Hartbeespoort Dam - North West Province
General manager: Vacant
Golf director: Daniel Gouws
Greenkeeper: Jaco Janse van Rensburg (Golf Data)
Club captains: Lloyd Griessel & Karen Weskob
Chairman: Douglas Campbell
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 73.5 out of 100
Conditioning14.5 / 20
Playability14.9 / 20
Aesthetics11.5 / 15
Design Variety11.6 / 15
Shot Values10.4 / 15
Memorability10.6 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Green 7040 metres, CR75.6/130
White 6401 metres, CR71.8/122
Blue 5698 metres, CR68.2/120
Red 5261 metres, CR66.1/114
Women’s blue, CR74.3/131
Women’s red, CR71.6/126
Visitor green fee
R455 Wednesday special
Golf cart R390
Jack Nicklaus 1998
012 244 8000
28 (2022) & 30 (2021)
Pecanwood was the first Jack Nicklaus Signature design in Africa when it opened for play in August 1998 as part of a golf estate on the shores of Hartbeespoort Dam, with a magnificent backdrop of the Magaliesberg mountain range. Over the next decade Nicklaus would return time and again to design another five courses in South Africa. Pecanwood ushered in a new era of five-star course design.
Nicklaus delivered a championship-quality layout at Pecanwood that at the time was the longest course in the country, 60 metres longer than the Gary Player CC at Sun City, with a rating of 76 from the back tees. It was the first course in South Africa to make maximum use of fairway bunkering as serious hazards. There is 4.5 hectares of sand. Providing contrast and definition, the bunkers are placed in strategic positions on every hole, so straight driving is a premier requirement.
Although working with a flat piece of land, Nicklaus and his shaper created something unique as 1.5 million cubic metres of earth was excavated. Golf Data began constructing the course in 1995, the first of several joint projects with Nicklaus. This earth was used to construct the peninsulas on the estate.
Pecanwood was originally on farmland and the waterfront property was discovered in 1993 by Rodney Clare, owner of a small real estate development company. Visiting the area to purchase a weekend home, he was told that the price of the vacant tomato farm next door was the same as the asking price of a home at Eagle’s Landing. Clare bought the land and developed both Pecanwood and Key West estate. A Malaysian development company, Country Heights, was the construction partner at Pecanwood. Country Heights became sole owners in 2002.
Read: PECANWOOD & STEYN CITY PLUNDERED BY PROS
Additional Course Facts
61 by Paul Shields (Scotland) in the 2012 Gauteng North Open
59 by Sunshine Tour pro Wynand Dingle on January 12, 2024 in social round. Loops of 29-30 from white tees (6401m) with two eagles and 9 birdies
These come on the back nine, where the course gets closest to the Hartbeespoort Dam shoreline. The par-3 13th, one of four outstanding short holes, is on the edge of the water. The next two par 4s, 14 and 15, are special, as they encircle a large inner water hazard. The Nicklaus greens are a feature of the course, beautifully shaped and without the extreme slopes which distinguish some of his later designs.
Outstanding range, both long and wide, in front of the double-storey clubhouse. There are tees at both ends.
There are seven guest houses within the estate.
Pecanwood’s newest champions, Jayden Jacobs and Megan Marais, are aged 14 and 13 respectively, possibly a world record for the youngest A division club champions.
2023 Jayden Jacobs & Megan Marais
2022 Conrad Loubser & Karen Weskob
2021 Slade Pickering & Lauren Bekker
2020 Luc Gavagnin & Lauren Bekker
2019 Luc Gavagnin & Linda Jordaan
Did You Know
1/ Pecanwood derives its name from a stand of large pecan trees between the fifth and seventh holes. The architectural design was modelled on an American gated development, PGA West in Palm Springs, California. The original building plans were modified to total 880 houses; the number of golf members set at 888; both lucky numbers according to Malaysian beliefs.
2/ Pecanwood hosted its first European Tour event in March 2022, won by Pablo Larrazabal on 22-under 266 (27 birdies). There were four 62s in the first round. Nacho Elvira had a back nine 29 with seven straight birdies from 10 to 16.
