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14 Dec 2012

The City of Johannesburg not only boasts some of the country’s sought-after homes, it offers established golf course properties that are adding value to tourism.

Bryanston Country Club was founded in 1948 and is located on Bryanston Drive in the plush suburb of Bryanston, north of Johannesburg, where homes can cost as much as R72 million for a freehold property, according to a report.

The Joburg Tourism Company (JTC) has given its commitment to working with Joburg Gems, a golf tourism initiative aimed at promoting the magnificent golf courses and facilities in the City of Gold.

Joburg Gems comprises of some of the country’s most established golf clubs, including the Bryanston Country Club, founded in 1948 and located on Bryanston Drive in the plush suburb of Bryanston, north of Johannesburg, where homes can cost as much as R72 million for a freehold property, according to a report.

Read the article here.

It boasts a rich history having started out with the Proclamation of the land and 301 acres being set aside for a golf course to be built in the township of Bryanston in 1940.

Messrs Hedding, Alrridge and Bentwich came together in 1943 to start the discussions on how to proceed with regards to the course and at some point in their discussions the idea to not just build a Golf Course but to build a Country Club grew and an ad hoc committee was formed with a number of Bryanston residents.

At the end of 1948 the first official committee come into place although it was in July of 1949 that The Club commissioned  Charles Hugh Alison to design the course and further improvements were done in 1980 to the kitchens, main dining room, the Phoenix  room and the cocktail  bar lounge.

Located on 20 Marais Road in Dowerglen Ext 2 in Bedfordview is Glendower Golf Club, which opened in 1937 and was designed by Arthur Tomsett and Charles Hugh.

The aesthetically pleasing second hole is one of the best par-fives to be found anywhere, requiring an accurate tee-shot to a fairway flanked by trouble both left and right and a water hazard next to the green.

It hosted the South African Open in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and is one of the top 10 courses in South Africa by Compleat Golfer.

Due to its lush vegetation and variety of bird species, the course was proclaimed a nature conservation area in 1973.

Located on 20 Marais Road in Dowerglen Ext 2 in Bedfordview is Glendower Golf Club, which opened in 1937 and was designed by Arthur Tomsett and Charles Hugh.

This extremely well designed course, which opened in 1937, is situated against a tree-covered slope. The superb kikuyu-covered fairways feature numerous hazards and lead to excellent greens. There are 85 bunkers and water comes into play on 11 of the holes

Beautiful to look at, and very challenging to play, it has been said that Glendower - as a test of golf - is without equal in South Africa.

In 1935 10 businessmen bought the farm “Glendower” with the purpose of creating a Country Club. The farm was 126 morgan in extent with much of it being taken up by plantations of trees.

During the 80s the course saw a major face change – all 18 greens were reshaped and rebuilt, new tee positions were added, existing water hazards were cleared and extended and new water features added at a number of holes.

Parkview Golf Club located on Emmarentia Avenue in the suburb of Parkview is known as one of the easier golf courses in Gauteng with some shortish par-fours providing birdie opportunities.

A canal runs through the course and often comes into play, so straight hitting is a considerable asset.

The par 72, 18-hole Parkview Golf course features bent grass greens and kikuyu fairways and is beautifully laid out in a quiet, well-established suburb.

The history of this golf property reads something like this: “On a sunny Saturday afternoon in July 1916, about 200 of the city's sports enthusiasts and business dignitaries gathered in the largely undeveloped veld about 10km north of the young town to officially open a golf club.

They called it Parkview, probably because that is what it offered. The clubhouse had been built on a site where Parkview Junior School stands today and was an imposing building housing a comfortable lounge, change rooms and a bar.

The Fairway Hotel & Golf Resort, part of the Guvon Hotel and Spa group, is currently the only accommodation partner built in time to host the Brazilian football team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

More changes were made several times over the past 75 years, ending with the refurbished venue of 2006.

Parkview has always had a very strong ladies section, and the roll of honour includes names such as Jenny Nellmapius, Felicity Jameson, Cheran Gerber, Joy Maree, Pam Breval, Leslie Dwyer and Barbara Allison.”

Read about the club’s history here.

Located on Setperk Street in Randpark in Randburg is the Randpark Golf Club, which in celebration of its 70th anniversary was given a face-lift valued at R2.5 million earlier this year.

This resulted in a new 18-hole, Par 72 lay-out and the course was given a general “spruce up” by Golf Data’s senior course designer, Sean Quinn.

Bushwillow is the new name for Randpark’s Windsor course – a name chosen because of the many indigenous River Bushwillow trees endemic to the course, according to chief executive officer, Doug Bain.

Formerly known as Windsor Park, the club was founded during wartime with the formation of a committee late in the 1940s and the recruitment of 123 members; 71 men and 52 ladies.

Piet Vosloo, the chairman of Windsor Park Limited, had a vision of creating a large golf club to cater for the communities of the northern suburbs around Randburg including Northcliff and Linden.

