Paarl (Old Course)

Paarl, Winelands - Western Cape

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Managing director : Willem Pretorius
Golf director: Werner Bernhardt
Greenkeeper: Wynand Viljoen (Servest)
Club captain: Jacques Hamman
Chairman: Ian van Schalkwyk
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 67.5 out of 100
Conditioning13.9 / 20
Playability14.4 / 20
Aesthetics11.0 / 15
Design Variety9.5 / 15
Shot Values9.0 / 15
Memorability9.7 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6214 metres, CR72.7/134
White 5978 metres, CR71.5/134
Blue 5598 metres, CR69.7/127
Red 5080 metres, CR67.1/115
Women’s blue, CR75.9/134
Women’s red, CR72.3/125

Visitor green fee

R560 affiliated
R795 non-affiliated
Golf carts R420

Course designer

Ken Elkin 1955,
Danie Obermeyer 2004


021 863 1140

Previous ranking

70 (2023), 76 (2022) & 82 (2021)

This parkland course, on the banks of the Berg River, overlooked by a mountain range, was rebuilt in the early years of the millennium when its 18 holes were redesigned to accommodate the Boschenmeer residential estate. 

An additional 9 holes was added to the 18-hole Old Course to make up a 27-hole facility, which provides interesting options for members and visitors. The Boschenmeer 9 is different in design from the Old, with numerous water hazards and changes in elevation, and was used when the men’s SA Amateur Championship was hosted by the club for the first and only time in 2004. The Boschenmeer 9 is regularly paired with one of the nines from the Old Course to make up the “course of the day.”

The Old Course remains on the site of the original 18, although several holes changed with Danie Obermeyer’s modern makeover. He excelled in his superbly creative greens complexes and bunkering which add to the overall challenge. 

The front nine, attractively situated alongside the river, is outstanding, one of the best in the Cape in the variation of testing holes on display. The par-4 second has the river on the right, making for a daunting tee shot. The eighth is a wonderful short par 4 coming in the opposite direction, played to a craftily angled elevated green.

Paarl Golf Club, founded in 1908, is one of the oldest in the Western Cape. The club’s first course was a 9-holer on the Berg River at Sanddrift. In 1926 Bob Grimsdell, club pro at Mowbray, laid out a new 9-hole grass links, possibly his earliest design work. A move was made in 1955 to the current site.

The Sunshine Tour has played several events at Paarl, with the championship tees set at 6 300 metres.

One of SA’s golfing legends, David Frost, who went to school at Paarl Boys High, has many of his worldwide trophies displayed in cabinets upstairs in the clubhouse entrance. He won the Million Dollar Challenge three times, and had 10 wins on the PGA Tour.
Additional Course Facts

Course Record

62, Lindani Ndwandwe, 2005 Parmalat Classic;
Gerlou Roux, 2006 SAA Invitational;
Clinton Whitelaw, 2009 SAA Invitational


Luxury self-catering options inside the estate at Boschenmeer House.

Practice Facility

The Ben Fouchee Golf Academy range adjoins the sixth hole on Boschenmeer 9, open to members and public, some distance from the clubhouse. Fouchee, a former SA Amateur champion (1987), is one of the PGA of SA’s top 25 teachers. There is an excellent short game facility next to clubhouse.

Feature Holes

An impressive sight from the upstairs balcony of the grand clubhouse is of two greens separated by a water hazard. The course concludes on each nine with two risk-and-reward par-5s. The 530-m ninth has a stream in front of a narrow green, with water guarding the right; while the 483-m 18th has the water left. Pine trees lining the fairways are a feature of several tight driving holes.

Did You Know

1/ The club boasts a family-friendly environment. The clubhouse includes the Skin Revival wellness and beauty spa upstairs, a hair salon, the Golfing Goat restaurant, plus a 350-seater Winelands function hall (now a regular music theatre), and 150-seater conference facility.

2/ The club’s Winelands Classic, forerunner of festival golf weeks, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019.

3/ Clinton Whitelaw’s 10-under 62 (eagle and 9 birdies) in a 2009 Sunshine Tour event came a day after shooting 80.

4/ Jaco van Zyl shot a 54-hole total of 22-under 194 in winning the 2010 SAA Invitational at Paarl (66-64-64).
He had 29 on the back nine in the final round.

5/ Paarl hosted the 2023 SA women’s 72-hole teams championship using all 3 nines. Megan Streicher won the individual on 284. There were 68s by Kesha Louw and Vicki Traut on the Old Course. The 2004 men’s SA Amateur champions at Paarl were Matthew Kent (strokeplay) and Hennie Rootman (matchplay).

