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
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.
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.
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.
2020 JP van der Watt
2019 Francois van Coppenhagen & Mieke De Ridder
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!
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