The club hosted the 1995 and 2000 South African Open, has been re-named Firethorn, again because of the indigenous trees found there.

At 7 014 metres from the tips Firethorn (second course) is still one of the longest courses in SA, challenging the best golfers to “tame it”.

In its almost 130 years of existence, the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club has hosted seven South African Opens and numerous other major tournaments.

Parkview Golf Club located on Emmarentia Avenue in the suburb of Parkview is known as one of the easier golf courses in Gauteng with some shortish par-fours providing birdie opportunities. A canal runs through the course and often comes into play, so straight hitting is a considerable asset.

It is located on 1 Fairway Avenue in Linksfield North.

Royal is home to the biggest annual professional golf event in Africa, the Joburg Open, inaugurated in 2007, and is the preferred venue for the International Final Qualifier (Africa) for the Open Championship.

Its history entails the merger of the former Royal Johannesburg Golf Club and the former Kensington Golf Club in 1998.

Possibly the first merger of its kind in South Africa, it has produced a financially sound club with modernised facilities and a strong and supportive membership base.

Read about the Royal history here.

Essentially, the improvements to the Clubhouse and the two courses at Royal Johannesburg were funded from the sale of the Kensington property.

The Johannesburg Golf Club was founded in 1891 and was located on the current premises as far back as 1909. It received its Royal Charter in 1931.

It was instrumental in forming the Transvaal Golf Union in 1908 and from its membership provided the first President of the South African Golf Union in 1910.

The Club has been the home of the Gauteng Senior Golfer’s Society for over 60 years.

The PGA of South Africa also relocated to the Club in 2005.

The Fairway Hotel & Golf Resort, part of the Guvon Hotel and Spa group, is currently the only accommodation partner.

Situated on the Randpark Golf Course and 2km away from Cresta Shopping Centre, the luxury hotel was built in time to host the Brazilian football team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In its almost 130 years of existence, the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club has hosted seven South African Opens and numerous other major tournaments.

The Joburg Gems initiative was launched in May at Indaba 2011 where tourism representatives commended the approach of these five Johannesburg-based South African Golf Tourism Association (SAGTA) golf clubs and hotel in working together to create affordable and convenient golf and accommodation packages for both local and international markets.

SAGTA is an independent, non-profit professional membership organisation, which is fully endorsed by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

Its mission is to promote golf tourism in South Africa, and in doing so increase revenues to its members from the national and international golf market.

Johannesburg may not always be first choice when it comes to planning a local or international golf tour, but with the rise in travel and accommodation costs impacting on South Africa’s golf tourism industry, Joburg Gems is working hard to market the city as a golf destination of choice.

According to JTC, promoting golfing in Joburg aligns with the company’s strategy of entrenching Johannesburg as a global, year-round business and lifestyle destination.

The city is growing at an unprecedented rate – constantly and continuously transforming itself.

It’s seen not only as the economic hub of the continent, but also as offering a plethora of cultural, leisure, sporting, fashion and lifestyle activities that is fast making us the leading destination for both leisure and business tourists, says JTC.

With an estimated 10 million trees, Johannesburg is the world’s largest man-made forest offering some of the longest and most picturesque golf courses in the country.

Located on Setperk Street in Randpark, Randburg is the Randpark Golf Club which in celebration of its 70th anniversary was given a face-lift valued at R2.5 million earlier this year.

Add to this the significantly longer ball carry due to being over 1 700 metres above sea level as well as an average of 9.1 hours of sunshine per day from May through to December, and it is easy to understand why golf is such a popular pastime in Johannesburg, according to JTC.

Early this year, the MasterCard Global Destination Cities index which ranks 132 global cities by their total international visitors to understand the global economy and dynamic flow of commerce around the world revealed that Johannesburg will be the second most visited destination city in Africa, with a projected 2.5 million international visitors expected this year.

Click here to read the article.

According to MasterCard, international visitors are projected to spend more while visiting Johannesburg than any other destination city on the continent, with US$3.3 billion estimated to be injected into the city during 2012, an increase of 8.1 percent on 2011’s figures.

Thirteen African cities were ranked within the 132 cities including Cairo, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Accra, Nairobi, Beira, Cape Town, Dakar, Durban, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo, and Tunis.

By working with Joburg Tourism, Joburg Gems makes it possible for visitors to add sightseeing excursions into their golf itinerary, such as a visit to The Cradle of Humankind, Apartheid Museum, wildlife parks or even a high profile sports event or music concert.

Another small touch that makes a considerable difference is the fact that Joburg Gems has partnered with an airport shuttle service so that guests have the option of being looked after from the moment they land at OR Tambo International Airport or Lanseria International Airport until they board their flight home again.

While these green properties are not of the market, golfers and aspiring golfers can experience what each of these properties, their partners and the City of Johannesburg has to offer.

There is value for money to be had with packages priced from R800 for three rounds of golf (within a five day period) at any of the participating Joburg Gems golf clubs or from R2 300 per person sharing for a three-day, two-night golf and accommodation package. – Denise Mhlanga

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