64

Irene

Centurion - Gauteng

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General manager: Janyne Marais
Golf Operations manager: Johan Keyser
Greenkeeper: Jerry Steyn
Club captain: Di Dyason
Chairman: Richard Reynolds
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 66.9 out of 100
Conditioning12.3 / 20
Playability14.0 / 20
Aesthetics9.3 / 15
Design Variety10.9 / 15
Shot Values10.0 / 15
Memorability10.4 / 15

Course Summary

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

Weekday R325,
weekend R405

Course designer

Laurie Waters 1912,
Bob Grimsdell 1930,
Phil Jacobs 2007

Contact

012 667 1081
www.irenecc.co.za

Previous ranking

43

Irene is an extremely attractive walk in scenic countryside. Golf has been played on this site for more than a century, 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.

Irene was once a farm, then a quiet country village, isolated from Pretoria, but development has encroached on the area. Housing borders a few holes, yet the charm of the old Irene still remains. As the club centenary booklet mentions, where else while playing golf would you find “a herd of cows sauntering up an adjoining shady lane, a troop of frolicking monkeys on a fairway, or melodic parakeets in the trees?” There’s a cricket oval on the property bordering the second and 18th holes. This is a proper old style country club, catering for a variety of sporting sections.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

61 by Laurie Canter, 2013 Tshwane Open Pre-Q, with 11 birdies.

Feature Holes

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.

Practice Facility

Fair-sized range close to range, and putting green.

Club Champions

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 top SA professional Dylan Frittelli when he was a junior. And Hall of Fame legend John Bland also grew up playing there. His father John was the secretary/greenkeeper and their home adjoined 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, and the 2020 winner was 17-year-old Christiaan Maas (Pretoria CC) with an exceptional 72-hole score of 27-under 261. The title was won in 2019 by 16-year-old Casey Jarvis with 270, including a 9-birdie 63.

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Range
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
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.
Jamie Thom
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.
Philip Malan
14 February 2021
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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.
Thomas Souness
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.

Sandor Kovacs
18 April 2020
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