84

King David Mowbray

Cape Town - Western Cape

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General manager: Darrell Williams
Greenkeeper: Cameron van Niekerk (Golf Data)
Chairman: Selwyn Zackon
Club captain: Samora Biko
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 64.4 out of 100
Conditioning13.2 / 20
Playability13.0 / 20
Aesthetics10.0 / 15
Design Variety10.2 / 15
Shot Values9.1 / 15
Memorability8.9 / 15

Course Summary

Three tees / Par 72

Yellow 5916 metres, CR 71.7/124
White 5570 metres, CR70.0/121
Red 5051 metres, CR67.3/116
Women’s White, CR76.6/131
Women’s Red, CR73.1/124

Visitor green fee

Peak R405
Off-peak R335
No distinction between affiliated and non-affiliated

Course designer

Committee (1911),
Colonel S V Hotchkin (1929),
Bob Grimsdell (1954),
Golf Data (1992)

Contact

021 685 3018
www.kingdavidmowbraygolfclub.co.za

Previous Ranking

78 (2023), 81 (2022) & 80 (2021)

Compact and scenic parkland course reasonably close to the city centre that hosted 7 SA Opens in an earlier era. There is easy access to the club from the N2 highway which passes between the courses of King David Mowbray and Rondebosch GC.

Mowbray is one of Cape Town’s oldest golf clubs, founded in 1910, and in January 2016 the club merged with King David GC, which closed its course near Cape Town Airport.

While relatively short by modern standards, King David Mowbray remains an exacting, varied and interesting layout with tree-lined fairways affected by crosswinds, and having small well-bunkered greens. It’s flat and easy to walk. Very playable in even the strongest of winds, and the condition of the greens in recent years has undergone a transformation which today sees KDM regarded as one of the most consistently well-conditioned courses in the Cape Peninsula.

While the SA Open was last played here in 1987, the club continues to host big tournaments, including the 2020 Cape Town Ladies Open, and 2019 men’s SA Amateur championship, the seventh held at the course, won by Wilco Nienaber.

For seven consecutive decades from the 1930s to 1990s it was Cape Town’s premier tournament venue along with Royal Cape. Winners here include Gary Player, Mark McNulty, Vijay Singh and David Feherty.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

62 by Justin Turner in 2012 Western Province Championship.

Feature Holes

Its signature holes on the back nine provide magnificent backdrops of Devil’s Peak, the most famous being the 375-metre par-4 15th, one of the best holes in the Western Cape. The round concludes with the fearsome 412m 18th, its narrow green guarded by a water hazard. KDM’s quartet of par-3s is extremely strong and among the most difficult of Top 100 layouts. During the 2018 Cape Town Open, the second hardest hole for the Sunshine Tour pros was the 165-metre eighth.

Accommodation

City Lodge on former club property adjoining the first hole.

Practice Facility

Limited space warm-up range with mats close to first tee, plus a short-game area.

Major Tournaments

SA Open winners: Mark McNulty 1987, Hugh Baiocchi 1978, Gary Player 1960-75, Simon Hobday 1971, Ronnie Glennie 1947, Charles McIlvenny 1932. Hosted 14 SA Amateur Champs, 7 men and 7 women.

Hosted Western Province Open, SA Masters, Bell’s Cup, 2018 Cape Town Open.

Did You Know

1/ A main suburban railway line splits the course in two, but there is no longer a station at the clubhouse, as in earlier years.

2/ Mowbray was where renowned golf course architect Robert Grimsdell worked as the club pro until 1926 when he moved to Royal Johannesburg. He returned in the 1950s to make design changes to the original layout.

3/ Sunshine Tour pro Ben Fouchee won 1000 cases of whisky when he aced the 16th hole in the 1990 Bell’s Cup.

4/ Former member Bern Triblehorn and her daughter Lorraine (Smit) between them won 35 women’s club championship titles from 1960 to the present day.

5/ Peter Todt, a 1970s Springbok, won 7 club titles. One of the longest hitters of his era, yet not straight off the tee, he is said to hold the unique record of making a birdie on every hole at Mowbray, hitting his approach from the wrong fairway!

6/ KDM is home to the SA Disabled Golf Association, and the club hosted the World Cup of Disabled Golf in 2017.

7/ Hugh Baiocchi, winner of the SA Open (1978) and SA Amateur (1970) at Mowbray, is the only man since Bobby Locke to have won both trophies at the same course.

