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The Randpark Blog will keep you up to date with what is happening.


by | May 8, 2015

Johannesburg – 13 March 2015

The radical transformation of Randpark’s renowned Firethorn course, which has hosted two South African Opens and many other tournaments, is complete!

The New Firethorn golf couse at Randpark
There are seven brand new holes, 18 new greens and greens complexes moulded into shape by internationally acclaimed course shaper Alex Ligowski, major changes to the bunkering have been undertaken, the river that runs through the course has been cleaned up and refurbished, and alien vegetation removed to the point where Firethorn is an eco-friendly ‘green lung’.

“Essentially, the old Firethorn needed a facelift, the course features were dated and greens and bunkers were more than 20 years old,” says course designer Sean Quinn.

“Many of the greens were unnaturally perched, which was the style in the 1980s and early 1990s. The high sand bunkers although impressive, were extremely problematic to maintain, particularly during the stormy summer months.

“The river flowing though the property was a massive engineering nightmare, it continually eroded and was completely overgrown with alien trees to the extent is was not visible in many places other than the opening and finishing holes.

“The old par-3 second hole was a problem from an erosion perspective. The retaining wall that held up the green had been rebuilt at huge cost and was continuing to fail. We decided the hole should be eliminated entirely. There were numerous cross-overs which we tried to eliminate, but after about 12 alternate layout proposals the late Doug Bain and I decided on the current configuration.”

Randpark’s director of golf Mellete Hendrikse feels two of the best holes are the new par-5 second, with the river running alongside the entire length of the hole, and the par-4 sixth which has a distinctly US Open course look about it.

“I would agree with Mellete as No 2 and No 6 were good changes,” says Quinn. “The new No 2 (the old par-4 third hole) was always a low stroke hole, but in my opinion unfair. Strong players could carry the corner which was essentially the overgrown river bank, whilst weaker players had to play the full length of the dogleg resulting in a stroke imbalance.”

“By clearing out the river and pushing the tees back we made this into a par 5, where the stronger players will no longer gain the same advantage over the weaker players by cutting the corner to the same extent. Also, opening up the river-scape, removing the wall and lowering the bridge has made for one of the more picturesque holes on the course.”

“This river has some magnificent rock outcrops that were completely hidden by years of alien vegetation growth. The old course made very poor use of the river in terms of strategy, and we now have eight holes that relate to the river in some form.”

Quinn is most excited about the front nine changes to holes 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. “Essentially we reversed 6, 7 and 8, and I believe all three are better holes now. The par-3 at No 2 has been replaced with a new par-3 at No 5. We removed the artificial ponds at the short 7th, reversed the hole and now make use of the river as the water hazard. The 9thhole, we lowered the green, opened up the right side of the fairway, added better bunker strategy, and made this a very exciting short par-4 with many options on how to play it.”

Quinn believes it will prove a very user friendly course, as long as the correct tees are used for the level of play. Many of the old fairway bunkers designed back in the early 1990s were too much in play for shorter players and way out of play for the longer players. So the Golf Data team moved the fairway bunker strategy out about 15-20 metres on average, in a bid to make the course fairer.

“A priority throughout the design and construction process was to provide players with options on every hole,” says Quinn. “It’s very much a risk/reward design philosophy, and entirely feasible for players to steer away from trouble; but to score well, one must take on an element of risk. We have tried to limit forced carries from the forward tees.

The large greens have some interesting contours but nothing too dramatic, and there are numerous bail out areas around the greens. We have strived to open the course up visually, and have lowered greens to make the putting surfaces more visible.”

Firethorn greens
Firethorn’s old par-5 18th hole has been transformed into a long par-4, a tough hole that will make for a demanding finish to the round. It is stroke one on the card.

Quinn has been a Jack Nicklaus designer since 2004, but held a dual design role with Golf Data until the end of 2013. He is now fulltime with Nicklaus. In South Africa, on behalf of the Golden Bear, he has designed St Francis Links, Serengeti, Houghton and more recently Steyn City. Overseas he was involved with the Australian Golf Club which hosted last year’s Australian Open.

For Golf Data, amongst numerous other courses, he has redesigned Parkview, Country Club Johannesburg (Woodmead and Rocklands), Durban CC, Glendower, Humewood and a few others.

