Yellow, 6065 metres, CR72.4/134
White, 5709 metres, CR70.4/133
Red, 5236 metres, CR68.0/123
Women’s white, CR77.0/140
Women’s red, CR73.7/133
Dr Charles Molteno Murray (1929); Golfscape (2000)
021 761 6551
40 (2022) & 43 (2021)
South Africa’s oldest golf club has a championship quality parkland course set against a scenic backdrop of the Cape Peninsula mountains.
Founded in November 1885, Royal Cape is a club that remains steeped in tradition, providing a quality experience on and off the course.
Golf has been played on this Ottery site since 1906 – the club’s first 20 years were spent at Wynberg and Rondebosch Common – although the current routing and design of the tree-lined layout only emerged in 1929 after a rebuild by Charles Murray, club member and foremost turf consultant of his time.
It was the first Cape Town course to host the SA championships (1910), the year in which Royal status was conferred by King George V in commemoration of a visit by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and a son of Queen Victoria. He was attending the opening of the first Union parliament in Cape Town. It was the 36th club in the world to receive the “Royal” designation, and the fifth outside the British Isles, after Montreal (1884), Malta (1888), Melbourne (1895) and Sydney (1897).
Until 50 years ago Royal Cape was in the countryside, surrounded by small holdings midway between Table Bay and False Bay. Today the course and its surrounds retains an attractive natural look in keeping with the Cape fynbos landscape. Water is used sparingly and firm fairways are the norm in the Cape’s hot dry summers.
Royal Cape’s modern, spacious, contoured and slick greens are a feature of a layout which comprises an interesting mix of holes, all but two running in a north-south direction.
The colonial-style clubhouse is almost 100 years old, built in 1923 (the foundation stone was laid by Prince Arthur while Governor General). It remains a single-storey building which attractively straddles the putting green and the opening tee boxes of each nine.
The M5 highway from Cape Town city centre takes golfers straight to the club entrance.
62, Andrew Georgiou, 2015 Cape Town Open (31-31, 8 birdies, 1 eagle); 62, Tom McKibbin, 2022 Cape Town Open (29-33, 10 birdies); 62, Darren Fichardt, 2023 Cape Town Open (29-33, 8 birdies, 1 eagle)
Royal Cape has one of the country’s longest par 4s, the 470-metre third, with a sizeable water hazard built into the right half of the fairway in the last 150 metres. It has an ingeniously creative green complex. Another strong par 4, the 14th, is recognised as the signature hole, unique in its design as it doglegs sharply right around a large fairway bunker, tall pine trees and a large storage dam. Three of the par 5s, the fifth, seventh and 16th, each turn and curve around trees to create interesting challenges.
Ten SA Opens / 1996 Ernie Els, 1991 Trevor Dodds, 1983 Charles Bolling, 1965 Gary Player, 1953 Jimmy Boyd, 1936 Clarence Olander, 1929 Archie Tosh, 1923 Jock Brews, 1910-14 George Fotheringham. 16 SA Amateurs (8 men, 8 women), Western Province Open, Vodacom Players Championship, Cape Town Open.
One of the few Cape Town courses to have a full-size range, 100 metres from the first tee. Short-game area close to first tee, and practice nets. Teaching professional Wayne Bradley is the club pro.
1/ Royal Cape is regarded as Cape Town’s premier tournament venue, home to the Cape Town Open since 2012. The club has hosted 10 SA Opens, second only to Durban CC, the last in 1996 won by Ernie Els, who birdied the last three holes to edge Brenden Pappas by one. The 1965 Open saw Gary Player become the first player to break 70 in each round of the championship.
2/ History was made at Royal Cape in 2009 when Swaziland teenager Nobuhle Dlamini became the first black person to win the SA Women’s Amateur.
3/ Royal Cape had a club professional as early as 1893. Walter Day’s responsibilities included the upkeep of the course on Rondebosch Common. Hugh Gordon Stewart, an early member, won three SA Amateur titles and 10 club championships.
4/ Tom McKibbin (Northern Ireland) opened his second round of 2022 Cape Town Open with 7 birdies for a front nine of 29. He equalled the course record of 62.
5/ 2022 British Amateur champion Aldrich Potgieter (17) won the 2022 SA Junior Strokeplay at Royal Cape with a 22-under total of 266 (69-66-66-65), a lower score than ever recorded in the Cape Town Open.
2022 Cole Cruickshank & Zara Le Keur
2021 Cole Cruickshank & Isabella van Rooyen
2020 Brian Mampies & Hayley Davis
2019 Adrian Maree & Zara Le Keur
Royal's greens are the most consistent in the Cape. A little slow perhaps (9.2 on stimp) but true and smooth. Bunkers were well maintained over lockdown and the quality and consistency of sand is good. Fairways in good condition. Unfortunately some players don’t understand their responsibility in filling their divots. Tees are not level. The first and tenth have been done and hopefully the rest will follow. All dams are full so the course should be well maintained this summer.
Royal Cape provides an interesting test and includes reachable par 5s which epitomise "risk and reward." The views, service and pro shop are top notch. I was impressed with the friendly and knowledgeable service team who made an effort to welcome guests. The par 3s are a treat, with varied pin positions requiring exact shot-making. Royal Cape is a great walk which will appeal to most golfers.
Royal is a great test of golf as evidenced by the Cape Town Open. In excellent condition and playable for all standard of golfers. Highly recommended!
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