Gauteng Top 41
Kempton Park - Gauteng
CEO: Dino de Abreu
Golf manager: Wikus Botes
Greenkeeper: Craig Hunter
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 72.1 out of 100
Conditioning14.1 / 20
Playability14.5 / 20
Aesthetics9.8 / 15
Design Variety11.4 / 15
Shot Values11.8 / 15
Memorability10.5 / 15
Four tees / Par 72
Yellow 7096 metres, CR76.5/148
White 6246 metres, CR72.3/140
Blue 5782 metres, CR69.4/132
Red 5001 metres, CR65.3/122
Women’s blue, CR76.3/150
Women’s red, CR71.4/140
Visitor green fee
Signature: Weekday R710, weekend R880, golf cart R445
Whistling Thorn: R530, golf cart R450
Jack Nicklaus 2009
011 552 7200
37 (2021) & 28 (2020)
Serengeti, with its opulent Jack Nicklaus Signature layout, is home to a large and growing residential estate which will soon have a 5-star hotel. It is conveniently situated to OR Tambo International Airport and the R21 highway with its direct links to Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The development of the 780-hectare estate has transformed a flat and featureless plain into an attractive golfing venue, famed for its outstanding conditioning. Nicklaus takes painstaking care in the look, feel and positioning of his bunkers, and at Serengeti he cultivated a naturally rugged and ragged wasteland look to balance softly undulating playing surfaces. Water hazards are a feature, although they only come into play on eight holes.
Acclaimed by Golf Digest as South Africa’s Best New Course in 2010, it’s a championship layout from the 7 096-metre back tees, and within three years of opening it was hosting the SA Open on the European Tour, where there was low scoring from the leaders. However, the club tees are friendlier at 6 246 metres, where the average golfer can best enjoy a mix of dramatic and unusual holes. Undulating greens make for an interesting challenge, and the pace of the putting surfaces is regulated as a result.
Nicklaus designed 27 holes at Serengeti, with a separate 9-hole course called Whistling Thorn. This is now a unique 18-hole championship Par 3 course. It’s a stunning creation by Dino de Abreu, a part of it in among attractive wetlands. There are five different tee options, and from the pro tees it measures 3268 metres, or an average of 182 metres per hole. The middle blue tees are a more manageable 2514 metres (average 140 metres). Two or three holes resemble short par 4s from the back, and each nine has a really short par 3.
Golf carts are compulsory on both courses.
Read: A PAR-3 STUNNER AT SERENGETI ESTATES
Additional Course Facts
61 by Kyle McClatchie in 2015;
63 by Caitlyn Macnab (women’s record) in 2019
The eighth is a talked-about risk-and-reward par 5, with water right of the fairway, and an island green. That’s followed by a superb long par 3. The back nine has some beautiful water features, and a terrific stretch of holes from the par-3 12th to par-5 16th.
Serengeti has one of the best practice facilities in the country, having a long, wide range with target greens conveniently set next to the clubhouse. It is home to the Wanna Be A Champion Golf & Fitness Academy headed up by teaching professional Doug Wood and fitness guru Garth Milne. There is a gym in the clubhouse. They also have academies at Fancourt and Woodhill. Each offer latest swing analysis and putting aid technology. Serengeti has the only registered AimPoint instructor in South Africa in Sandra van der Berg.
2022 Burt Gildenhuys & Tayla Potgieter
2021 Christiaan Burke & Kiera Floyd
2020 Caitlyn Macnab & Nadia van der Westhuizen
2019 Ryan Joyce & Caitlyn Macnab
Did You Know
1/ The SA Open was hosted by Serengeti in 2011 and 2012 when it moved to Ekurhuleni. Hennie Otto, who grew up in nearby Boksburg, won in 2011 with 14-under 274, with former Sunshine Tour pro Dean van Staden (ERPM) as his caddie. The 2012 Open went to Henrik Stenson on 271 by three from George Coetzee, who had a 63 in the third round. Stenson employed a Soweto caddie, Solomon Soli.
2/ Hennie Otto equalled the SA Open scoring record with a 62 (one eagle, 8 birdies) in the 2012 final round.
3/ Serengeti hosts the Sunshine Tour’s end-of-season Tour Championship with a 40-man field. The title was won by Darren Fichardt in 2018 (271), Jean-Paul Strydom in 2019 (274), Garrick Higgo in 2020 (269) and Tristen Strydom in 2022 with 267. Lowest round a 63 by Ockie Strydom in 2020.
