State Mines Country Club
Men – 6350m
Ladies – 5319m
Championship – 6500m
Situated just about in the middle of nowhere on the far East Rand is the State Mines Country Club. They describe themselves as the hidden gem of the East Rand, and this Brakpan course is exactly that. This parkland’s layout is a par 72 and is one of the better conditioned courses I have played in sometime. Although not very tough, State Mines offers just enough to be challenging, without throwing too much at you to dishearten you during your round. The course should play under handicap, but is actually rated as a strong 72. Finding the fairway is the aim of the game on most courses, but none is more forgiving off the short grass than State Mines. There are parts of the course you should avoid, but a lie in the rough may not be the end of the world.
Fairway drives leave you nothing more than a short iron into the par 4s, even the low stroking ones and although some of the par 3s are very long, around 175m plus, the par 5s are by no means out of reach with 3 out of the 4 of them being a good driver; 4 iron in. The greens are pristine at State Mines and this course could very well be a championship course. When you take price versus play into account, State Mines is one of the best value for money outings you might ever have in or around the East Rand. The clubhouse is really great and the halfway house serves great food at a reasonable price when changing nines.
This short par 5 is by no means difficult, and most players would expect to make at worst a par, but what the hole lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in sheer design excellence. The hole has a moderately narrow fairway, guarded by a handful of trees on either side. A cleverly placed bunker protecting the right hand side of the fairway on the dogleg could pose a threat to some errant tee shots, but finding the fairway with your drive opens up the green for an approach in two. There is a well placed bunker left of the green, and the front is guarded by a small body of water, but using a mid iron into this par 5 green for your second should mean the water is of little concern. Laying up is not a horrible option, but having to use a pitching wedge or sand wedge so you don’t run into the water will feel like defeat. The low handicaps should expect birdie, the high handicaps should expect par. Bogey, regardless of handicap will feel like a massive disappointment.
One of the toughest holes on the course, the par 4 12th hole is both a technical and long hole, especially when playing it into the wind as we did on the day we visited. The hole is a par 4 dogleg left that is played slightly downhill. The downhill shape to the hole would create the illusion that it is short, but because of the narrow driving area and the well guarded green, this hole warrants its very low stroke difficulty. The left of fairway and the base of the dogleg are protected by a water hazard and a thick cluster of trees. The right hand side is well guarded and finding the fairway is important. Getting into the water off the tee box will guarantee a 6 on this hole as the near side of the water is a good 240m from the green The front of the green is guarded by a deep bunker that swallows up all misjudged approaches and makes walking away from this hole with a par a real achievement.