Randburg - Gauteng
General manager: Albert Clack
Golf manager: Rikert Schalkwyk
Superintendent: Roger Innes
Club captain: Arthur Heinrich
President: Gerrit Sandrock
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 66.7 out of 100
Conditioning13.2 / 20
Playability14.0 / 20
Aesthetics10.2 / 15
Design Variety10.5 / 15
Shot Values9.3 / 15
Memorability9.5 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 6540 metres, CR73.3/135
White 6330 metres, CR72.2/132
Gold 5930 metres, CR69.9/128
Red 5477 metres, CR67.4/123
Women’s gold, CR76.7/146
Women’s red, CR73.9/139
Visitor green fee
Peak weekday R450
Peak weekend R600
AF Tomsett, J Naven 1941
Bob Grimsdell 1954
Sean Quinn (Golf Data) 2012
011 215 8600
72 (2022) & 63 (2021)
The Bushwillow is the older of the two courses at Randpark, and this attractive and shady Bob Grimsdell parkland design began life in the early 1940s as Windsor Park. The club was founded in 1940 and it became an 18-holer in 1948. Grimsdell then performed an extensive redesign with the course as we know it today re-opening in 1954.
It was a relatively short but tight layout until being revamped in 2012 by Golf Data designer Sean Quinn, and stretched out to 6 540 metres. It’s an excellent test of golf, with its doglegs, water hazards, and creatively shaped greens. And it remains narrow in many places.
Bushwillow is very different from the bigger and wider Firethorn, with many more trees lining the fairways, so accuracy off the tee is key to low scoring.
Randpark Club has made a statement in recent years in establishing themselves as one of Gauteng’s premier golf destinations. It has become one of the leading social golf clubs in the country by morphing from a golf club into a community lifestyle club. The upstairs terrace bar of the clubhouse overlooking the course is the place to be on festive occasions.
And their two outstanding golf courses are a big part of the growing appeal of Randpark. The club’s metamorphosis began in 2011 with a four-year R26-million investment into the upgrade of its courses by Golf Data. They were modernised and rebranded in 2013 as Firethorn and Bushwillow. In the last four years the courses have hosted five tri-sanctioned tournaments between the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour, the 2018, 2020 and 2021 Joburg Open, and SA Open in 2019 and 2020.
Additional Course Facts
62, Louis Oosthuizen, 2018 SA Open
Note: Shubhankar Sharma shot 61 in the 2017 Joburg Open, but it did not count as the official course record as preferred lies were allowed.
The course begins with two attractive par 5s in the first three holes where birdies are up for grabs for longer hitters. The third is a superb risk-and-reward par 5, 448 metres from the club tees, where a good drive sets up the question of whether to brave going for the green in two. There’s water fronting the right side of the green, and a bunker short on the left. Bushwillow has a strong finish, with the 378m 16th one of the best par 4s at Randpark. It curves right to left with a stream the entire length of the hole on the left. That’s followed by a long par 5 with water guarding the green.
Excellent double-storey floodlit range open to the public until 8pm each day. It has 40 covered bays adjoining the clubhouse. It now gives golfers free access with every bucket of balls to the Inrange multiplayer golf experience. Driving range membership is available. There is a fitting and repair centre. Teaching pros Stuart Blackie and Darren Witter. Practice putting greens close to the first tee.
The Fairway Hotel adjoining the Randpark clubhouse and overlooking the first tee of the Firethorn course has rooms and suites, plus 7 Golf Villas, each with a four-bedroom unit and braai area. Ideal for golf groups.
2021 Darren Quirk & Cara Ford
2020 Erwee Botha & Kim Turget
2019 Johan Aucamp & Cara Ford
Randpark hosted two SA Opens in January 2020 (won by Branden Grace with a record equalling total of 263) and December 2018 (Louis Oosthuizen 266), plus the rain-interrupted 2021 Joburg Open (Thriston Lawrence 130), 2020 Joburg Open (Joachim Hansen 265) and 2018 Joburg Open (Shubhankar Sharma 264). The club’s link with the SA Open began with the 1995 championship (Retief Goosen 275) and 2000 Open (Swede Mathias Gronberg 274). In 2019 Randpark became the first 36-hole facility to host the SA Open using both their courses for the championship’s first two rounds, accommodating a field of 240 players.