3/ Scot Paul Shields played the front nine at Pecanwood in 28 in his course record 61 at the 2012 Gauteng North Open. He failed to win the tournament.
4/ The 2018 men’s SA Strokeplay championship at Pecanwood saw Oliver Gillberg (Sweden) set a 72-hole tournament record of 27-under 261 (67-62-64-68) with 28 birdies and two eagles.
5/ Sunshine Tour pro Justin Walters was the first men’s club champion in 1999, and heavyweight boxing champion Corrie Sanders won in 2003. The 2018 champion was 13-year-old Rorisang Nkosi, with 14-year-old Luc Gavagnin winning in 2019.
6/ Water sports are popular, and Pecanwood has a Boat Club facing on to a marina.
Course and Facilities Rating
Bunkers, the sheer number and enormity of them, are such a feature of Pecanwood's design that getting them all perfect to make everyone happy is something of an impossible task. I visited several during my round and had no complaints. New irrigation points mean the greenside bunkers are being regularly watered. The sand in the fairway bunkers is a darker colour and firm (balls bounce in them), which I personally like for crisp contact, especially with a high face confronting you, as I had on No 2 and 10. Greens are delightful, if on the softish side which makes for deep pitch marks, and fairways well covered but tight lies. It's a friendly layout where the challenges are transparent (avoid the bunkers), and having a good short game makes a colossal difference to your final score.
25 January 2024
When I first played Pecanwood 20 years ago it was my first round on a Jack Nicklaus signature course. Having now played many Nicklaus designs in South Africa and the USA I can say with confidence that Pecanwood is typical and brilliant. The course has matured, and the setting and views are special. There is ongoing work on the greenside bunkers with the fairway bunkers to follow. The rest is excellent. A fun and memorable course worth the short trip from Joburg or Pretoria.
29 December 2023
Pecanwood is an enjoyable day out, a pleasant change from Gauteng parkland golf. The course has had conditioning challenges and work has been done to upgrade the greenside bunkers. Regretfully, the bunker maintenance remains poor – with the sand raked to the face resulting in frustratingly unplayable lies. The vast fairway traps are also problematic with no consistency. On the positive side the greens complexes provide decent putting surfaces with a true roll. Playing from the back tees Pecanwood is a strong challenge. The par 3s are demanding, notably No 8 at 210m into a well-guarded green. The closing stretch from 15-18 is fun to play, a test of accuracy and shot making. Many holes have excellent aesthetics with the Magaliesberg range in full view.
12 December 2023
Pecanwood has been receiving global media coverage following the remarkable 34-under-par score by 17-year-old Daniel Bennett in the SA Junior Champs. He won by 21 shots. It follows on from the club champs where the A division titles were won by 14-year-old Jayden Jacobs and 13-year-old Megan Marais. Today's youngsters are finding Pecanwood a birdie paradise. Does Jack Nicklaus know about this? Are his many bunkers no longer in play? No place to hide the pins? Bennett made 33 birdies and an eagle in 72 holes, just one bogey. The only holes he didn't birdie were Nos 6 and 8. He played the back nine in 21-under for the week, front nine 13-under. And just five years ago Oliver Gillberg won the SA Strokeplay with 27-under at Pecanwood, having 28 birdies and 2 eagles.
31 March 2023
Pecanwood provides an enjoyable round for all categories of golfers.
18 November 2022
Possibly the most playable and fairest of the seven Jack Nicklaus courses in South Africa for the average golfer. Pecanwood was his first design here and it doesn't have the tricky undulating greens of his others, narrow playing corridors or testing changes in elevation. Water hazards only guard two greens on each nine. It is a flat property. Nicklaus has nevertheless been creative with it through the use of attractive greens complexes of varying sizes, numerous bunkers, and deep ones at that. Yet intelligent course management and straight shots can comfortably avoid them. Most Nicklaus layouts have a safe side of the fairway where you can bail out rather than taking aggressive tiger lines, and that applies as much at Pecanwood as at Simola or Serengeti.
30 October 2022
A bit of a let down for me after having last played Pecanwood in its prime years. The waste bunkers have suffered and the course looked rough around the edges. This is a championship layout which desperately needs some attention to detail and brought back to its best.
