Gary Player Design completes renovation of Soweto Country Club

  • Soweto

    Renovation work has been completed at Soweto Country Club

  • Soweto

    Gary Player Design undertook the project on a pro bono basis

  • Soweto

    The course is growing in and is expected to open in March

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Gary Player Design’s renovation of Soweto Country Club in Johannesburg, South Africa, is complete. The course is now in the final stages of grow-in, ahead of a scheduled reopening in March.

All tees, greens and bunkers have been reconstructed, two new holes have been introduced, and a new irrigation system from Hunter has been installed. Player’s firm designed the original course in 1972 and waived its design fee for the renovation project, which began in early 2018.

“We intentionally kept the overall character of the golf course intact, while also implementing some meaningful design improvements,” said Jeff Lawrence, vice president and senior designer at Gary Player Design. “All the green complexes were totally redesigned to capture more visual strength as well as improved strategy. Our approach was to keep the course very playable and maintainable while also allowing the course to be more challenging when hosting tournaments.

“We have introduced a couple of new holes to create a returning nine and increase the length of the golf course. It’s a great layout and we wanted to respect the original design as much as possible.

“New design features include green complexes, fairway bunkers and redesigned tees. There is a new water feature on the tenth, and a few holes have slightly changed to capture better strategy and visual awareness.

“The most drastic improvements are ones that no one will likely notice; new irrigation system, added drainage, well-constructed greens, tees and bunkers. Overall, a substantial improvement to the golf experience that will be enjoyed by the community and everyone that plays this historic course.

“It was a huge team effort with countless people involved to realise the transformation of Soweto CC. We cannot say enough about the fantastic support we have received. I know that Gary Player Design is very happy with the finished product and we look forward to the club reopening soon. We hope Soweto CC’s rebirth will help push the advancement of golf in South Africa to attract children and new players to this wonderful game.”

The course is scheduled to host the Joburg Open on the Sunshine Ladies Tour on 26-28 March.