Centurion - Gauteng
General manager: Gary Marais
Sports manager: Johan Keyser
Greenkeeper: JP Cooper
Club captain: Denis Dreyer
Chairman: Andre Cloete
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 69.2 out of 100
Conditioning13.9 / 20
Playability14.0 / 20
Aesthetics10.2 / 15
Design Variety10.9 / 15
Shot Values9.8 / 15
Memorability10.4 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6486 metres, CR73.7/138
White 6218 metres, CR72.4/135
Blue 5803 metres, CR70.3/132
Red 5438 metres, CR68.6/125
Women’s blue, CR76.8/144
Women’s red, CR74.2/139
Visitor green fee
Laurie Waters 9 holes 1912,
Bob Grimsdell 18 holes 1922,
Phil Jacobs 2007
012 667 1081
67 (2022) & 64 (2021)
Irene is an extremely attractive walk in scenic countryside. Golf has been played on this site for more than a century (1912), although the old parkland course received a splendid and transformative redesign by Phil Jacobs (2007), who had a successful career as Gary Player’s chief designer. Irene enjoys some gently undulating terrain, and this is both a fun and challenging layout to play, quirky and varied. It suits golfers who are good with their short irons, because you use them regularly.
The Hennops River flows through the heart of the course, moving on from Irene to the neighbouring Centurion golf estate, and it comes into play often enough to be a useful hazard.
Jacobs sculpted some handsome modern greens which have made putting that much trickier, and moved fairway bunkers to tighten the strategy off the tee for today’s longer-hitting golfer. These improvements not only enhanced the experience, but made Irene fit to host tournaments again.
The land has been owned by the Van der Byl family since 1895, with Bertie van Zyl first showing an interest in golf by setting out a few rough holes in 1905. His ancestors have since supported the club, and the presidency has traditionally been held by a family member.
Read: IRENE CC BOUNCES BACK AFTER DISASTER
Additional Course Facts
61 by Laurie Canter, 2013 Tshwane Open Pre-Q, with 11 birdies.
Irene boasts one of the best pulpit par 3 holes, the 135-metre seventh, played from a high tee over the river to the green. That’s followed by a superb short par 4 (304m), known as Gobbler, where the right positioning on the fairway is key to playing the approach back over the river to an elevated green. The back nine is hillier, starting with the par-5 tenth, and the 14th is an outstanding downhill par 4, 432m from the back, with out of bounds on the right and a large water hazard guarding the left front of a broad green. Every hole has been given a simple descriptive name, such as Island for the par-3 16th.
Fair-sized range close to first tee, and putting green.
2020 Lean Boezaart & Bonqiwe Shabalala
2019 Gustav Verster & Francesca Bosman
Did You Know
1/ Seven Davis Cup tennis matches involving the South African team have been played at Irene in recent years. The club has six courts, four under lights.
2/ Irene was the home club of professionals Dylan Frittelli and Justin Hobday when juniors, and 1984 SA Amateur champion Mark Wiltshire. Hall of Fame legend John Bland also grew up there. His father John was the secretary/greenkeeper and their home was a cottage on the course. John and his brother Roy won 10 club championships.
3/ The Jan Smuts House Museum is across the road from the club in Irene’s Jan Smuts Avenue. This is where the famous statesman entertained world leaders. Smuts was an Irene member but not a golfer. He did have a few practice swings, pronouncing golf too mechanical for his taste. He did use the course though for walking.
4/ Irene hosts the Gauteng North Silver Salver for top amateurs. The 2022 winner was Conner Mackenzie on four-under 212. The 2020 and 2021 winner was Christiaan Maas (Pretoria CC) who had an exceptional score of 27-under 261 in 2020 and 272 in 2021. The 2019 champion was 16-year-old Casey Jarvis with 270, including a 9-birdie 63.
Course and Facilities Rating
Several Gauteng country clubs are talking Padel, to take advantage of this fast-growing sport. Irene Country Club are in step. Right next to the first tee, possibly too close, are four Padel courts, installed in the past month, with floodlighting. I hear they cost about a million rand a court. And there are new Padel courts at Ruimsig CC and Pretoria CC. Irene is a bustling multi-sport club offering golf, cricket, bowls and tennis, so it’s a shrewd move. The deck outside the clubhouse is a hive of activity well into the night long after the golfers have left. Irene’s course is in good shape, and the club have a new young greenkeeper in JP Cooper, son of Pieter Cooper who does a wonderful job maintaining Wingate Park nearby. The 18 holes of this scenic layout were revamped by Phil Jacobs some years ago and his greens are an interesting subtle mix of shapes and slopes. There’s a project afoot to rebuild and enlarge all the tees.
21 October 2022
One of the Pretoria courses affected by the heavy summer rains, but which has recovered well. Always a pleasant outing as the course meanders around farmland, a cricket field, attractive homes and the Hennops River.
20 July 2022
Most pleasing to see how well Irene has recovered from the February flooding, one of the worst in a series of devastating floods this summer. A large tree trunk tore the heart out of the seventh green next to the Hennops River, but it is now restored as if nothing had happened. And right next to that green is a rebuilt bridge to access the original tee on the other side of the river for the short par-4 eighth hole. That bridge I'm told has been closed for five years! Makes a difference to the angle the hole is presented. I was at Irene in the late afternoon and what a picturesque course it is at that time of day. The entrance to the club is on a busy road but once inside the property you are transported into a different world, a feel of the country with so many beautiful features to enjoy. The debris in the river remains an eyesore (it shows how high the river flowed through during the last flood) but there is so much more to appreciate, particularly the quality of the holes and the excellent conditioning.
30 March 2022
Course was in fantastic condition. While the Hennops River is a total eyesore with litter and damage, flooding to the river banks and bridges, the rest of the course was in mint condition and Irene do appear to be putting a lot of effort into course improvements.
25 March 2021
Irene is a breakaway to the country in the middle of busy Gauteng. A country-style course in a farm environment, always a joy to play. The popular Irene diary borders the 12th hole. Your driving and iron play needs to be good with many trees, well-placed bunkers and the Hennops River to contend with. The greens were redone in 2020 after floods and have settled well. The club and community have been working hard to keep the river clean.
14 February 2021
There's a charming country club atmosphere at Irene. A cricket match was in full swing on their picturesque ground while I was there earlier in December. Good to see many young golfers on the course or using the club's excellent practice facilities. The course is looking superb again after the disastrous floods a year ago this month which closed down Irene for six months. This is certainly one of Gauteng's prettier layouts, in an attractive rural setting. More disappointing then to see all the rubbish piling up on the banks of the Hennops River which runs through the course. I know the rubbish flows in every day, but surely the club can find a way to deal with this eyesore.
27 December 2020
Scenic walk around this extremely playable course. With a river winding through it a real test to keep the ball in play. Rough doesn't really exist so more enjoyable than most courses. Greens usually run true at a decent pace.
18 April 2020
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