Free State / Northern Cape Top 9
8

Heron Banks

Sasolburg, Free State - ​Northern Cape & Free State

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Golf director and greenkeeper: Robbie Lance
Club professional: Bradford Vaughan

COURSE SUMMARY

Four tees / Par 71

Yellow 6610 metres, CR74.0/145
White 6198 metres, CR72.1/141
Blue 5827 metres, CR70.0/134
Red 5388 metres, CR67.9/128
Women’s blue, CR77.3/149
Women’s red, CR74.4/144

Visitor Green Fee

Monday R560 for two sharing cart
Wednesday R900 fourball with carts
Sunday R1000 fourball with carts

Course designer

Danie Obermeyer 2014

Contact

078 052 4083
www.heronbanks.co.za

This new course on the Vaal River, part of a residential estate development, has already accumulated a large membership in an area of the Vaal Triangle where four good value courses make for an inexpensive golf destination an hour’s drive south from Gauteng – the others being Emfuleni, Maccauvlei and Riviera.

Heron Banks opened as a 9-holer in 2014 and a second nine has since been completed by the course owners and developers, father and son, Gary and Robbie Lance. Robbie not only runs the golf club, he is also responsible for the course maintenance. A clubhouse has been built, there’s an excellent range, a fleet of golf carts, and attractive membership options available. Full membership is R2 650, R1 200 for seniors and students, R1 100 for female members.

The course, with trademark Danie Obermeyer bunker complexes a feature on many holes, has excellent greens, and water hazards are everywhere, particularly on the back nine where holes 15-17 run alongside the Vaal River. The hazards come into play on 13 holes.

The front nine is inland of the clubhouse and from the back tees it is a strong test at 3452 metres. The last three holes comprise a 455-metre par 4, 419m par 4, and 570m par 5. The ninth is a magnificent 3-shotter, flowing downhill from an elevated back tee. The back nine (the original nine) among the wetlands is shorter and far more scenic. It begins with a superb par-3 heading towards the river, and ends with a good par 4.

There are five par 3s and from the back tees you probably won’t find a longer set in the country. The shortest is 179 metres and longest 209.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

62, Bradford Vaughan, January 2017

CLUB CHAMPION

2020 P G Swarts

Practice Facility

There is a long and spacious range open to the public, close to the clubhouse adjoining the 18th fairway.

Accommodation

There are 8 rooms available for guests in a lodge next to the clubhouse.

Did You Know

1/ Club pro Bradford Vaughan, the 1994 SA Amateur champion, had a distinguished career on the Sunshine Tour, winning multiple tournaments.

2/ SA’s No 1 amateur Casey Jarvis won the 2020 Free State Open here with an 18-under-par total of 266, including a final round 64.

3/ Heron Banks hosted the 2018 SA Senior Amateur won by KZN’s Morgan Phillips with a 3-under-par total of 210.

4/ Heron Banks member Almero Theron won the 2017 SA Mid-Amateur title at the Gary Player CC, the first Free State champion. He won despite having a 10 on the par-5 tenth hole in the third round. He has since immigrated to New Zealand.

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Course Reviews
This well designed estate layout has a pleasant back nine alongside the Vaal River. The greens have lots of slopes, not only making them tricky for putting, but limiting the pin options. However, they are smooth and they hold. The bunkers with their steep faces are a big NO in my book. They don’t fit in with the rest of the course. If you're up against the face all you can do is play out sideways. This would be okay around the greens, but not on the fairways. There's a lot of buck at Heron Banks and they tend to leave marks in the bunkers and on the greens. The fairways are well maintained but the course lacks attention to detail. There is a shortage of cart paths, some unfinished in places, which makes the course look tatty.
Henry Trevena
18 April 2022
Heron Banks is steadily maturing into an improved course and has become a regular tournament venue for the Free State Golf Union and GolfRSA. A large practice facility close to the clubhouse is a plus. And the top players must enjoy the superb quality greens. The Senior Interprovincial is there from April 4-8, and the Sunshine Tour's Final Q School from April 26-29. It's a strong test of golf, particularly if the five par 3s are stretched out. The winning score in the 72-hole Free State Open in January was 7-under 277, with just five players under par. There's a good design balance to the par 4s in terms of distance, but too many of them are straightaway holes. Same with the par 5s. Doglegs are notably absent here. The shorter back nine nearer the Vaal River is stronger in aesthetics, with holes running among the wetlands and bushveld trees.
Stuart McLean
18 March 2022
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This course deserves to be in the top 100. It has settled well the last few years and the maintenance team is doing an excellent job. Great rates, service and vibe.
Cornel Human
16 February 2022

Excellent course, love the vibe at the club. Helpful staff who make you feel at home.

Riaan vd westhuizen
25 May 2020

With fantastic greens, an impressive new clubhouse, and a great layout, it is my favourite local course, at a good price too!

Dean Farrand
25 May 2020
Young course with potential. Excellent greens and very challenging. Good all round experience. Hard work by the owners can be seen in the course's improvement.
Johan Stander
25 May 2020
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