Somerset West CC

Somerset West - Western Cape

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General manager: Wouter Geldenhuys
Greenkeeper: Mark Hair
Captain: Henry de Graeff
President: Mike Rose
Club pro: William Guy

Course Summary

White 5665 metres, CR70.6/128
Blue 5246 metres, CR68.3/123
Red 4787 metres, CR66.0/111
Women’s white, CR77.3/140
Women’s blue, CR74.6/130
Women’s red, CR71.7/122

Visitor green fee

R400 affiliated, R350 WP affiliated
R550 non-affiliated
Golf cart R390

Course designer

Charles Molteno Murray 1935
Peter Matkovich redesign of 10 holes 2018


021 852 2925

The golf course at Somerset West has undergone a recent transformation with Peter Matkovich designing and building 10 new holes which were opened for play in February 2018.

Golfers playing the “new course” for the first time will be taken aback when, after playing the opening hole, they cross under the railway line (a new tunnel) to find an attractive and authentic looking links-like course awaiting them on the other side. The eight new holes in this area are framed by attractive man-made dunes formed by an estimated 80 000 cubic metres of sand donated by AECI from their nearby industrial site on the False Bay coastline.

Previously, the railway line between Somerset West and Bellville divided what used to be 18 holes spread awkwardly over three separate segments that required golfers to twice cross the railway line and a busy main road in order to reach far-flung holes. The furthest segment of land was sold in order to finance the redesign, reduce the overall footprint, and improve security.

Today, Somerset West is a course of two “halves,” an older parkland type layout around the clubhouse, and the links experience. The front nine is mostly parkland, and the back nine predominantly links.

AECI (African Explosives and Chemical Industries), originally known as De Beers, were associated with the golf club when it was founded in 1908 as Paarde Vlei GC. The first 9-hole course was on another site abandoned in 1920 for a new site owned by De Beers, close to the village centre. The club changed its name to De Beers Somerset West GC. When this course was extended to 18 holes in the mid-1930s it became Paarde Vlei Somerset West GC. It was purely a golf club until in 1956 it became Somerset West Country Club when tennis courts were added. Later came bowling greens and squash courts.

AECI have long since relinquished ownership of the club land, although they did so with the undertaking that it would not be used for anything else but golf.

The Matkovich redesign is mixed up with eight of the original holes left untouched. His construction team worked primarily in what used to be the middle segment of the old layout between the railway line and main road. This is where the first clubhouse (of three) was built in the 1920s. There the Matkovich team built eight entirely new holes with a links theme. They also redesigned the old par-5 tenth hole leading away from the clubhouse into a par 4 and par 3 which are now 10 and 11.

The routing is convoluted in that golfers cross under the railway line to play the second and third holes, a short par 4 and short par 5, then exit that area to play the remainder of the front nine on land around the clubhouse. These are all the old holes which have remained unchanged and feature two of the strongest par 4s, the fifth and sixth. The back nine is entirely new. The 18th has become a more challenging finishing hole having been converted to a dogleg right par 4 of 387 metres.

The current clubhouse, opened in 1950, has been extensively and attractively modernised in recent years to reflect the overall new appearance of the country club.

Additional Course Facts

Practice Facility

There is a lengthy range between the first and 18th holes, and a large putting green in front of the clubhouse.

Club Champions

2022 Jason Hale & Joanne Newell
2021 Luke Pienaar & Joanne Newell
2020 Ralph Fransman & Megan O’Grady

Course Record

65 by Ralph Fransman, 2020 Club Champs

Did You Know

1/ Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion, was a junior member and won the club championship in 1996 at age 16.

2/ Two club legends are Gerald Williams, who won 12 club championships between 1973 and 1993, and Roy Joubert, winning 8 in a row from 1965 to 1972. Joubert lost in the final of the 1970 SA Amateur at Mowbray to Hugh Baiocchi. Both Williams and Joubert represented Western Province.

3/ Greenkeeper Mark Hair, also a former club champion, has been associated with the club since joining as a junior in the 1960s.

4/ Tour pro Justin Harding was a junior member and in 2021 shot 8-under 28 for the new back nine. He only played nine holes.

5/ Somerset West is one of the oldest golf clubs in the Western Cape. When founded in 1908 there were only two golf clubs in Cape Town, the Cape GC (later to become Royal Cape) and Metropolitan.

6/ In the 1960s, the AECI factory between Somerset West and Strand was the second largest dynamite factory in the world.

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Course Reviews
Somerset West struggles with its water supply from local effluent treatment facilities. To keep the course in good condition through the summer is a miracle.
Marius Venter
27 February 2024
The Somerset West course has matured since its major upgrade five years ago. After flooding last year there remain areas which need TLC, but in general SW feels like a course loved by its greens staff. Some narrow fairways, close to each other, plus tiny greens, make this a different experience to most Cape courses, and a great experience too. A sign of its popularity is how busy the course is every day. It is in good condition. Fairways are dry this time of year, but that gives Johannesburg-like roll to a good drive in the fairway. Greens are surprisingly fast and, because of all the mounding on the back nine, difficult to read.
Willem van der Merwe
29 January 2024
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Every season this course keeps on improving. Currently in its best condition with the greens possibly being the best in the Cape Peninsula and surrounds. True, fast and challenging. Can't fault the fairways either. Grasses in the rough areas on the new nine are growing and meshing well. The renovations to the clubhouse are almost complete with the new entrance and pro shop formally open. A pizza oven has been added. Club atmosphere is fantastic which just draws in the members and visitors.
Warren Minster
22 January 2024
Somerset West gets better and better as the new holes settle down. The wind is a good defence against what appears to be a short layout. The next phase of the clubhouse renovations will soon be underway, which will further boost this already popular club, a good place to visit and unwind.
Warren Minster
25 June 2023
The difference between the two nines is what makes this course a pleasant experience. No quirky holes. However, if you are not on your game beware. The new back nine reminds me of Le Golf National in Paris (all the mounds) where the 2018 Ryder Cup was held. This course will only get better. Plans afoot to redo the pro shop and locker rooms.
Greg Woodbridge
06 February 2023
What a delightful golf experience Somerset West has turned out to be with its redesigned layout by Peter Matkovich. He has created a memorable "links" section over the railway line that is terrific fun to play. There are eight holes in this area in an enclosed amphitheatre of mounding shut off from the surrounding busy roads. Very linksy, similar to what Matkovich achieved at Ebotse Links in Benoni, and Somerset West by contrast has the wind to suit that look and get golfers to try low running shots. One of the holes, the par-5 12th, is simply superb in its design, and at 485 metres easily the longest hole on what is a short layout. There are numerous short par 4s at Somerset West, due to the confined area in which Matkovich had to rebuild the old holes that were lost. Somerset West retains its parkland feel in the holes on the clubhouse side of the property.
Stuart McLean
22 November 2022
Somerset West is a most enjoyable experience. The course is in good condition, fairways well-maintained and greens quite fast. Bunkers are small, but the sand consistent. The small teeing areas take some punishment. Several holes now have added tee options to spread the load and make the course more diverse. The renovated clubhouse provides a welcoming and modern area at which to relax.
Willem van der Merwe
22 November 2022
The new links-style holes by Peter Matkovich are settling, and the conditioning is getting better and better. The new holes are a test when the wind blows. Their design does offer options to play from different angles, much like a true links. A true challenge worth the visit. The new clubhouse has been a much-needed improvement to a well-supported club.
Warren Minster
01 November 2022
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