Published by : Stuart McLean - 31 January 2023

Having a river flowing through your course appears to be an attractive feature, a source of water and natural hazards, but it can also be a curse in these days of climate change and excessive summer rainfall in Gauteng.

Courses in this region affected by their respective rivers include Blair Atholl, which suffered a flood the week after hosting the SA Open in December, Dainfern, Steyn City, Randpark, Glendower, Modderfontein, Killarney, Irene and Centurion.

The Jukskei River flows through the heart of the Dainfern course.

Three of these courses feature among today’s ranking of courses from 80 to 61, and all three coincidentally are climbing strongly back up the rankings. Neighbouring Irene and Centurion share the narrow and twisting Hennops River flowing through Centurion. Both have experienced dreadful flooding which has blighted the Aesthetics of their attractive layouts, notably the picturesque countryside look of Irene.

Plastic refuse stuck in trees and lodged in river banks has scarred both courses. In December 2019, Irene was a lake after a devastating flood. But the worst issue was a damaged pumphouse disabled for weeks. When the water receded there was no operational irrigation system to hydrate the greens in mid-summer. All 18 greens, plus practice greens and nursery were lost. It was six months before the new greens re-opened.

The Hennops River bordering the par-3 16th hole at Irene Country Club.

Irene fell from No 43 to No 67, and this year has battled back to No 61. Some holes closest to the river are still not where they should be, but the recovery is ongoing.

Centurion, one of three Peter Matkovich estate course designs in Gauteng North, languished in the 80s for over a decade. No hole in Gauteng has possibly suffered more from flooding than the par-5 seventh alongside the Hennops. Often it is played as a short par 4 or even a par 3. Berms have been built to try and stem the water. A greater appreciation of Centurion’s strengths has seen it recover to No 70, its highest position since 2008.

Dainfern has to deal with the broad Jukskei River running through the middle of the layout. The course is not as prone to flooding as the river banks are high. But the club has teams working daily on the river to clear the debris and rubbish.

Two years ago this Gary Player design was No 75, its lowest ever position in the rankings, and it’s now up to No 64. There’s been a significant turnaround in the quality of a course that’s remarkably undulating in places. One of the most thrilling tee shots in Gauteng is the drive from the back tee on 18 over the Jukskei River.

Two Western Cape estate courses, Atlantic Beach and Paarl, are among other climbers, the former up six places to No 62, its highest position since 2007, and Paarl five places to No 71, its best since 2011.

The two courses are very different from each other, Atlantic Beach a linksy modern layout close to the ocean, and Paarl a classic parkland experience adjoining a mountain range in the Winelands. It is part of an interesting 27-hole facility. The third nine, Boschenmeer, differs greatly from the other two in both its terrain, design and number of water hazards.

What Atlantic Beach and Paarl have in common are excellent greens complexes which distinguish both layouts.

The ninth and 18th greens at Paarl’s Old Course are separated by a water hazard.

An unusual and attractive feature of the Paarl Old Course is its pair of finishing holes in front of the clubhouse. Both the ninth and 18th are par 5s which run side by side with their greens separated by a water hazard. The Berg River flows past the course on the front nine, and designer Danie Obermeyer did well to take four holes as close to it as possible.

There’s been a dramatic fall in the rankings by Oubaai, the Ernie Els design at Herold’s Bay in the Garden Route. This was the first of Ernie’s trio of SA courses in the Top 100 and it drops 16 places from No 52 to 68 due to issues with the bunkers which require major renovation work and an uncertain future.

Oubaai and its hotel is owned by Kharafi Hospitality, which has business roots in Kuwait. The hotel was originally a Hyatt Regency, but they left when the contract ended in 2014, and evidently the hotel has subsequently struggled in terms of occupancy. The home owners on the residential estate don’t pay any levies towards maintenance of the course.

Dramatic drone image of the par-3 sixth hole at Oubaai.
Photo: Grant Leversha

Due to financial constraints, Mark Wiltshire Golf, which was managing the golf club, have left, and maintenance company Turfworx are owed millions in monthly payments. The course would have closed in December during the holiday season had a home owner not paid for that month. It was a profitable decision as Oubaai did 3 500 rounds during the month. Will Turfworx continue having a presence in February or will Oubaai shut?


  • Irene 6 to 61
  • Atlantic Beach 6 to 62
  • Dainfern 5 to 64
  • Paarl 5 to 71
  • Reading 4 to 73
  • Eagle Canyon 4 to 74
  • Glenvista 4 to 75
  • Centurion 3 to 70
  • Umhlali 3 to 67


