Situated just off Corlett Drive in the beautiful northern Johannesburg suburb of Illovo, lies one of the finest parkland golf courses in the Southern Hemisphere. Established in 1937 and opened in 1939, it wasn’t until 1942 that the eighteen holes that make Wanderers Golf Club the fantastic test of golf it is today were finally completed. Yet another stunning Robert Grimsdell design, construction was assigned to one of the clubs’ early members, Felix Oliver, a fine golfer who at that time played his golf across town at Royal Johannesburg.
At a length of 6548 metres from the championship tees, Wanderers offers a tough but fair challenge to golfers of all levels. The more user friendly 6194 metres off the club tees gives players the chance to hit medium to short irons into well guarded greens on the ten wonderful par fours on display at this fine venue. The four pretty par threes require good striking and accuracy to avoid the heavy bunkering which surround fairly small targets. Depending on the golfers’ ability, the three par fives can be reached with two solid strikes, but a safer three-shot route can still offer up the chance of a single putt birdie or (hopefully) a simple par. The world famous Wanderers cricket ground lies adjacent to the par five tenth hole, but it would have to be the greatest Test Match ever played to take the golfers’ mind off this beautiful and impressive tree-lined golf course! The medium to large USGA Spec Bentgrass greens are fast and undulating and require excellent reading skills and a smooth putting stroke.
A huge and abundant variety of birdlife inhabit the course during the seasons and these, along with a profusion of indigenous trees, shrubs, exotic plantlife and all kinds of wild flowers, create a myriad of colours which will make your trip around this most wonderful of layouts an extremely pleasing and memorable experience.
Once home to South African PGA Championship, Wanderers very rarely threw up a surprise winner, as a quick glance at some of the past title holders will verify – Gary Player, Ernie Els, Dale Hayes and Tienie Britz (the only player to successfully defend the title) – to name but a few! Some stars from overseas also got their names inscribed on the trophy, with Tom Weiskopf, Hale Irwin and Corey Pavin being the most notable.
The large, comfortable clubhouse has full bar, restaurant and conference facilities and is serviced by a skilled, highly efficient staff who create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for a relaxed and enjoyable nineteenth hole, overlooking the stunning vista provided by the opening and closing holes of Wanderers Golf Club!