Randpark Firethorn

Randburg - Gauteng

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General manager: Vacant
Golf manager: Vacant
Superintendent: Fanie Bester
Club captain: Thiruven Naidoo
President: Dewald Cillie
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 73 out of 100
Conditioning13.6 / 20
Playability15.2 / 20
Aesthetics11.7 / 15
Design Variety11.2 / 15
Shot Values11.3 / 15
Memorability10.0 / 15

Course Summary

Five tees / Par 72

Yellow 6766 metres, CR74.4/141
White 6421 metres, CR72.7/137
Gold 5948 metres, CR70.6/128
Red 5491 metres, CR68.0/124
Blue 5158 metres, CR66.0/119
Women’s gold, CR76.3/144
Women’s red, CR73.5/139
Women’s blue, CR71.5/133

Visitor green fee

R485 Monday-Tuesday
R550 Wed-Friday, Sunday PM
R850 Saturday, Sunday AM

Course designer

Sid Brews, Koos de Beer 1971;
Sean Quinn (Golf Data) 2014


011 215 8600

Previous ranking

31 (2023), 29 (2022) & 21 (2021)

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 recent 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.

Firethorn is the younger of the two layouts, also the longer, championship design on which the final two rounds of the SA Opens were decided. The original Randpark layout, created in 1971, was given a major facelift by Golf Data designer Sean Quinn, who built seven new holes on the Firethorn. It opened for play in 2015. Several of the changes were in response to the flooding of the course by the wide stream that flows through the property. The greens were all rebuilt, the bunkering altered in places and given a distinctive white-faced Golf Data look. 

Five of the new holes are on the front nine, beginning with the par-5 second alongside the stream, and then the fifth to eighth where the stream has been brought more into play on the right of the excellent par 4 seventh and par 3 eighth. 

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

61, Otto van Buynder on IGT Tour, June 2018
62, Christofer Blomstrand, 2017 Joburg Open;
Marcus Armitage 2020 SA Open;
Branden Grace 2020 SA Open.

Feature Holes

The 18th, originally a par 5, now plays as a long par 4 of 464 metres from the back tees. Long hitters need to lay up for the stream which crosses the fairway. The approach is uphill to one of the large sloping greens which are a feature of the layout. It wasn’t the most difficult par 4 during the SA Open though. Those were the second, played as a par 4 for the championship, the uphill dogleg 10th and the downhill 13th.

Practice Facility

Excellent double-storey floodlit range open to public until 7pm each day (last bucket sold at 6pm). Visit Driving Range For Those Wanting To Put In Extra Practice (randpark.co.za) for operating times. There are 40 covered bays adjoining clubhouse. 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 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.

Did You Know

1/ Randpark has a Health & Wellness Centre, and running track access (for members only).

2/ The club has a fleet of 60 carts and specialises in hosting corporate “one-stop shop” golf days.

3/ Firethorn hosted the men’s Northern Amateur for many years until 2018, and from 2020 to 2022 the SA men’s Strokeplay, won by Casey Jarvis (263), Martin Vorster (265) and Jono Broomhead (261, equalled tournament record).

SA Open Championship

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.

Club Champions

2023 Chris Scheppel & Cara Ford
2022 Conner MacKenzie & Lauren Clough
2021 Darren Quirk & Cara Ford
2020 Erwee Botha & Kim Turget
2019 Johan Aucamp & Cara Ford

