Nestling snugly in a valley between the plush, elegant suburbs of Cyrildene and Observatory in uptown Johannesburg lies Observatory Golf Club. Established in 1914, this fine golf course with no known individual designer or architect, is largely the result of evolution and a succession of visionary greenkeepers and greens committees over the years and decades.
Avenues of narrow, tree-lined fairways make accuracy from the tee the golfers’ prime consideration when playing this pretty and picturesque layout. Though not overly long at lengths of 6428 metres from the championship tees and 6131 metres from the club tees, hit the fairways on Observatory’s ten beautifully shaped and sculpted par fours and you will be rewarded with the opportunity to hit medium to short irons from closely mown kikuyu turf into small, well guarded greens. Miss the target on the four lovely par threes and your short game will be severely tested and any score is a distinct possibility. The four par fives on this little gem can be reached in two solid blows but, as with all the other great holes on this fine golf course, straight hitting is of paramount importance. Its highly skilled and motivated greenkeeping staff maintain Observatory to the highest standards of excellence and the small, fast and undulating USGA Spec Bentgrass greens will reward good reading skills and a sound putting stroke with the sound of dropping putts.
The late, great Bobby Locke was honorary professional at the club for many years and played in what was known as the Thursday Club every week. He loved the venue dearly and regularly regaled members and visitors alike with stories of his many past triumphs, tribulations and travels around the globe with an uncanny recall. The small functional clubhouse with its friendly members and efficient staff is the ideal place to enjoy fine food and refreshments after your round and – if you think the course was a tough test – the Nineteenth Hole at Observatory is renowned for its length and difficulty!