Randburg - Gauteng
General manager: Albert Clack
Golf manager: Rikert Schalkwyk
Superintendent: Roger Innes
Club captain: Arthur Heinrich
President: Gerrit Sandrock
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 74 out of 100
Conditioning14.5 / 20
Playability15.3 / 20
Aesthetics11.7 / 15
Design Variety11.2 / 15
Shot Values11.3 / 15
Memorability10.0 / 15
Five tees / Par 72
Yellow 6766 metres, CR75.5/146
White 6421 metres, CR73.4/142
Gold 5948 metres, CR71.1/133
Red 5491 metres, CR68.6/126
Blue 5158 metres, CR67.0/122
Women’s gold, CR77.3/152
Women’s red, CR74.2/147
Women’s blue, CR72.0/140
Visitor green fee
Peak weekday R450
Peak weekend R600
Sid Brews, Koos de Beer 1971;
Sean Quinn (Golf Data) 2014
011 215 8600
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Did You Know
1/ 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.
2/ Randpark has a Health & Wellness Centre, tennis courts, and running track access.
3/ 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.
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.
2021 Darren Quirk & Cara Ford
2020 Erwee Botha & Kim Turget
2019 Johan Aucamp & Cara Ford
Course and Facilities Rating
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
01 January 2021
Course in fantastic condition, greens reliable and true.
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.
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.
16 April 2020
Greens spectacular and running true. Fairways are European Tour standard and bunkers in top condition and consistent.
05 April 2020
The greens took a lot of traffic during recent tournaments yet they remain exceptional, true and reasonably paced with no imperfections.
27 February 2020
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