Port Elizabeth - Eastern Cape
General manager: Brendon Timm (AA PGA Pro)
Golf director: Rushane Peters
Greenkeeper: Stephen Doeks
Club captain: David Dalton
President: Karl du Preez
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 78.4 out of 100
Conditioning15.4 / 20
Playability16.0 / 20
Aesthetics12.5 / 15
Design Variety12.3 / 15
Shot Values10.5 / 15
Memorability11.7 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6342 metres, CR74.1/133
White 6077 metres, CR72.6/133
Blue 5739 metres, CR71.3/125
Red 5303 metres, CR68.9/119
Women’s blue, CR77.6/137
Women’s red, CR74.8/131
Visitor green fee
Colonel S V Hotchkin 1929
041 583 3011
One of the world’s recognised “True Links” and the only one in South Africa officially listed, although a strong case could be made for St Francis Links an hour’s drive away being part of that rare collection.
The beauty of Humewood is that its links status has never been compromised in a country where links golf is underappreciated. Yes, kikuyu grass has encroached on fairways and rough to lessen the running game, yet Humewood today would be instantly recognised by its creator, Englishman Hotchkin, who introduced some profound design ideas at several SA courses on his 1929 visit.
No residential estate has been permitted at Humewood, so you enter a pristine property which resembles many of the UK links, although it is more spacious and there are two separate loops of nine holes emanating from a central clubhouse, rather than an out-and-back design.
The wind direction influenced Hotchkin, as did the strength of the gales that blow here. He could have built more holes running parallel to Marine Drive on the Algoa Bay shoreline but spared golfers having to contend with unpleasant crosswinds.
Humewood was enhanced by a modern restoration of its greens in 2008 by Golf Data. Bent grass was planted for the first time and that was a game-changer for a course which struggled for decades to have consistent putting surfaces. New championship tees were built for the 2006 SA Open, although sadly the Open has not returned.
Wide fairways are a feature, as is the scarcity of fairway bunkers. Because the wind direction is changeable, Hotchkin built eight unusually long holes, three heading west, three east, and two north-south. Up until the 1970s these were all par 5s, but four have become par 4s.
Additional Course Facts
62 by Daniel Greene in 2010 Vodacom Origins. Lowest SA Open: 63 by Trevor Immelman in 2006
The shortest hole, 130-metre sixth, is one of the most fearsome with its narrow elevated green exposed to crosswinds. The long par-4 13th is unique, uphill over a rolling fairway to a green tucked into the protection of a dune. The par-5 17th is straight, but subject to crosswinds. A high ridge crosses the fairway in the driving area, and a burn fronts the green.
Five SA Opens: 2006 (Ernie Els), 1957 (Harold Henning), 1952 (Sid Brews), 1940 (Bobby Locke), 1934 (Sid Brews)
Goodyear Classic 1983 to 1992; Southern Cross Shield 200
Alan Jackson, who died in 2020 aged 92, was a member for 70 years and played in the 1952 SA Open. He won the 1954 SA Amateur at East London and represented SA in the first Commonwealth tournament at St Andrews that year. Terry Long, who died in 2019 aged 97, holds the SA record for matching or bettering his age more than 800 times. He won the club championship at 77.
Lengthy and spacious range with grass teeing area, including short-game facility.
Did You Know
1/ Humewood hosted the first 72-hole SA Amateur Strokeplay in 1969, and the second round witnessed a wind of such ferocity that play would have been cancelled today. The average score was in the 90s. Winner Dale Hayes shot 89 and kept his position. His winning total was 314.
2/ Humewood was originally the second course of Port Elizabeth GC when it opened in 1931. It became a separate club in 1952.
3/ Ernie Els set SA Open 72-hole record of 24-under 264 in 2006 (67-66-66-65) when Humewood experienced four windless December days. Els shot 263 at Durban CC in 2010, but the waterlogged par-3 fourth was not played the last two rounds.
4/ A Scottish-type burn was built short of the par-5 17th green prior to 2006 SA Open. It has eliminated the run-up shot that was previously a feature of the hole.
5/ Members talk of two “courses,” West and East. When the westerly wind blows out to sea across Algoa Bay the downwind par 5s are reachable in two, while the par 4s into the wind can take three shots to reach. The easterly wind presents an opposite picture.
2021 Roland Adonis
2020 JP van der Watt
2019 Francois van Coppenhagen & Mieke De Ridder
Course and Facilities Rating
More thought should be put into placement of the various tee markers.
19 May 2021
The enjoyment of a round at Humewood lies in the rare links golf experience, the tight, firm undulating fairways particularly. This makes it so different from other SA courses. The course is dry due to the severe water crisis in Port Elizabeth and other Eastern Cape towns, yet that only makes it more attractive to look at and play. The greens were rolling beautifully as usual. One criticism would be that Humewood could do with larger or additional teeing areas on some holes to avoid a situation where some tee boxes are cluttered with a multitude of bulky tee markers. The third could benefit from another teeing area to create some variety to what is an excellent long par 3.