Club Champions

2023 Ryk van Schoor & Vanessa Smith
2022 Ethan Smith & Vanessa Smith
2021 Ethan Smith & Vanessa Smith
2020: Tyran Snyders & Bianca Lohbauer
2019: Daniel Cronje & Lumien Orton

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Course Reviews
Paarl has always been a gem in the Winelands. The club is getting back on its feet after the devastating 2023 floods. Damage is still evident on a few holes. Nos 2 & 8, originally designed as tight par 4s alongside the Berg River, have become even tighter with the river encroaching on the fairways. Greens are superb and a project to re-sand the bunkers is paying dividends. Hundreds of new trees planted which will beautify the course and increase the challenge. Recent clubhouse renovations have improved the bar/restaurant area and pro shop. A friendly and welcoming club.
Warren Minster
26 February 2024
Evidence of the 2023 floods is noticeable. The fairways on No 2 and No 8 have narrowed with the Berg River encroaching closer to them, making for more challenging tee shots. The fairway bunker on No 5 close to the river is GUR. The course has recovered though to be in a good condition. Greens were smooth but cut higher to protect them against the heat with temperatures of 40C and more. Paarl has magnificent scenery and is a joy to play.
Henry Trevena
23 February 2024
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What an amazing parkland course. Played two rounds at Paarl on Sunday and Monday in the Boland Senior Open and it was in excellent condition. I enjoyed the fact that you have to work your way around this layout, through the trees. Accuracy is key. No need to hit it prodigious lengths. Note: Greg won the tournament with 69-69 from Kobus Engelbrecht on 71-71.
Greg Woodbridge
21 February 2024
Paarl was flooded twice this winter when the Berg River overflowed, and the force of water severely eroded the high bank of the river alongside the short par-4 eighth hole. A safety fence had to be erected to protect golfers from falling from a height into the river. The fence is on the edge of the white tee box. It makes for a more challenging hole, as any hook or draw off the tee is heading for the middle of the river. The low-lying par-4 fifth, stroke 1, on the same level as the river, has benefitted from sand deposits, notably right of the fairway where white sand acts as natural waste bunkers and looks attractive. Two greenside bunkers on the par-4 second nearest the river were so badly damaged they have been converted into grassy swales. All the remaining bunkers are currently GUR, with work being done on each of them to create a new look.
Stuart McLean
11 October 2023
Paarl was one of the Western Cape courses to suffer badly with flooding last week. Another was Milnerton. Both are adjoined by waterways. The Berg River which flows past Paarl's front nine holes rose more than five metres due to the simultaneous opening of sluices on the Berg and Wemmershoek dams. The second and fifth holes were submerged, and water flowed along the par-5 ninth fairway towards the clubhouse. Several bridges were damaged. The fast-flowing current ate several metres into the steeper banks of the river and there are safety concerns about golfers playing the par-4 second. On the Boschenmeer nine the narrow stream on the 25th hole was as much as 40 metres wide. The vlei around Nos 19, 26 and 27 rose more than a metre and the water pushed into low-lying houses on that side of the estate.
Thomas Souness
19 June 2023
Some years since visiting Paarl for golf, and I was extremely impressed with how good a golf course it has become during three days of caddieing for my son Daniel at the 54-hole Boland Open this week. This is a superior layout to most of those in the Cape Peninsula & Winelands, in beautiful condition, and thus has to be far better than 70 in the rankings. It was a demanding challenge for the players. Only nine of the country's leading amateurs were under par after 54 holes (Altin van der Merwe won on 13-under 203 with a low round of 65 -- he played the front nine in 29), and the 36-hole cut was 9-over.
Chris Davidson
13 April 2023
Paarl is looking exceptional this summer. All credit to their maintenance team for achieving such a high standard of conditioning while having to deal with the heat and load shedding disruptions, which impact on pumping water out of the Berg River into holding dams. I've long admired the greens complexes on all 27 holes at Paarl. The size of the greens, the elevation of some, and the creativity of their subtle slopes means that holes play very differently depending on where pins are situated. The Old Course has an abundance of good holes which grow on you the more you play them. Birdie opportunities open up towards the end of each nine in the form of two splendid short par 4s at 8 and 16, followed by a pair of terrific dogleg par 5 finishing holes in front of the clubhouse sharing a common water hazard. The clubhouse facilities have improved markedly from a few years back, with an outstanding halfway house and 19th hole upstairs.
Stuart McLean
10 December 2022

It's hot in Paarl at this time of year. The temperature was in the mid 30s on the morning I visited, and there are days when it climbs to 40. The Berg River which flows alongside the course looks tempting. And Paarl's popularity is confirmed by how busy it is with visitors and younger golfers. It's the only club I've seen which offers its customers cold refrigerated water on tap kept in wine barrels, at two places on the course near the tees at No 5 and 14. It's an innovative touch which typifies the many improvements at Paarl in the last few years both in the clubhouse and on the course. The golf club, which operates independently from the Boschenmeer residential estate, has an excellent halfway house, and that's matched by the upstairs outside deck for golfers and restaurant inside. A new irrigation system is being installed and the course is looking particularly good from tee to green despite the stress of the constant heat and wind.

Stuart McLean
16 January 2022
Paarl is an enjoyable parkland course with surrounding mountains and landscapes. Fairways are in good condition, but the course could do with more attention to detail around the greens.
Henry Trevena
21 October 2020
The fairways are much improved at Paarl. We played in a big wind and those fast undulating greens proved rather difficult.
Anton Bezuidenhout
25 August 2020
An enjoyable first visit to Paarl. Some quality holes alongside the river.
Mark Lynam
27 February 2020

Bunkers & tees tend to be inconsistent. Overall presentation superb though. Practice range some distance away which requires extra time should you wish to use it. However, there is a net at the clubhouse alongside a superb chipping area. The clubhouse building is so big it lacks a homely atmosphere.

warren minster
18 February 2020
Paarl's front nine alongside the river is incredibly good and well designed, but the back nine has some weak holes before finishing strongly at 17 and 18. There is an excellent short-game facility close to first tee. Clubhouse catering is top quality.
Stuart McLean
13 February 2020
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