Johannesburg - Gauteng
Golf director: Vacant
Club pro: Leo Whitfield
Greenkeeper: Johan Knell
Club captain: Steve Swain
Chairman: Gavin Blume
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 66.7 out of 100
Conditioning14.0 / 20
Playability14.4 / 20
Aesthetics10.4 / 15
Design Variety10.0 / 15
Shot Values9.5 / 15
Memorability8.4 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6561 metres, CR73.9/138
White 6261 metres, CR72.3/133
Blue 6018 metres, CR70.0/127
Red 5443 metres, CR67.8/123
Women’s blue, CR76.2/150
Women’s red, CR73.6/144
Visitor green fee
Sid Brews 1973
011 682 1211
79 (2022) & 72 (2021)
Glenvista Country Club in the hills south of Johannesburg is something of a hidden gem, an enjoyable modern layout set in a valley at the foot of the Klipriviersberg Ridge. Its visitor green fee is among the lowest among Top 100 courses in Gauteng. The clubhouse stands atop a high slope with an attractive outlook over the holes. You access the course from the N12 highway at either Kliprivier Drive or Comaro Street.
A feature of this parkland course is the stream that flows through the property and comes into play on 13 holes. It also ensures abundant water for irrigation. The back nine has some outstanding holes of individual character, beginning with the superbly different par-4 tenth, with a fairway that slopes steeply down to a large dam. From there you go directly over the water to the pin.
The 428-metre 12th is stroke one, played from a high hillside tee framed by boulders, with a fairway that rolls its way to a large green sloping from back to front. A superb short par 4 is the 305-metre 14th, the fairway curving left on a slope between trees to a lower green hidden by trees and fronted by water and a bunker.
Glenvista has an interesting history and in modern times would have been part of a golf estate. This was farmland when acquired in the 1960s by township developers Glen Anil. The golf course was to be the area’s main attraction. However, stands moved slowly, and the course took five years to build. It was officially opened by Gary Player in October 1973. The clubhouse was the original farmhouse. Glen Anil owned the course until liquidated in 1976. The club and course came up for auction in 1978, with a reserve price of R50 000, and the members bid for it rather than risk having new owners who might evict them. With no other developers interested, they bought it for R65 000. Today, lavish homes dot the surrounding hillsides.
Additional Course Facts
Uncertain. 63 by Keith Horne and John Mathews
There’s an excellent stretch of holes on the back nine starting at the dauntingly long par-4 12th, where you play from an elevated tee to a fairway bordered by out-of-bounds right and a stream left. Water needs to be carried on both the par-3s, 13 and 15, and in between them is a short dogleg par 4 with a narrow fairway. Two uphill par 4s conclude each nine.
Warm-up range of 170 metres, putting and chipping greens.
Did You Know
1/ There is an impressive tribute on the first tee to legendary late member Dave Whitfield, the head professional from 1982 until retiring in 2020. He passed away in January 2021. He played the Sunshine Tour after a promising amateur career and was PGA Club Pro of the Year in 2011. His son Leo, a PGA pro, now runs the pro shop at Glenvista. Another son Rudy is the club pro at Glendower.
2/ Glenvista hosted the men’s Northern Amateur in 1999, 2000 and 2003. The 36-hole 1999 final, where Jaco van der Merwe beat Jean Hugo, produced 17 birdies and two eagles. Hugo shot 60 in his semifinal against Derek Scullard.
2022 Caden Sanders
2021 Clive Palm & Charmayne Ditchfield
2020 Caden Sanders & Symone Henriques
2019 Helder Alves & Symone Henriques
Course and Facilities Rating
Glenvista provides an enjoyable test south of Johannesburg and is excellent value. Extensive work is underway on the strong par-4 closing hole, and No 18 is currently being played as a par 3. The greens are always a highlight – beautifully presented and consistent putting surfaces which roll true. The par 4s include some memorable holes with striking design variety. The downhill tenth is an excellent start to the back nine. Iron required off the tee as water guards the green. The 12th is stroke 1 and a challenge off the tee and with the approach shot. The par-3 13th gets your attention as water and an extensive wetland guard the green. Scoring opportunities are presented on the relatively short par 5s, but accuracy is still demanded off the tee. The valley breeze is typically a good defence of the course with cross winds in play on several holes.