4/ Club member Caitlyn Macnab made history in 2020 when she entered and won the men’s club championship from the gold tees, believed to be a first in South Africa. Caitlyn shot 74-71 to win by two from John Ferreira. Serengeti’s Kiera Floyd won the 2022 SA women’s strokeplay title.
5/ The third hole is one of the longest in Gauteng, 619 metres, and played to a 4.97 average in the SA Open, with just 3 eagles.
6/ Serengeti offers members a 9-hole mashie course with holes of about 50 metres.
Course and Facilities Rating
The Serengeti Estate and Golf Course is located on some agricultural land in the Bapsfontein area. For this reason the Jack Nicklaus design finds itself in the top 40 and not the top 10! But take my word for it this is an impressive layout and easily the best run facility in SA. Every staff member is committed to making you feel welcome and ensuring your experience is unforgettable (which it is). To top it all off they have an island green hole (par-5 eighth) as good as the Par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass. I can now confirm that while it’s entertaining seeing the pros hit their balls in the water, so painful when it’s your own. I recommend a visit and a promotion up the rankings.
18 April 2022
The Signature at Serengeti is a varied and challenging Nicklaus design. The course is in excellent condition, with some of the best fairways and tee boxes in Gauteng. The Signature is set apart from other Highveld courses by its many bunkers and sloping greens. Some are not easy to read. The par-5 eighth has an island green and usually can be reached in two. Another good eagle opportunity comes on the driveable par-4 17th, and I made an eagle putt from the front edge which was a highlight of my round. The service is generally of a high standard at Serengeti and I enjoy the personal touches like the complimentary beverage after you finish. For all the positives, though, it is clear that Serengeti has difficulty controlling the pace of play and etiquette. Being a frequent golf day venue it is not uncommon to suffer slow rounds. We took more than 6 hours including halfway. It may be necessary to consider altering the tee boxes for corporate days as the course is too long and challenging for most club golfers. Or reducing the number of tee times to accommodate the tedious pace of play. This would improve the overall experience.
08 January 2022
The Signature Course at Serengeti is one of a handful of "different" golf experiences in Gauteng, far removed from the conventional parkland layouts that abound in the region. It's a difficult course to classify, because it has a bit of everything to it, including a brilliant island green a la TPC Sawgrass, except this one is on a par 5. Water is a theme on the back nine where three excellent closing holes from 14 to 16 (par 4, par 3, par 5) circle around a lake and ramp up the risk-and-reward options. The striking aspect of Serengeti is the Nicklaus greens and bunkering, presented both attractively and challengingly. An infinite variety of memorable holes, and generous landing areas off the tee, make for a terrific 18 holes whatever your handicap.
24 April 2021
Excellent all round experience. Brilliant condition, always challenging set-up typical of Jack Nicklaus, and a pleasure to play. One of a few clubs where facilities and service match the golf experience.
14 February 2021
I personally love being out at Serengeti Estate. There is so much to do here. Being a professional golfer I get to see courses around the world, and Serengeti ranks amongst the best.
14 February 2021
A premier golfing experience. Three world-class golf courses, the best and most extensive practice facilities in the country, and a variety of restaurants and culinary options. Where else can you choose to have sushi at halfway?
13 February 2021
Good experience. Staff are friendly and helpful. F&B prices are reasonable value for money.
13 February 2021
This golf course is in a class of its own. Always a unique and fantastic experience and it's a great challenge. Fortunate to have a course like this in Johannesburg.
13 February 2021
Your golfing experience starts at the bag drop area. Clubs are removed from the boot with a friendly greeting and you can rest assured that your bag will be found on the correct cart, with your details displayed. The course is tough, make no mistake, but the superb condition and amazing views erase any negativity you might have.
12 February 2021
The attitude of all the staff is fantastic. The golf course is in superb condition. The greens are very challenging. A real gem to play.
12 February 2021
The course was in good condition and the pace of play was perfect.
Attie van der Linde
12 February 2021
Serengeti has been consistent through the past year. The layout is a good test and the various tee boxes allow all levels of golfers to be suitably challenged. Serengeti has improved its forward (Blue) tees from previous years. They were often too far forward and adjacent to the Red tees in some cases. Service and friendliness of staff is excellent.
05 February 2021
The cool season grass on the fairways has been taken over by kikuyu, so the fairways are patchy and ugly. The greens are okay at times. Bunkers are in poor condition; some have sand and some not. There is no control of pace of play. Halfway house is okay, yet expensive.
21 January 2021
Definition of excellence in quality, service, layout and conditioning, no matter what time of year you play.
16 April 2020
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