Club Champions

2024 Anthony Hobson & Zoey Rhoda
2023 Daniel Davidson & Jaden Visagie
2022 Cameron Johnston & Amy Laird
2021 Roux Burger & Lorraine Smit
2020 Cameron Johnston & June Watson
2019 Cameron Johnston & Lorraine Smit

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Course Reviews
KDM are experimenting with an alternative routing of their course from March 16, all to do with the fact the club has historically had to operate two separate halfway houses. One is in the clubhouse, another over the railway line close to the ninth green and tenth tee. To have everyone use the same halfway facility in the clubhouse and avoid duplication, members will either begin rounds on the first, or the par-4 17th, close to the clubhouse. The routing from the first will involve playing the first eight holes as normal, then finishing the nine at the par-4 18th, a longish walk across the seventh hole. They will finish their round on the par-3 16th. Those starting at 17 will play the par-5 ninth as their second hole, before going to No 10 and playing from there to No 16. They can then walk to halfway in the clubhouse before starting their back nine at No 1. Not the most satisfactory change.
Thomas Souness
27 February 2024
KDM in a 3-club plus wind is something to test any player, especially someone from the Highveld. The greens were excellent and rolling true, bunkers and fairways showing signs of summer burn but still playable. There is an interesting mix of risk-reward holes. Many par 4s are short off the club tees (less than 360m). However, the approach shots are exacting, with cross winds and pin placements easily defending par. Scoring opportunities are presented on the shortish par 5s but accuracy and avoidance of mature trees is critical. The par-5 10th (stroke 1) is a strong start to the back nine and needs a well-placed tee shot, clearing the fairway bunker, and approach to the green. The par 3s are enjoyable, with the 149m 13th a testing short iron into a green guarded by water right. No 15 (356m off club tee) is an aesthetically beautiful hole towards Devil's Peak, which frames this par 4 so attractively. It was encouraging to see the number of juniors enjoying their summer holiday rounds.
Jon James
05 January 2024
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Finding fairways off the tee has always been essential to score well at KDM, a course lined by so many trees that offline tee shots can be punished. There are even individual forests on the course (an impressive plantation of mature figs near the 15th green, abundant pines right of the first), and these are no-go areas because recovery from them is problematic. One concerning issue with having so many trees is the root system of some species, which spreads into playing areas and is not being attended to by the club. Roots are dangerous for golfers' wrists, and there is a local rule where you can take a free drop away from an interfering root in the rough (inside four club lengths from the fairway). A better solution would be to chop back those becoming a nuisance.
Stuart McLean
28 December 2022
Have to comment on the outstanding quality of the greens which made our round most pleasurable. They are particularly good with their speed and roll, possibly the best I've seen them at this course. Interesting to see new cart paths being constructed around various greens. Hopefully the notoriously unruly golf cart drivers will adhere to them.
Thomas Souness
08 July 2022
The greens made an impression on me, very true for putting and excellent ball reaction on pitches. Generally flat in appearance, yet well designed offering a variety of pin positions. They were the highlight of my round in windy conditions which turned this relatively short layout of under 6000 metres into a stern test. I found myself regularly underclubbing into greens. KDM is one of the tightest courses I've played, even with only a handful of fairway bunkers. Trees are a strategic feature and continually come into play if you deviate off line. Interestingly only one par 4 longer than 375 metres, the 18th which I'm told used to be a par 5.
Dieter ten Haag
15 February 2022
A fleet of new John Deere machinery to mow and maintain the course has transformed the look of King David Mowbray in recent months. The kikuyu fairways are tightly mown and this makes a positive difference, despite the bare patches as the invasive poa in the fairways dies off in the hot and windy summer months. Golf Data now has the maintenance contract and the general presentation is improved. At this time of year, with the south-easterly regularly puffing away (evident in the dark clouds gathering on the mountain in the afternoon and obscuring nearby Devil's Peak), the course plays longer than its distance suggests. The strong cross winds make the par 3s a challenge in terms of club selection, particularly the dangerous 8th and 13th which uniquely sit alongside each other divided by a water hazard.
Stuart McLean
07 January 2022
This Cape Town course with its strong history, location and potential is in need of a makeover. The greens having made good strides in the past few years are declining, as are the fairways.
Mark Lynam
27 May 2021
Popular and well situated with respect to proximity to Cape Town. Some challenging holes on an old championship course.
Brent Arthur Kleve
27 April 2021
My home course since 2015. King David Mowbray plays like a championship course from the back tees and is very playable off the front tees. Condition is very good and will be improving going forward.
bryan
06 April 2021
King David Mowbray has one of the more challenging 18th holes among the Cape Town courses, and this 412-metre par 4 has become a little bit tougher with the addition of another water hazard. The hole has always had a large dam left of the narrow green, now there's also a stream running through the trees for about 50 metres on the right side of the fairway, between the green and the 100-metre marker. The shallow stream has been built to pump water from new boreholes into the main dam, thus reducing the club's reliance for irrigation on the unreliable treated effluent supply from the municipality.
Stuart McLean
28 December 2020

Beautiful trees and mountain vistas. The suburban trains running through the middle of the course reminded me of many courses I have played in the UK where passing trains are a feature.

Keith Simpson
20 December 2020
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