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Course Reviews
The morning after a long weekend, and the course was busy with maintenance workers and their noisy weed-eaters. But no one cutting greens. I was initially disappointed, but once the dew had evaporated, they putted beautifully true at a comfortable pace. You have to ask whether daily cutting is essential as we go into autumn. Most golfers prefer this speed when putting, and pace of play improves. Firethorn, redesigned 10 years ago, is a good layout on which to test your driving as fairway bunkers are cleverly situated, and being in the trees is a no-no. Advantage to be on fairways which are superbly covered. The challenge at Firethorn ramps up on the back nine, with much stronger holes than the front, not just their length and design, but trickier greens too, notably at 16 and 18, testing 4s down the final stretch. Two excellent 5s (12 and 14) with daunting bunkers guarding the greens.
Stuart McLean
03 April 2024
Randpark typically buzzes with activity seven days a week. Firethorn is the championship course. The opening par 4s on each nine are strong holes which test your readiness on this parkland layout. The dogleg right 10th is narrow with mature trees lining the fairway. The par 5s are short by Highveld standards, albeit No 2 is a demanding driving hole. The finishing stretch of 16-18 is challenging with water hazards and bunkers guarding the greens. Two strong par 4s at 16 and 18, with a treacherous par 3 in between. The greens are in good shape and rolling true. Service always good at Randpark's excellent 19th. Unfortunately, the bunkers are not up to standard and need attention. Pace of play is an issue given the club's popularity and requires proactive marshalling. This is not a uniquely Randpark issue. Other Gauteng clubs need to act on 5-hour rounds.
Jon James
24 October 2023
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Work has started on redesigning the bunkers on No 3, and they are a massive improvement to the old deep bunkers supported by concrete. Hopefully this work will extend to the rest of the Firethorn bunkers. A problem with some of the deep fairway bunkers is that the bottoms have flattened out since they were built almost 10 years ago. Instead of the ball finding a lie in the middle of a bunker, it rolls to the front lip. This has a thick layer of sand with concrete immediately underneath. The work being undertaken will improve the bunkering and hopefully bring the Firethorn back to its original best condition.
Sabelo Ndabazandile
05 October 2023
Bunkers are shocking with barely any sand. Always wet no matter the time of day or season.
Christopher de Wit
28 August 2023
Eight years since Golf Data redesigned the Firethorn, creating seven new holes which transformed the layout. However, some members would welcome back two of the old holes, the original par-3 second and par-4 third. This pair today is taken up by the "new" par-5 second, a hole which from what I've heard might be one of the most unpopular to play in Gauteng. It wasn't well received by the pros when Randpark hosted the SA Open and Joburg Open on the DP World Tour. It was played as a 460m par 4 in the 2021 Joburg Open and averaged 4.67. It's an inverted L-shaped hole with a river bordering the right side of the fairway from tee to green. And the bank down to the river is a steep slope. The fairway off the back tees is a narrow target because of danger left and right. Left is a fairly conspicuous pumphouse and the dam for No 16, hidden from sight of the second tee. Members have suggested restoring the par-3 second and converting the current par-3 fifth and short par-4 sixth into a strong dogleg left par 5.
Stuart McLean
14 June 2023
The Firethorn bunkers need work in terms of design and maintenance. Greens are harder than cement at the moment but have generally been okay and well maintained. Tee boxes are struggling and some getting wobbly. Fairways always good and firm giving lots of run on decent shots. General look and feel including trees growing into fairways and bunkers is being addressed. Fairways extended, though in some places this is not an advantage.
Sabelo Ndabazandile
27 April 2023
Considering the club champs are going on, the sanded greens in the morning pose an unnecessary problem as a wet ball picks up pebbles and putts veer off their line. With over 70 bunkers on the course, there are 70 individual conditions for plugged lies, even for balls rolling into the bunker. Fairway bunkers often have more sand than greenside bunkers. With autumn here there are many leaves on the course which makes for an unsightly presentation. The fringes are rough and high. The fairways look good but 6 & 7 are struggling. Randpark has struggled with rain and flooding which has set it back, but some of the issues are man-made.
Len Anderson
23 April 2023
Overall an excellent course with a great layout.
Johan Scholtz
07 February 2023
The Firethorn course has made a great recovery in 2022 from the damage to the greens in November 2021. Bunkers still need a lot of work though.
Sabelo Ndabazandile
12 December 2022
Firethorn survived the wet summer better than the Bushwillow with only the seventh fairway, and both sides of the 14th fairway, still showing signs of a high water table. The course is looking great considering all that has happened in the past nine months. The greens have fully recovered from the calamity that befell them in late 2021 on the eve of the Joburg Open. However, at both Randpark courses the philosophy in treating the greens seems to be adding sand, so they are hard and not always true as a pebble may lurk to knock a putt off line. The bunkers as complexes are generally okay though some bunkers don’t always make sense in terms of playability and visual stimulus. The bunker sand is something else and plugged lies abound. There is enough sand to hide your shoes. Yet some bunkers have exposed slopes which provide spectacular ricochets.
Sabelo Ndabazandile
25 July 2022
Evidence that this has possibly been the wettest summer in Gauteng in terms of the duration of steady rainfall month after month is confirmed by the fact that the club has not switched on its irrigation systems since the end of November! Never thought I would hear that in South Africa. Other than some isolated wet areas, though, the Firethorn is playing well and the greens have mostly recovered from the issues faced before the Joburg Open. Last month it hosted the SA Strokeplay Championship and the winning score from our top amateurs was a remarkable 27-under for 72 holes. Jonothan Broomhead won by two from Christiaan Maas. Between them they had 53 birdies and six eagles. Target golf on a soft course. They also benefitted from some of the finest quality fairways I've seen. Those perfect lies take some beating.
Stuart McLean
18 March 2022
What can one say about the Firethorn greens. Not generally the best greens but always in good condition albeit hard on the bounce and slow. The damage to the greens prior to the Joburg Open has made playability even worse. Randpark's greens have always been hard as nails and slow and had to be dusted too often. I hope I am not overreacting but this is a distaste of note. The greens are not playable.
Sabelo Ndabazandile
21 December 2021
Golf clubs and their members take pride in hosting big professional tournaments, and Randpark has proved an excellent venue for both the Joburg Open and SA Open in recent years. A showcase for the club's Firethorn course. It was unfortunate that last month's European Tour event should have been marred by a perfect storm of catastrophes. Firstly the off-putting condition of the greens, secondly the sudden UK covid travel ban which chased away the foreign contingent, and then the rainy weather which prevented a deciding third round being played. More than a week after the event the greens are still scarred by the fungicide programme which went awry in baking hot weather coupled with irrigation issues. But they are recovering and should be fine by January. Close up they are not as bad as portrayed on TV. The brown patches are limited, and the greens generally playable. However, this is a course where they reach high standards of perfection, so the damage does hurt.
Stuart McLean
06 December 2021
The course is in great condition and well maintained. With winter around the corner it was nice playing Firethorn while it still has colour.
Jaco Buys
11 May 2021

