Serengeti Golf Club
The Serengeti Golf Club was opened in June 2009 by iconic golfer and course designer, Jack Nicklaus. It’s one of an elite group of around 300 courses worldwide that carry the Nicklaus name, although it’s the first 27-hole signature course in the province of Gauteng. The estate is located in Kempton Park, to the east of Johannesburg. There are just five other Jack Nicklaus signature courses in South Africa – Pecanwood, Pearl Valley, Simola, St Francis Links and Houghton. Serengeti has a reciprocity agreement with these golf courses, whereby its members can play at a special rate.
The championship course at Serengeti is the 18-hole Masai Mara, which has a rugged grassland and dune scape look and feel, whilst Whistling Thorn is a nine-hole layout, which features classic design elements and a plains-like feel. The Serengeti Golf Club is the first course in Gauteng to use cool season grasses, which results in the course remaining lush and green throughout the year. A variety of tee options combined with a careful consideration to daily set-up can provide the sternest of challenges for the most skilled players, but it’s also not too hard on the higher handicappers. There are a number of unique features – strategically-placed water hazards and bunkering – and all 27 holes provide a decent test. According to operations director and former professional, Ryan Reid, the Masai Mara course “is generous off the tee with risk-reward options, and rewards precision shot-making. Then the fun starts! To make birdies, you have to hit pinpoint iron shots within 10 feet, as there aren’t too many 20-foot putts made. You can’t just bomb it off the tee, lob it on the green, sink a 20-foot putt and shoot 63!” Harnessing the two golf courses is a multi-faceted clubhouse of over 6500 square metres. It incorporates a variety of facilities, including several lounges, bars, two restaurants and banqueting facilities, as well as a golf academy, fitment centre and pro shop.
The signature hole is the short but picturesque par-5 eighth hole on the Masai Mara course. It has a water hazard running down the right-hand side and is a rather challenging hole, despite being a fairly short par-5. The tee shot requires a well struck driver down the left-hand side, because the fairway slopes from left to right. For the long and brave, an accurate approach with a mid to long iron to an island green will set you up for a possible eagle. But, for the conservative among you, a similar club hit to just short of the water, will set up a fairly straightforward pitch to the green, although you have to make sure you get your distances spot-on.
Par – 72
Rating – 72 (club tees)
Length – 6246m (club tees)
Best Time to Play – All year round
Affiliated Visitor – R620 (includes cart & halfway)
Non-Affiliated Visitor – R800 (includes cart & halfway)
Cart Hire – R250
Club Hire – R550
Caddie – N/A
It’s a short drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport, but if you’re travelling from Johannesburg, then stay on the R21 highway and take the R25 Bronkhorstpruit off-ramp. Turn east (the same side as the airport), cross under the highway bridge and join the R25. About 900 metres from the highway, you will see a big white sign on your right that says “Serengeti Sales Office”. From there, follow the signs to the course.
1 Serengeti Boulevard, Witfontein Ext 37, Kempton Park, +27 11 5527200, serengeti.co.za