18 May 2021
I have been a member of Humewood for many years, from the time it struggled with poor greens, to today with excellent greens and fairways. I have played many other top courses (Pinnacle Point, East London, George, St Francis Links) and rate Humewood above all as an overall experience. As the only true links it deserves a rating within the top 5 in SA.
24 April 2021
A links where the wind makes it as difficult as it can which constantly forces players to think. Greens are true and run well. A course taken for granted but loved by locals.
24 April 2021
There is no finer links in South Africa. The swales and burns are delightful. As with all true links wind is the equalising factor. In a hard west the par-4 10th plays like a par 5. And the par-3 6th is surely the shortest par 5 in SA? The 8th and 13th are a test in any weather, and a true test of your head over your heart. The greens have been wonderful the last 18 months.
24 April 2021
Humewood is an old world links course in excellent condition that tests the modern golfer and equipment to the full with its varying playing conditions that can change a few times during a round of golf!
23 April 2021
My comments are based on my visual observations encountered whilst playing. Bunkers are pathetic, upkeep is poor. Different depths of sand. I find access in and out difficult due to the lack of steps.
23 April 2021
After the drought in the Eastern Cape it is amazing to see what the club has done to keep its fairways alive and in good condition. The greens are true, receptive and immaculate. There's an amazing vibe at the club. The ever persistent wind and bushy surrounds give Humewood a true links feel.
23 April 2021
A great links reminiscent of those in the UK. As Bobby Locke once said: If the British Open was to be played outside the UK then Humewood would be his choice. It is a test of golf in all conditions.
21 April 2021
The recent installation of boreholes means the course has been getting a better supply of water. The greens are immaculate and the fairways beautifully green. The condition of the clubhouse has improved the past year and the pub is as good as always. Humewood has seen an increase in members and rounds, testimony to the great health of Humewood Golf Club in general.
21 April 2021
Always a pleasure to play this fabulous layout. Friendly administration and the course a challenge even though I played on a calm day off the tips.
14 February 2021
A true links experience, one that tested all the shots in my bag on a day when I played one par 5 with a driver and wedge (downwind) and then a par 4 with a driver, 3-wood, 4-iron, wedge to reach the green! Loved the course, would play there again in a heartbeat. I love how simple the club keeps things. All the focus is on the course itself.
17 January 2021
One of my favourite courses. A must play and recently ranked No 98 by Golf World UK magazine on a list of the Top 100 Courses In The World You Can Actually Play (this excludes private exclusive clubs). This was compiled by a knowledgeable group of renowned golfers, writers and course architects.
20 December 2020
Played Humewood on a trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town and was wondering if it was worth the detour. I am happy to say it was worth even more. Despite the wind, I wish I had had the time to play another 18 holes. I had only played the course once before and didn't understand what the fuss was all about. Now I do. Many testing par 4s where the wind makes them a challenge to reach in two shots. Can't wait to return again
09 December 2020
No other course like it, no weak holes and you can play it every day.
06 December 2020
I hadn't been to Humewood for years, yet I instantly remembered it. It had hardly changed at all. The clubhouse thankfully hasn't had any structural additions or modifications as you find today. Humewood is one of those courses which remain the same forever, principally because it is a links and not blighted by trees. A golfer from 60 years ago could return there tomorrow and the only change he would find to the layout are the modern greens and some championship tees which the members I'm told seldom use. It's interesting that Humewood has four memorable par 3s where the greens are splendidly defended by bunkers, yet the general bunkering on the course is weak compared to links elsewhere in the world. But I was most impressed by a gigantic sand trap short right of the 18th green. I believe that every Humewood member could fit into it!
13 November 2020
It's meant to be the windy season in the Eastern Cape, yet the last week of October provided magnificent weather along the coastline, enabling me to enjoy links golf to the full. Humewood was an absolute joy on a fine sunny day, allowing a busy field of Saturday golfers to revel in a light breeze, soaking in the beauty of their surroundings, the green fairways contrasting with the dark blue backdrop of the ocean, and an azure sky. Humewood in that weather is one of the finest golf experiences in South Africa, and the course was complemented by the most outstanding greens I have played on this year. They were simply remarkable, putts running true at a superb pace, and relatively firm for approach shots. I cannot recall Humewood ever looking this good.
01 November 2020
This remains the only true links in SA and a pleasure to play. It is playable under most conditions and should be ranked among the top 10 courses in SA. Despite the drought in the Eastern Cape it is in good condition and a must play for any serious golfer!
21 October 2020
Humewood has always been one of my favourite courses providing me with "Scottish" shots that reward a good bump and run. They battle with the ever-present kikuyu grass, but with it cut tight on the day it played properly. The greens may have been the best I have seen them, smooth and true. Pity the clubhouse was closed due to the virus as a pint upstairs would have capped off a great day!
29 June 2020
The best natural layout in South Africa. True links with magnificent rolling fairways built by nature. Tranquil surroundings with no cars or houses nearby to break the peace. One of our few top courses to have these attributes. A true test for any level of golfer but always playable. The various winds and undulating fairways make every round unique.
03 June 2020
Humewood lives up to its reputation. Beware when the wind blows (which is almost every day, ha ha). Real test of golf with few flaws. Great layout, great memorability, and an awesome set of par 3s.
28 April 2020
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