White 6458 metres, CR73.2/126
Blue 6031 metres, CR70.8/119
Red 5336 metres, CR67.0/112
Women’s blue, CR76.9/138
Women’s red, CR72.6/128
R160 weekdays, R200 weekend
Bob Grimsdell 1942; Golf Data 1992
018 473 2899
Orkney Golf Club occupies a prime position on the banks of the Vaal River, and is one of the few mine courses west of Johannesburg that have survived into the present day. Bob Grimsdell designed most of them, and only Orkney and Goldfields West are still going. The club membership has grown to over 500, and annual rounds have increased from 13 000 in 2018 to 19 000 in 2021.
Orkney is an excellent layout that had a regular position in the Golf Digest Top 100 from 2003 to 2014. The routing of the course is superb and Golf Data’s greens complexes are outstanding, a feature of the design.
Orkney is a small community, a quiet and tranquil village near Klerksdorp, 190 kilometres from Johannesburg. This is gold mining country, where some of the deepest shafts in the world were built. The course began as a 9-holer in the early 1940s, and by 1947 it must have grown to 18 holes, because Bobby Locke and Sam Snead played a match here on their 1947 exhibition tour around Southern Africa.
All the holes bar one run parallel to the broad Vaal River, the exception being the scenic par-3 seventh, where you play directly towards the river bank. You then play four consecutive holes alongside the river, the short par-4 eighth, the par-5s nine and ten, and the 435-metre 11th. Much of the river is hidden from view by thick foliage, but vistas finally open up on the 11th tee.
Another challenging hole is the 391-metre 13th, which uniquely does not have a single bunker on it.
With tree-lined fairways and creatively designed greens it is a strong test of golf, with the winning 36-hole score being 1-under-par in the 2020 North West Province Closed Championship. That event was again played at Orkney in 2022, won by club member Andre van Dyk on four-under 140.
The club has produced some outstanding golfers, notably in recent years J G Claassen, who at age 17 won the 2009 SA Strokeplay Championship at Pearl Valley, one of seven victories that year in four countries. He was the first North West golfer since Coen Dreyer in 1971 to win a national amateur title.
62, Gavan Levenson in 1983 Vaal Reefs Open
2021 Andre van Dyk & Jenny Forssman
2020 PC White & M Slabbert
2019 Gareth Petler & Jenny Forssman
There is a long range behind the clubhouse adjoining the tenth fairway, and it is a penalty area hazard for golfers playing No 10. Attractive short-game facilities in front of the clubhouse.
There are two attractive guest houses outside the entrance gate, the Hole-in-One and The Key.
A generation of promising girls played in this tournament every June school holidays at Orkney from 2008 to 2019.
1/ Many of the biggest names in SA golf played at Orkney from 1980 to 1983 when the club hosted a Sunshine Tour event. The winners were Allan Henning, Hugh Baiocchi, Nick Price and Gavan Levenson.
2/ Levenson shot one of the great finishing rounds in Sunshine Tour history to win the 1983 Vaal Reefs Open, a 10-under-par 62 that saw him come from five shots behind Price on the final day to win by two.
3/ Simon Hobday’s brother Humphrey, a fine golfer himself who worked on the mines, was a stalwart club member at Orkney for many years, winning the club championship 14 times between 1964 and 1982, a period during which he represented Western Transvaal.
If you've played this course recently, why not tell us all about it? Follow the link to our review section, complete our grading criteria and give us some details on your experience. If selected, your review will appear amongst the course’s collection of player reviews.