Johannesburg - Gauteng

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CEO: Robby Richardson
Head professional: Richard Kaplan
Greenkeeper: Stuart Ross
Club captain: Richard Kaplan
President: Mike Berman
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 70.3 out of 100
Conditioning12.8 / 20
Playability13.5 / 20
Aesthetics11.5 / 15
Design Variety12.0 / 15
Shot Values10.5 / 15
Memorability10.0 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6656 metres, CR74.9/145
White 6403 metres, CR73.3/142
Blue 5943 metres, CR70.4/139
Red 5181 metres, CR66.1/129
Women’s blue, CR77.4/151
Women’s red, CR72.2/141

Visitor green fee

R385 weekdays, Sunday PM

Course designer

Jack Nicklaus 2010


011 728 7337

Previous ranking


Houghton is a famous name in the annals of South African golf, a strong and proud club founded in 1923 and strongly associated with championship moments of which they have had as many as any other club in the land. The last of those big tournaments was in 2003 and today the club has reinvented itself in a way that defines the way golf is progressing in the 21st century.

A new Jack Nicklaus Signature course was built on the same property to replace the old parkland layout, and luxury high-rise apartments have emerged alongside one corner of the course. A modern state-of-the-art one-storey clubhouse with basement parking stands attractively in the middle of the course overlooking the first hole and 18th.

Nicklaus turned the old Houghton on its head with his stunningly beautiful design concept. On this wonderfully undulating tree-lined property he reversed the direction of several of the old holes, situating a green where there previously was a tee, and vice versa. Those who remember the old course will be astounded by his ingenuity. The modern sloping greens and the creative bunkering look, notably on the uphill par-4 17th, are a feature of the layout.

Additional Course Facts

Feature Holes

Houghton’s back tee measurement is relatively short by today’s highveld standards, with five par 4s under 375 metres, but this remains a highly challenging layout, with more than enough water hazards and bunkers to catch the unwary. The 12th is one of the most dangerous par-4s, particularly since a new green was built into the water hazard in 2018. Water encloses the green on three sides, with a large bunker on the left. The seventh has also been rebuilt; now a spectacular par 3 over water in an amphitheatre overlooked by The Houghton apartments.


Houghton has been one of SA’s premier championship venues, hosting 28 major professional tournaments since World War Two, including 8 SA Opens (Bobby Locke 1951, Harold Henning 1962, Gary Player 1966-68-79, Dale Hayes 1976, Tony Johnstone 1984, Ernie Els 1992) and 8 European Tour events under the Alfred Dunhill sponsorship from 1996 to 2003. And it was the site in February 1995 of a famous 14-11 victory for a Southern African 9-man team against Australasia in a Ryder Cup-type contest that was sadly never to be repeated.

Practice Facility

Full-size range, grass tees for members, mats for visitors; two putting greens and short-game facility. Houghton also has a fun 9-hole putting green (see Did you know).

Course Record

62 by Tristen Strydom (11 birdies) in March 2020 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School

Did You Know

1/ Head professional Richard Kaplan, who uniquely is currently serving as club captain, is celebrated for his second place finish in a European Tour event at Houghton, the 1999 Alfred Dunhill PGA won by Ernie Els. Kaplan, a Houghton member for 46 years, represented South Africa as an amateur in the 1980s.

2/ Gary Player has enjoyed considerable success at Houghton. He won 7 tournaments there, including 3 SA Opens, 3 SA Masters, and 1 SA PGA. And he captained a SA team to victory over Australasia in the 1995 Alfred Dunhill Challenge.

3/ Houghton is the newest of six Jack Nicklaus Signature courses in South Africa.

4/ There is a unique 9-hole putting facility situated in front of The Houghton apartments, a putting course of par 3s and par 4s, on bent grass, with flat bunkers, waste areas and ponds.

5/ Houghton is an upmarket suburb close to the Johannesburg city centre where Nelson Mandela had his home after becoming president.

Club Champions

Ryan Nestadt & Angie Lanham-Love

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
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Facility Ratings
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Course Reviews
Houghton is an enjoyable Nicklaus design in the heart of Johannesburg. At the time of playing the course was beautifully presented, albeit the greens were running fairly slowly at 9 on the stimp. The bunkering is intimidating and some of the carries a challenge. Scoring opportunities come on the par 5s which are all reachable by Highveld standards. The facilities are exceptional and the standard of service consistently excellent.
Jon James
09 April 2021
Greens tricky at the best of times, too undulating for a good putting round. Conditioning always good and a great facility.
Sandor Kovacs
18 April 2020
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I was surprised to learn that Houghton is no longer an official Jack Nicklaus Signature design. In-house changes made by the club to the seventh and 12th greens did not meet with approval. Yet the new seventh green makes this a far superior par 3, and 12 has gone from a silly par 4 for members to one that remains challenging yet fun to play. The original undulating Nicklaus greens which frustrated golfers are now more playable. Houghton today without the Signature element is a stupendous experience.
Stuart McLean
20 March 2020
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