09 May 2023
On the first tee, Glenvista have erected a unique and special tribute to one of the club's most loyal servants, the late Dave Whitfield, club pro from 1982 to 2020. He was PGA Club Pro of the Year in 2011. In large bold letters on a wall is the inscription "Now Driving, Dave Whitfield." It's a term associated with the Masters tournament at Augusta National. Rare to see such a commemoration at a South African golf club. Most outstanding club pros of long standing and service aren't appreciated as much as they should be. They deserve to be remembered in this way. Good to see Dave's son Leo running the pro shop today. Glenvista is a testing challenge in an attractive parkland valley setting, strong on design variety, with some of the trickiest and quickest greens in Gauteng where you cannot afford any lapses in concentration. Most of the greens are extremely spacious, which puts a premium on accurate iron play and a sound putting stroke.
16 October 2022
Glenvista is a real gem. Testing layout and made even more so by this summer's rains. Notwithstanding it was in good condition. Greens were superb, running close to 11, a lesson for other higher ranked courses which present good greens but keep them infernally slow!
25 March 2022
The greens at Glenvista are currently some of the best in Gauteng. The club championship stimp meter readings were 12 plus and they are still running superbly. The course provides a number of interesting challenges and penalty areas are a common feature on many holes. The par 4s are varied in length, but it is the low stroke holes which grab your attention. The 18th (stroke 3) is a true test off the tee, with your approach, and has a challenging putting surface. It plays 420m off the club tees. Similarly the 12th (stroke 1) has a narrow landing area and your approach is into a well guarded and narrow green. The respite comes on the par 5s which are typically reachable in two but still demand well struck shots as the greenside areas are protected by well placed bunkers and penalty areas in some cases. Glenvista is a superb walk, with short distances from green to tee. The par 3s are all well designed and demanding with a cross breeze often impacting the flight of the ball. The eighth is particularly enjoyable with a large putting surface and significant sloping. The course comes highly recommended, with good pro shop service.
20 March 2022
“The Valley” is an attractive layout, surrounded by the hills of Glenvista or “The Vista” to the locals. While trying to navigate this course you will constantly find yourself being taunted by the stream that seems to feature on every hole. Looking up at the mansions on the cliffside you realise this is old money and not a modern estate. That being said the houses are wonderful to behold. The par 3s are memorable, all well protected by water. The standout hole must be the downhill par-4 tenth protected by a beautiful large water hazard in front of the green. The 19th hole is equally spectacular with a vibey urban feel and great views of "The Vista.”
16 March 2022
Glenvista have set up a challenging course with thickish rough bordering the fairways and quick greens. The layout favours the golfer who drives long and straight, and I noticed that six-over-par had won the 2022 men's club championship. Lots of memorable and enjoyable golf holes here, coupled with interesting undulating terrain. Water comes into play on each of the four par 3s which is rare on any golf course. Measuring between 168 and 194 metres they are all good looking holes, although the 13th could do with reeds being trimmed so you can see the green more clearly. And on the excellent 337m third a large tree unfortunately blocks the view of the fairway. Glenvista is one of the few courses in SA where the yellow, white and blue tees all measure over 6000 metres.
14 March 2022
Glenvista provides a good test of accuracy on a tight layout. The greens were in good condition with some exacting pin placements. Definitely one to play if you have not headed to the south of Johannesburg in the late summer or early autumn. To test yourself tee up from the back tees and enjoy the experience.
10 April 2021
Poor condition of the tees, plus litter and uncollected debris and cuttings lying around detracted from the excellent surface of the greens, which however do not hold very well.
29 December 2020
I had the opportunity to play Glenvista twice this year, before and after lockdown, and I found the greatest improvement to be their greens. Blindingly fast and yet receptive to a well played shot.
24 December 2020
Magnificent condition in trying times.
22 December 2020
One of Joburg's hidden gems. Excellent winter greens, in far better condition than many of the "bigger names'' in Joburg. A good layout with great design value.
10 September 2020
If Gauteng has any hidden gems, then Glenvista might be one, because its charms are not that well known outside the area. The club looks smart and welcoming. The course is scenic and has a splendid variety of interesting holes. The home owners on the ridge overlooking this valley must have a fabulous birds-eye view of the property. There's also a stunning outlook from the clubhouse. Currently in magnificent condition; the greens are flawless. Dave Whitfield has one of the best on-course pro shops.
15 March 2020
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