30 January 2022
Pecanwood is in fabulous nick after good summer rains. The fairways are LUSH and the rough is dangerously thick (in a good way). The greens are sublime and run "oh so true." You can see a lot of work going into the bunkers ahead of hosting the Pecanwood Classic, a DP World Tour event from March 10-13. However, they do remain a mixed bag. And this track is littered with sand traps!
11 January 2022
Pecanwood is preparing its Jack Nicklaus course for the biggest tournament in its history. The estate will be hosting a European Tour event in March 2022, and it will be interesting to see how this lengthy 7000-metre layout with its numerous bunker complexes holds up against the modern professional game. It is already playing longer than usual off the tee after good rains, and the rough is being thickened. Pecanwood is a beautifully balanced design, and I enjoy the flow and variety of the holes as it winds through the estate, something different off every tee. Scenically it is an attractive course. The Magaliesberg mountain range looms large on the other side of the Hartbeespoort Dam. As you come off the 12th green you have to pause and soak in the beauty around you before playing the fabulous par-3 13th on the edge of the water.
13 December 2021
Pecanwood has been through some highs and lows in terms of conditioning and upkeep. I was interested to see how the bunker rehabilitation project had progressed given the sheer number of traps on the course, and was impressed with the amount of work done, especially on greenside bunkers. They are consistent and appear to be receiving a great deal of attention. The greens are in good shape and running true, other than a few exceptions in areas where work is ongoing to smooth out the surfaces. A round at Pecanwood is enjoyable as you get a break from the city and can enjoy the views of the Magaliesberg without the rush of traffic around you. It's a relatively easy drive from Pretoria or Sandton and worth a visit now that the conditioning is headed in the right direction.
30 August 2021
A big improvement can be seen in the course compared to my visit in March last year. The greens are good, fairways well covered and firm, and bunkers vastly better to play from. New sand added as part of a bunker rehabilitation programme. The Pecanwood sand is traditionally reddish-brown, now there is shimmering white sand in the bunker short of the 18th green and in several other greenside traps. Pecanwood's best feature is its enjoyable playability off the tee. The fairways have a generous width to them, which temptingly brings out the "big hitter" in all of us. The big challenge is to manage your way around the many strategically placed bunker complexes. Staying out of the sand is critical.
16 April 2021
Pecanwood's fairways and greens are in good shape, yet the bunkers remain a concern. Some greenside bunkers have had new sand inserted, but the fairway bunkers (of which there are many) are an issue. The course is always a challenge and an enjoyable day out, with good service and great conditioning other than bunkers.
14 January 2021
Well designed course, and well managed. Improving tees and halfway house would improve experience. Recent improvements on bunkers noted.
21 December 2020
Pecanwood is getting back to its former glory thanks to the homeowners and golf management.
20 December 2020
There has been a fantastic improvement since 2017 when the Pecanwood HOA took over the running of the course. A positive change in management means the way forward looks promising, with the team functioning well.
19 December 2020
Pecanwood is an excellent course, always upgrading, beautiful setting, fairways are stunning, greens are friendly but not easy, the staff is friendly and accommodating. Our experience there is fantastic.
19 December 2020
Pecanwood is a well designed course but many of the fairway and waste bunkers are outdated and not required. Wonderful scenery, great management team and friendly club atmosphere.
19 December 2020
This course would be much busier if it was closer to the city. A magnificent setting with some world-class holes to challenge players of all abilities.
16 April 2020
I love playing at Pecanwood, and good to see improvements in the clubhouse and around the course. The pro shop is now upstairs at the entrance which is much better. I was shocked to see a temporary green at No 17. The par-3 green was poisoned. Its greenside bunkers are being rebuilt.
24 March 2020
Pecanwood has an excellent Jack Nicklaus layout that remains as challenging as ever. The greens are relatively small, the bunkers deep and plentiful, and it can play long. The greens currently are patchy and soft and not what you would expect, but the course has had many different greenkeepers in recent times. The new man is Dean van Staden, who was an excellent golfer (runner-up in 1985 SA Amateur) and pro caddie (on the bag with Hennie Otto in his 2012 SA Open win).
24 March 2020
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