White 5680 metres, CR69.6/123
Red 5174 metres, CR66.7/114
Women’s red, CR72.5/121
R250 affiliated; R290 non-affiliated
R180 Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
R295 Wednesday competition
Unknown (possibly club pro Wallie Nicol from Scotland), 18 holes opened 1929, modified 1939 when current clubhouse was built.
043 731 1523
West Bank is today one of only two 18-hole courses remaining in the river port of East London, situated on the less affluent side of the city, close to the harbour and industrial area. Like East London Golf Club, it is on high ground overlooking the Indian Ocean, with spectacular views from many of the holes and the clubhouse. Two notable features as you drive through the course to the clubhouse are a lighthouse (Hood Point) and a cemetery.
The club was founded in 1907 with a 9-holer on neighbouring property, but that was soon abandoned for a site closer to the ocean. A full 18 holes with grass greens were established in 1928/29. It’s an old fashioned layout with a linksy look to it that has hardly changed over the last 75 years, other than the eighth, shortened to a par 3 in 1999. It’s a short and quirky course – three par 4s under 300 metres – and extremely tricky when the wind gets up.
The clubhouse sits on a rise fronting the sea, overlooking the first three holes. The first is a driveable par 4 heading towards the lighthouse, but danger lurks behind the elevated green.
The front nine holes all run parallel to the coastline, and the back nine then moves inland from the 11th to 16th, although the good views continue. The finish is a good one and includes the difficult par-3 17th. The exposed 18th tee on one of the highest points offers a panoramic view along the coastline.
62 by Kyle de Beer in 2019 Eastern Province
& Border Champs
2019 Charl Joubert
1/ Richard Sterne, 17, shone in the SA Junior Championships played at West Bank in March 1999, winning both the Strokeplay title with a 3-under total of 285, by four shots from Tyrone van Aswegen, Etienne Bond and Shaun Norris, and the Matchplay title, winning the 36-hole final at the 38th hole against Bond. Sterne was the first player to win the “double” at the SA Juniors in the same month as winning the SA Amateur crown.
2/ West Bank hosted the SA Under-23 teams event in May 1998, the last occasion it featured combined provincial teams. Transvaal Eagles won the title from the Eastern Province/Border Dolphins. The inaugural U-23 tournament was in 1971.
1/ From the 18th tee you are high above the East London motor racing circuit, which staged the South African Grand Prix for several years, including three Formula One world championship races in 1962 (Graham Hill), 1963 and 1965 (both Jim Clark).
2/ The club has two SA Hall of Fame members. Clarence Olander won the SA Open and SA Amateur double in 1936 at Royal Cape, and Alison Sheard was Women’s British Open champion in 1979.
3/ The Hood Point lighthouse (1895) is one of only three in South Africa adjoining a golf course. The others are at Milnerton and Metropolitan golf clubs in Cape Town. In 1937 a steam ship, the Stuart Star, ran aground in fog in front of the lighthouse, close to the fourth green.
4/ West Bank hosted the 2019 Eastern Province & Border men’s championship, and Kyle de Beer shot a 62 to win with a 54-hole total of 16-under 200. Three months later he won the Border title at ELGC with 198.
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