Firethorn is a great layout, although some of the design changes didn't enhance the flow of the course for me. That said, each hole plays independently and presents a varied challenge. I played the course in its best condition post the Joburg Open and found it a tough challenge with the rough incredibly thick and the greens fast. This is when the course comes into its own. Other times of the year I have found variability in conditioning between the fairway, first cut and second cut. Bunkers are always in great shape, the greens roll true, so good putts are rewarded.

Chris Wood
15 January 2021
A magnificent gem in the heart of Randburg, worthy host of the SA Open the last two years. Greens in perfect condition and the course sublime.
Ettiene Steyn
01 January 2021
Course in fantastic condition, greens reliable and true.
Neil Els
30 October 2020

Definitely a top 10 golf course in South Africa!

Altus du Plessis
24 September 2020
Course in average condition. Confusing bunker protocols with rakes out on all bunkers and bunkers in a mixed state of repair.
David Frost
10 September 2020
A world-class golfing experience from the car park to 19th hole! The course is extremely well conditioned and manicured, but don't let its beauty deceive you. A true test of all your skills.
Sandor Kovacs
16 April 2020
Greens spectacular and running true. Fairways are European Tour standard and bunkers in top condition and consistent.
JC Stoltz
05 April 2020
The greens took a lot of traffic during recent tournaments yet they remain exceptional, true and reasonably paced with no imperfections.
Sabelo Ndabazandile
27 February 2020
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