Gary Player Country Club will become the 22nd different course in the last 100 years to host the South African Open.
With no Nedbank Golf Challenge this year, the Open fills the void for the Sun City resort from December 3 to 6. Interestingly, the par-5 ninth, in front of the clubhouse, will be played as the 18th in the championship, which is how the golf course routing was originally planned by Gary Player.
Sun City is the furthest north the Open has ever been, and Sun City is the first resort to host the Open.
It means that seven of the Top 10 courses in the rankings have now hosted the Open. The exceptions are Arabella, Fancourt Montagu and St Francis Links.
The SA Open between 1970 and 1995 was played at a limited number of seven traditional venues in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, but in the last 25 years the rota has expanded to include a wide variety of 12 classic and modern golf courses in nine different provincial unions around the country, including the GPCC.
Randpark in Johannesburg was the first club to break the traditional rota when it hosted its first Open in 1995, won by Retief Goosen. The Firethorn course has since hosted another three Opens, including the last two in 2019 and 2020 won by Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace respectively.
Stellenbosch became the first course in the Cape Winelands, part of the Boland Golf Union, to have the Open in 1999, won by home club member David Frost. The championship hasn’t returned there, but it did go back to the Winelands for three years, at Pearl Valley from 2007 to 2009.
Erinvale in the Cape overlooking False Bay was the first estate course to host the Open, in 2003 and 2004, both tournaments won by Trevor Immelman, in his home town of Somerset West.
The new millennium saw the return of former Open venues East London and Humewood, albeit disappointingly for one-off appearances. East London had the 2000 Open, 33 years after its previous occasion, and Humewood hosted the 2006 Open, after an absence of 49 years.
Fancourt Links became the first and only course in the Garden Route to host the Open in 2005.
TOP 10 COURSES TO HOST SA OPEN
Durban CC (17), Glendower (8), East London (8), Royal J&K East (7), Pearl Valley (3), Fancourt Links (1).
COURSES RANKED 11 TO 25 TO HOST THE OPEN
Humewood (5), Randpark Firethorn (4), Erinvale (2)
COURSES RANKED 26 TO 50 TO HOST THE OPEN
Royal Cape (10), Maccauvlei (4), Serengeti (2), Parkview (1)
COURSES RANKED 51 TO 100 TO HOST THE OPEN
Houghton (8), King David Mowbray (7), Bloemfontein (2), Stellenbosch (1), Royal Port Alfred (1)
UNRANKED COURSES TO HOST THE OPEN
Royal Durban (2), PE Golf Club (2), Zwartkop (1)
Note: Number of Opens hosted in brackets