  • Oubaai 16 to 68
  • Lost City 7 to 65
  • Wanderers 6 to 66
  • Mbombela 4 to 63
  • Silver Lakes 4 to 69
  • Bushwillow 4 to 76
Article Search
Search for news articles
Top 100 Course News, Blog
and Feature
Recent news articles
1 Bosch Hoek Golf & Lodge Near… Read more
Joe Knox is not a golf pro… Read more
Louis Oosthuizen’s display at Leopard Creek is… Read more
Homeowners at the Oubaai golf estate in… Read more
The weekend of the SA Open at… Read more
Fancourt have built a new halfway house… Read more
This year is the 25th anniversary of… Read more
An attractive 9-hole course on the remote… Read more
Peter Matkovich has kept himself active as… Read more
Marco Simone was the first purpose-built golf… Read more
More than half of South Africa’s courses… Read more
On a quiet Central Drakensberg road between… Read more
Listed below are all 414 courses affiliated… Read more
Gary Player Country Club will forever be… Read more
The new millennium has seen a remarkable… Read more
Pretoria Country Club has been rated on… Read more
The US Open at Los Angeles Country… Read more
South African Open host Blair Atholl, ranked… Read more
Of all the great tournament venues that… Read more
Augusta National has Amen Corner to describe… Read more
The closure of Beachwood CC in Durban… Read more
Former Sunshine Tour commissioner Arnold Mentz has… Read more
Durban Country Club will be closing their… Read more
Casey Jarvis has become the second youngest… Read more
In South Africa, the Halfway House stop… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club was devastated by flooding… Read more
The Garden Route is a popular destination… Read more
Pearl Valley has been judged as having… Read more
Zwartkop Country Club, the 18-hole course owned… Read more
Does any other sport offer as many… Read more
Silver Lakes has asked to be removed… Read more
Mount Edgecombe Country Club is hosting two… Read more
KZN estate Cotswold Downs, at No 52… Read more
There was a change of the guard… Read more
Houghton and Hermanus are two clubs at… Read more
Woodhill continues its phenomenal rise up the… Read more
Having a river flowing through your course… Read more
Atlantic Beach is one of those courses… Read more
Katberg, Orkney and Emfuleni are this year’s… Read more
An exciting project in Mpumalanga is the… Read more
We’re seeing five key changes to the… Read more
The Eastern Cape has been included as… Read more
The Alfred Dunhill Championship is one of… Read more
Royal Johannesburg’s newly renovated West Course was… Read more
Durban Country Club’s iconic short par-4 18th… Read more
Composite courses could become fashionable locally in… Read more
Blair Atholl is an exciting new addition… Read more
Veteran East London Golf Club member Denis Jones… Read more
How would you react if you learned… Read more
Blair Atholl has the longest stretch of… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club suffered the most devastation… Read more
Durban Country Club will next year be… Read more
Bryanston Country Club head teaching professional Leigh-Jane… Read more
Work has started on the refurbishment of… Read more
Golf Digest magazine in the United States… Read more
The Sunshine Tour visited 17 of SA’s… Read more
TOP 20 GREENS 1 Fancourt Links, 2… Read more
No 1-ranked Fancourt Links claimed more honours… Read more
Links courses were the big winners in… Read more
Gauteng is endowed with wonderful golf courses,… Read more
Today’s announcement of 20 courses ranked between… Read more
Anyone who has played at Plettenberg Bay… Read more
Woodhill is one of 17 courses in… Read more
Four courses – Reading, Eagle Canyon, Centurion… Read more
Two new entrants to the Top 100… Read more
Such has been the huge amount of… Read more
The new year ushered in great excitement… Read more
The 2022 Top 100 Course Rankings will… Read more
It was 30 years ago this January-February… Read more
Christiaan Burke, this year’s scoring sensation in… Read more
In recent years golfers have experienced more… Read more
Ian Leach, a doyen of golf club… Read more
They do not count as criteria when… Read more
Following the oddest year in major championship… Read more
From Plettenberg Bay in the east to… Read more
Veteran Western Province golfer Greg Woodbridge gave… Read more
In a high-profile appointment, Meyer du Toit,… Read more
Fancourt in the Garden Route is acknowledged… Read more
After an innovative, lengthy and suspenseful week… Read more
Golfers in the greater Gauteng region are… Read more
South Africa’s collection of bushveld courses are… Read more
Big positional swings are a feature of… Read more
Three of the new entrants into the… Read more
My 61-day Road Trip visiting 70 courses… Read more
Cash prizes for holes-in-one are being offered… Read more
The design of the standard golf cart… Read more
Zimbali Lakes has been an anticipated golf… Read more
Highland Gate was a popular venue for… Read more
It’s not fashionable today but there was… Read more
The Humewood links in Port Elizabeth has… Read more
A countdown has begun to the announcement… Read more
Irene Country Club elected its first female… Read more
The Top 100 Courses website has a… Read more
I’m on a road trip around South Africa aiming to complete visiting… Read more
The PGA of South Africa announced its… Read more
Pinnacle Point have done it again and… Read more
Gary Player Country Club will become the… Read more
St Francis Links has introduced a great… Read more
Big changes are taking place at South… Read more
Colin Nel at the weekend became the… Read more
The golfing members at Irene Country Club… Read more
While golf has happily resumed, with most… Read more
One of South Africa’s iconic golf courses,… Read more
GolfRSA today received the green light for… Read more
Golf courses around South Africa serve as… Read more
The golf industry will need to adapt… Read more
GolfRSA is making every effort to ensure… Read more
South African golf courses today are increasingly… Read more
PGA professional John Dickson spends most of… Read more
One of the stated 10 keys to… Read more
The national lockdown over the coronavirus has… Read more
David Melman is the Golf Manager at… Read more
Golf clubs have been issued with lengthy… Read more
There are a handful of golf courses… Read more
When the idea of a Top 100… Read more
Silver Lakes Golf & Wildlife Estate in Pretoria has been named one… Read more
Golf participation in South Africa would appear to be increasing, with Handicap… Read more
Serengeti Estates in Ekurhuleni has created one… Read more
Intimidating and challenging closing holes help create… Read more
Umhlali Country Club in Ballito on the… Read more
Erinvale Country Estate & Golf Club is… Read more
The Links at Fancourt and Leopard Creek… Read more
It’s a magical scoring barrier everywhere in… Read more
Royal Johannesburg & Kensington will make history… Read more