63

Vaal de Grace

Parys, Free State - ​Northern Cape & Free State

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Golf director: Mike Baylis
Greenkeeper: Scott Crookes
Club captain: Marius du Plessis
Chairman: Etienne Hoeksma

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow 6621 metres, CR73.8/136
White 6157 metres, CR72.0/133
Blue 5617 metres, CR68.9/120
Red 4990 metres, CR65.4/113
Women’s blue, CR74.9/139
Women’s red, CR70.5/129

Visitor green fee

R175 Tuesday-Friday
R200 Sunday
R300 Saturday
Golf cart R300

Course designer

Nick Price 2008

Contact

056 811 2013
www.vaaldegrace.co.za

Nick Price’s first African design is a unique island course on the Vaal River five kilometres outside Parys. The island is broad enough to accommodate a residential estate (currently 72 homes) and 14 of the golf holes. Uniquely, Vaal de Grace straddles two provinces, with the island holes being in North West Province, the other four in the Free State. With a reasonably priced green fee, it’s good value for money among Top 100 courses. New owners who took over the course in 2017 have made steady improvements.

Golf carts are almost essential, because of the long route across the road bridge off the island to play Nos 5 to 8. There’s also a long walk from the clubhouse to the first tee, and returning from the 18th green.

Price designed a player-friendly layout with wide fairways, and his bunkering is not intrusive. He said the challenge for him “was to build the holes along the river with variety, so they don’t favour or penalise a golfer who plays with a particular ball shape. Each hole engages with the river in a different way.”

A house has served as the temporary clubhouse since the course opened in December 2008. It’s at the estate entrance.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

63 by Jacques Kruyswijk, Stuart Smith, M J Viljoen, Michael Hollick in 2015 Vodacom Origins.

Feature Holes

The last five holes on the back nine play alongside the Vaal River. The 14th is a strong par 5 with the river on the right, possibly the best hole on the course, which plays to a well-bunkered green in the far corner of the island. Four holes then return back home on another bank of the river; 15 and 18 are strong par 4s, 16 a par 3, and 17 another par 5.

Practice Facility

A big range is conveniently situated between the first and tenth starting tees, with short-game facility.

Did You Know

1/ The men’s SA Amateur Championship was played here in 2011, and Michael Stewart became the first Scot to win the trophy, beating compatriot Paul Shields in the final. Brandon Stone won the Proudfoot Trophy as leading qualifier with 64-68.

2/ The Sunshine Tour visited in 2015 with the Vodacom Origins. Jean Hugo won with 21-under total of 195.

3/ Golf director Mike Baylis is a PGA pro from Zimbabwe.

4/ Parys has long been a popular weekend getaway for Gauteng residents, 100 kilometres south of Johannesburg. More than a century ago it was known as the Pride of the Vaal to city folk who flocked there by train. Visitors are attracted by restaurants, pubs, microbreweries, cafes, curio and antique shops.

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Range
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
Nick Price's creative bunker design is a big part of Vaal de Grace's appearance and character. They are numerous and vast, and some look unnecessary. Having generously wide fairways, though, the bunkers are more cosmetic than anything else. The par-3 sixth has possibly the biggest green in Africa! It resembles one of those double greens on the Old Course at St Andrews, wide and long.
Stuart McLean
11 March 2020
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