Published by : Stuart McLean - 01 March 2023

Zwartkop Country Club, the 18-hole course owned by the family of Dale Hayes, is being converted into a “Golf, Lifestyle, Practice and Entertainment Centre.”

It will be reduced to a 9-hole course, complemented by an extension to the existing driving range including a short-game area. A TopTracer facility will be installed, the first in Africa. Golfers will be entertained by “the best driving range experience,” one that offer games and technology in the form of data-driven performance analysis and ball tracking.

TopTracer ranges are today ubiquitous in the United States and many other parts of the globe. When they launched in Australia three years ago, one range doubled its previous business. It is successful at attracting newcomers to the game.

Zwartkop CC, founded in 1933 on farmland south of Pretoria, has been associated with the Hayes family for more than 80 years. Dale’s father Otway was the club pro for 56 years from 1940 to 1996. Dale’s first professional victory, age 19, was at Zwartkop in the 1971 Bert Hagerman Invitational. Dale bought the course and clubhouse from Iscor in 2001 and has been looking after it since with members of his family.

However, in the last four years the course, an early 1950s redesign by Bob Grimsdell, has suffered dreadful damage from the repeated flooding of the Hennops River, which runs through the three Gauteng North courses of Irene CC, Centurion and Zwartkop. The holes worst affected by the flooding are the ones being removed.

Dale Hayes grew up at Zwartkop and bought the course in 2001.

“Making this decision to change the business operation of the club was extremely stressful,” said Hayes. “My brother Brian and I were both born at Zwartkop and grew up in our family home close to the fourth fairway. We had to do this for the survival of the club. This centre will be something new and unique.”

The 9 holes remaining will be upgraded – three greens enlarged to accommodate two separate pins – and new tees built on five of the holes to add variety to the two 9-hole loops.

Padel courts and a kids playing area will be added to the centre, plus a delicatessen and eatery in the club shop.

Zwartkop has played an important role in the history of SA golf. It is one of only two Gauteng courses, along with Houghton, to have hosted both the men’s SA Open (1955, won by Bobby Locke) and SA Masters (1966, Cedric Amm). It was the venue for many of the 1960s and 1970s exhibition matches between Gary Player and international stars such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Gene Littler and Seve Ballesteros.

From 1985 through to 1995 it was the venue for the long-running ICL International on the Sunshine Tour, won by such legends as Nick Price (3 times), Tony Johnstone (2), Gavan Levenson, Fulton Allem and Ashley Roestoff, who took the last title in 1995. Price had a 61 in the first round of the 1994 ICL and won the 72-hole tournament by nine shots.

Article Search
Search for news articles
Top 100 Course News, Blog
and Feature
Recent news articles
The Top 100 rankings have returned to… Read more
There are five new entries in the… Read more
Golf Digest South Africa has returned and… Read more
Mount Edgecombe CC in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal has… Read more
Ten years ago Gowrie Farm in the… Read more
If you follow SuperSport’s 213 channel, then… Read more
Stellenbosch Golf Club has been rated on… Read more
The seaside course at Milnerton Golf Club… Read more
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
blank blank