendower for two years and the transformation, mostly by clearing the dams of vegetation and raising the "browsing" line of the trees, is most pleasing to the eye. The attention to aesthetics is undeniable and helps ease the pain of a tough golf course. The clubhouse bar and lounge has been renovated too.
24 December 2020
Glendower offers the most varied and interesting challenges of the parkland courses in Gauteng. From the opening hole, a par 4 where you are confronted by a long approach shot that needs to carry two large bunkers guarding the green, you get a sense of how demanding Glendower is going to be if you want to take it on. Yet it has options for the 10-handicap golfer to score well if you know when to lay up and be cautious. The par 5s exemplify this. If the scratch golfer wants to birdie them with aggressive play there is high risk involved, yet plodding down the fairway can present an easy par. Glendower ranks high because there are no weak holes, design variety is good in every facet other than the absence of a short par 4, and superb conditioning is a hallmark.
12 December 2020
Consistently the best conditioned course in Gauteng. Excellent test of golf and fair value for money.
26 November 2020
Glendower is still one of the great layouts in SA. However, the conditioning has not been near its usual high standard. The fairways are patchy and the presentation not where it used to be. The greens are adequate and it remains to be seen if their latest treatment will improve these. Disappointing for a course ranked No 2.
19 November 2020
One of our great golf courses which is rightfully ranked in the top 5. Conditioning is excellent year round which adds to the pleasure of being challenged on one of the tougher layouts. Every drive is demanding and precision shots are required to score well.
04 October 2020
Great course lives up to expectations. True championship 18 with few flaws.
16 April 2020
Greens and bunkers were average considering the course's No 2 ranking.
01 March 2020
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