Reading Country Club
Alberton - Gauteng
General manager: Marinus Weiss
Golf director: Donovan Main
Greenkeeper: Sean Byrne
Club captain: Awie van der Merwe
Chairman: Mark Peterson
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 67.1 out of 100
Conditioning13.2 / 20
Playability14.5 / 20
Aesthetics10.1 / 15
Design Variety10.7 / 15
Shot Values9.0 / 15
Memorability9.6 / 15
Four tees / Par 71
Yellow 6574 metres, CR74.2/136
White 6221 metres, CR72.4/132
Blue 5745 metres, CR70.1/130
Red 5060 metres, CR66.6/122
Women’s blue, CR75.9/145
Women’s red, CR71.7/136
Visitor green fee
Affiliated R300, non-affiliated R350
Seniors R90 weekdays
Sid Brews 1943
011 907 3666
77 (2022) & 88 (2021)
Reading is an attractive and challenging parkland course south of Johannesburg city centre. An old classic design by eight-time SA Open champion Sid Brews, it was upgraded with modern greens by Golf Data in 1996 and is both a fair and enjoyable experience, with some strikingly good-looking tree-lined par 4s. Water comes into play on 14 of the holes.
It was founded as a primarily Jewish country club in 1943 when members of the Johannesburg Jewish community found themselves denied access to many city golf clubs. The club was named after a Marquis of Reading (England), Daniel Isaacs, a distinguished British Jew. The club’s badge is the family coat of arms.
By 1950 Reading had 1200 members and had become one of Johannesburg’s top clubs. However, in 1976 the clubhouse and adjoining sports facilities were expropriated for what is today the N12 southern bypass which borders the course. The current clubhouse opened in 1978, and only the bowling greens were rebuilt.
Additional Course Facts
63 by Samuel Simpson in 2019 Ekurhuleni Open
The par-3 fifth is the signature hole. From the tee all you can see is water, with the green on the opposite bank of a large dam. Relatively short at 134 metres, but there is no bailout area. Bobby Locke, a regular visitor in the 1950s, once chose it in his Best 18 holes in the world.
New 200-metre range adjoining 13th hole. Golfers must supply own golf balls.
2022 Garth Matthysen & Liezl Heyns
2021 Steven Ferreira & Shelley Daymond
2020 No championship
2019 Clinton Stoltz & Shelley Daymond
Did You Know
1/ Reading, now affiliated to Ekurhuleni Golf Union, hosted the EK Open for the first time in 2019, won by Jayden Schaper on 17-under 271.
2/ Head greenkeeper Sean Byrne won the PGA of SA Course Superintendent of the Year award in 2011 when he was at State Mines.
3/ Mitchell Lightfoot (Glenvista) shot 62 (29-33) in an IGT Tour event in June 2019. There was placing, so no course record.
4/ John Bland won the Transvaal Open on the Sunshine Tour at Reading in 1970, and Mark McNulty the 1976 Transvaal Amateur Strokeplay title.
5/ The tee markers are unique in being moulded in the shape of meerkats.
Course and Facilities Rating
Reading is the busiest course in Ekurhuleni, and its popularity means tee times are scarce later in the week. Unusual set of starting tees. The tenth tee is slap bang in front of the clubhouse, while No 1 is way off in the distance. What they have in common though is being a brace of intimidating par 4s on which to start a round, or restart following the halfway break. Both are framed by tall trees. The tenth is 50 metres longer and stroke 1, yet the first (stroke 4) has a stream fronting the green. You will enjoy Reading if you like playing strong par 4s. There are 11 of them, as the course par is 71. The longest off the back is 446, the shortest 340, and that's uphill. No 13 could possibly be a par 5, and it is a 3-shotter for most of us, but it's a glorious hole for the big boys, a long drive into a valley, and then up towards a hillside green. Another challenging par 4 to be treated with respect is the dogleg ninth (stroke 2), where a stream twice crosses the fairway. A festive 19th hole awaits. Traditional long bar with a snooker table and darts boards in the back.
14 March 2022
This course is in excellent condition. I think the ranking is wrong. It should be at least rated in the top 60.
16 April 2021
Reading is a remarkably good golf course and it will be surprising in its current good condition not to see it climb steadily up the rankings in the years ahead. It possesses several memorable holes in an attractive parkland setting, and presents a thoroughly entertaining challenge for low-handicap golfers. With well-protected greens the layout does favour a high ball flight, and the greenside bunkers come repeatedly into play. The front nine has some notable holes like the uphill second, the fabulous par-3 fifth over water to what looks like an island green but isn't, and the sixth. The ninth is a fiercely difficult long par 4, yet having a stream in front of the green is inhibiting and perhaps unnecessary. There is a glorious run of holes from No 10 to 15, as good a stretch as any in Gauteng in terms of variety of design. The undulating long par-4 13th is brilliant. A great collection of testing par 3s with the long 11th my favourite. The back nine is so good that No 18 comes as a slight disappointment. By no means is it easy at 437 metres, yet it is slightly featureless by comparison with what has come before.
16 April 2021
Considering the rain we have had in Gauteng, one would have expected better fairways at Reading. Unfortunately, it was often difficult to distinguish between fairway and rough. I had been looking forward to playing here, a course with some legendary holes and wonderful green complexes, and my experience was disappointing. Still baffled by the 16th hole with distances to the out-of-bounds wall clearly incorrect.
07 January 2021
We have just hosted club champs and course is in the best condition I have seen it in 30 years as a member. Greens excellent, bunkers a little inconsistent. The rest of the course is superb and very playable.
11 March 2020
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