Eastern Cape Top 11
11

West Bank

East London - Eastern Cape

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Manager: Denean Sonnekus
Greenkeeper: Andrew Renton
Club captain: Kevin Walker
President: Chris Moore

COURSE SUMMARY

Two tees / Par 72

White 5680 metres, CR69.6/123
Red 5174 metres, CR66.7/114
Women’s red, CR72.5/121

Visitor Green Fee

R250 affiliated; R290 non-affiliated
R180 Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
R295 Wednesday competition

Course designer

Unknown

Contact

043 731 1523

West Bank is one of only two 18-hole courses 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 and a cemetery.

The club was founded in 1907 on this same property, although the full 18 holes were only completed in the 1930s. It’s an old fashioned layout with a linksy look to it that has hardly changed over the last 50 years. 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.

Additional Course Facts

Course Record

62 by Kyle de Beer in 2019 Eastern Province
& Border Champs

MEN'S CLUB CHAMPION

2019 Charl Joubert

TOURNAMENTS

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.

Did You Know

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 is one of only three in South Africa adjoining a golf course. The others are at Milnerton and Metropolitan golf clubs in Cape Town.

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 a 54-hole total of 198.

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Course Reviews
West Bank was in magnificent shape when co-hosting the SA Seniors Society Nationals in May with East London GC. Competitors were most complimentary of the course condition and clubhouse facilities. When looking at its best this course is a gem, with fabulous ocean views. A short old-fashioned layout but extremely tricky with its small greens, sloping fairways, changes in elevation, and sea breezes. Interesting variety of holes too. What looks a shortish par 4 on the card is anything but. Distance is relative. The par 3s are no pushover, particularly the unique 17th with its sloping green perched on a ridge with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop. A daunting target. That's followed by the 343-metre 18th with a fairway sloping severely to the right, and clubhouse out-of-bounds behind the green. The par-3 third is downhill to another small green on the side of a hill usually played in a crosswind, while No 8 has one of the biggest greens, slopes all over the place, yet all you can see from the tee is a flagstick.
Stuart McLean
03 June 2022
West Bank is located on an interesting piece of the East London coastline, convenient to the airport and coastal road from Port Elizabeth. It provides an additional stop for golfers visiting ELGC, Olivewood and Royal Port Alfred. The changes in elevation, slopes and small greens make for a challenging 18 holes which are fun to play.
Jon James
27 December 2020
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I was surprised how enjoyable West Bank was to play on my first visit, only having previously played East London GC. Worth a visit.
Keith Simpson
21 December 2020
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