Royal Johannesburg and Kensington – West Course
The course graphics below are kindly provided by Pocket Caddi – the best distance Guide in South Africa
Club: 6294m (6883 yards)
Ladies: 5280m (5774 yards)
Championship: 6563m (7177 yards)
Yet another Course based in the Eastern parts of Johannesburg, the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club played host to the Sultans of Swing Golf Tour earlier this year. This club is made up of two championship golf courses, the East Course and the West Course. Home of the co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour and European Tour’s Joburg Open, this parklands course is one of the City of Johannesburg’s finest layouts and offers a truly special golfing experience.
The West Course, which hosted round 6 of the SOS Golf Tour, is ever so slightly easier than the East Course, but is a great challenge nonetheless. The layout at Royal could be described as very traditional golfing, with trees lining the fairways, bunkers in all the expected places and you will more than likely need to take every club out of the bag on this course. A golf course design textbook could be written about this set up. It is not extremely long, especially at altitude, but does play at just about handicap. The thinker will prosper on this layout and you will feel rewarded for your round here.
This is the course’s fearsome stroke 1. At well over 430m (470y) uphill, this hole will test your skills, power and patience with length and accuracy the name of the game on lucky number 7. Off the tee box, the hole seems relatively straight forward, but with water over the trees on the left, and out of bounds over the tress on the right, finding this well flanked fairway is priority number 1. A decent tee shot up the right of the fairway puts you in position A, as the left side of the fairway will mean you need to clear a huge tree and a tricky bunker in front of the green, just to be on the putting surface. Once you have made it onto the green, the fun really begins with a two tiered green that is unforgiving if you go short or long. Par is a bonus on this hole and the amateur would even be happy to walk away with a 5.
The Par 5 15th hole is not only beautiful, but it is a really fun and interesting hole too. It’s not often the easier holes on the course make it onto our featured holes list, but on the back nine of the West Course, the 15th is a standout hole. Although daunting off the tee box, the 15th is neither long, nor difficult, provided you can find the short grass off the tee. An errant tee shot to the left will find a nice big dam of water, and a stray tee shot to the right will leave you in the trees, but from the fairway, the green is reachable in two with a short iron for the bigger hitters and a medium iron for the slightly shorter hitters. If you are too far right (which often happens because of fear of the water), you will have another, smaller body of water to clear and some cleverly placed trees to clear as well. Par is a score you would be contempt with, and birdie is a real prospect for those who have a semblance of accuracy off the tee box.