Did You Know
1/ A low score on the Bushwillow is key to winning tournaments at Randpark. Shubhankar Sharma had 10 birdies in a 61 in winning the 2018 Joburg Open with a 23-under score of 264. Louis Oosthuizen opened with 62 at Bushwillow in winning the 2019 SA Open on 18-under 266. Both courses were par 71 for the SA Open.
2/ Randpark also run the Creek 9 par-3 course, one of Johannesburg’s municipal golfing gems, in nearby Emmarentia next to the Roosevelt Park Rec Centre. Randpark assumed operational control and responsibility in 2013.
3/ Randpark has a Health & Wellness Centre, tennis courts and running track access.
4/ The club has a fleet of 60 carts and specialises in hosting corporate “one-stop shop” golf days. The ability to cater for hundreds of golfers gives Randpark the edge over rivals.
Course and Facilities Rating
The new creek cutting across the fairway on the dogleg par-4 4th at Bushwillow is already looking presentable. The creek, which crosses about 100 metres from the green of this challenging 392-metre hole, and then runs between the tees of the adjoining par-5 third hole, was excavated this year to deal with excess water from a borehole which mostly ended up on the third fairway. The bunker on the right of the fairway, which was always wet, has been closed. Bushwillow, despite all the rain last week, is looking good.
12 December 2022
The wet summer exacted a toll on Bushwillow and it has not yet recovered, notably the third and fourth holes. The greens have sand on them, frustrating when playing in the morning as the wet ball picks this sand up. And some putts jag offline after hitting tiny pebbles. Some fairways have helpfully been widened to improve playability, particularly No 14. Being the shorter of the two courses at Randpark, Bushwillow rewards straight and long drives but punishes wild tee shots. The bunkers are generally good even with soft fluffy sand. Thankfully the leaves on and off the fairways, which made it hard to find a golf ball, are no longer as troublesome as they were in autumn and early winter. Losing a ball in that manner was a common annoyance. Hopefully next summer will restore the Bushwillow to its proper level of quality.
25 July 2022
The aesthetics on both Randpark courses is excellent, with beautiful trees, rocky koppies, streams and vegetation in abundance. The Bushwillow in particular is a pleasant walk through nature. The left side of the opening hole is bordered by suburban homes, and what an outlook they have from their gardens. No 1 is a terrific par 5, possibly the best at Randpark, climbing a slight hill off the tee, and then swooping sharply right downhill to a delightful bunkerless green hidden away in a dip. Clever use of the terrain, attractive and interesting, and after this promising start the rest of the course does not disappoint. The third is another superb par 5 where water hazards and a beautiful green design scores it high in my books. Bushwillow is about positioning your tee shots, and few courses punish you quite so severely for being on the wrong side of the fairway as this often does. The club golfer will find this a strong test in both length and the protection of its greens. Add in the excellent conditioning and it's easy to see why it is one of the most popular and underrated courses in SA.
21 March 2022
With the demise of the Firethorn greens the Bushwillow course has seen more rounds at Randpark. Greens are softer than they were during winter but still harder than most greens should be after so much rain. Whereas other greens look blue green these look yellow green. Hard in the middle and soft on the edges meaning one has to play a shorter club. The condition of the greens is good but playability so so. Fairways looking good though the wet spots are numerous and fairways are hence much softer. Bunkers vary with some fairway bunkers having too much sand on the lip. Greenside bunkers are excellent. The sluit through the course is looking better with the rains but ugly to look at around the 14th. Tee boxes were absolutely dead and buried but are making a comeback.
21 December 2021
Bushwillow is always fun to play. I like the variety of holes and the flow of the 18 (even more than Firethorn). The conditioning is not quite the same as its neighbour, noticeably in the patchy first and second cut of the fairways. The greens are consistent though and in just as good a condition. A round on Bushwillow always feels a more relaxing day out versus Firethorn, which marks the difference in difficulty between the two.
18 January 2021
The Bushwillow unfortunately did not have its best winter. The greens were slow and bumpy, and there were water leaks on many holes. It's still a fun course to play though if you stay out of the trees. Bunker rakes are now back on the course after a confusing period of foot-raking, placing in the bunkers, providing mini-rakes, and then running out of them.
12 September 2020
Greens generally in great condition and the course is well maintained. A course of this quality should be frequented more often, but players visiting Randpark usually opt for Firethorn being the championship course.
18 April 2020
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