Three years ago he was also involved with the re-design of Randpark’s other course, Bushwillow (the old Windsor), which has been an unqualified success.

On behalf of Nicklaus, he is currently busy with 14 projects in Asia all at various stages of design and construction, and he commutes regularly to China, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Although the course revamp is complete, Randpark experienced the worst flood in living memory just last month after a deluge of rain in a short space of time. Bridges on the course were washed away and damage was extensive. A clean-up project will take a while to complete, according to project manager Tom Buckle. “You know,” he said, “the very day before the flood I said to myself that we had finally finished and all was well. Then we got the rainstorm and the massive damage and I felt like I was a tractor with a flat tyre. We’ll get it right, though, and fortunately the course itself is fine.

“I just wish Doug (Randpark’s CEO Doug Bain who succumbed to cancer late last year aged just 42) was still with us. The transformation of Firethorn was his dream and his passion. He was the driving force behind this project and he must take much of the credit for the success it has become.”

(Men’s club tees)
No 1, 372m, par-4
No 2, 476m, par-5
No 3, 368m, par-4
No 4, 490m, par-5
No 5, 158m, par-3
No 6, 344m, par-4
No 7, 380m, par-4
No 8, 170m, par-3
No 9, 318m, par-4
Out: 3076m, par-36
No 10, 394m, par-4
No 11, 380m, par-4
No 12, 494m, par-5
No 13, 376m, par-4
No 14, 488m, par-5
No 15, 164m, par-3
No 16, 412m, par-4
No 17, 192m, par-3
No 18, 445m, par-4
In: 3346m, par-36
Total: 6422m, par-72

The multi-award-winning Randpark Golf Club and Fairway Hotel & Golf Resort offers extensive facilities and services with a resort feel in the heart of Johannesburg. This ultimate urban golf destination is on par with excellence offering extensive play and stay packages to business travellers, golf groups and leisure guests who choose to experience a taste of the good life.

With two uniquely different golf courses, The Brewery overlooking the two tiered Driving Range serving trendy craft beer and gourmet burgers, a fine dining Restaurant in the form of the Balata Restaurant and luxury accommodation at the award winning Fairway Hotel and Spa it’s one of the most desired golf destination in Gauteng.

Following the highly successful and well received renovation to the Bushwillow Golf Course, the much anticipated renovation project on the Firethorn Golf Course started on the 01st June 2014.

The Fairway Hotel & Golf Resort is situated on the Firethorn Golf Course, 2km from Cresta Shopping Centre in Johannesburg, this new, slick city hotel provides the ultimate destination for golf tournaments, wedding, conference and leisure guest in a safe and tranquil environment. The R140 million 5-star development overlooks the famous Firethorn Course and is situated just north east of the clubhouse, on the 1st hole.

The Fairway has 62 hotel rooms and 14 double storey Golf Villas, each with 4 en-suite rooms. The hotel rooms include 35 luxury rooms, 16 premier rooms, 1 paraplegic room, 2 Suites and 8 family rooms. Gym, tennis court and spa facilities further add to the enjoyment and comfort of guests during their stay.

The 8, 200m² hotel comprises a multi-volume foyer and private internal pool courtyard, a conference centre, boardrooms, breakaway rooms, lounge and deck with stunning views. Brides can look forward to a magnificent chapel and the Windsor Ballroom for hosting their function. Predicted to be the meeting venue in Johannesburg, Bar Verve is set to become renowned for after work cocktails which may well extend into unparalleled late night Fine Dining in Balata Restaurant.

Contact Randpark Golf Club for more information about facilities, membership, event venues, The Brewery and Creek 9 mashie course.


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From the Blog

Ex-Club President Koos Loots (79) shoots his age

Ex-Club President Koos Loots (79) shoots his age

Most would agree that holes 10-18 on Firethorn is the harder of the course’s two nines but sweet-swinging 79-year-old Koos Loots had no trouble touring the tough inward loop in just 37 strokes in the club’s Senior Competition on Tuesday morning …

Golf Terms & Conditions

1. The Club reserves the right to impose a cancellation fee of up to R250 for any tee-times booked in peak times (as determined by the club) which are cancelled within 24 hours regardless of whether that actual member made the booking and /or cancellation.

2. The Club reserves the right to impose a no-show fee of up to R500 for any tee-times booked in peak times (as determined by the club) where the member failed to show up regardless of whether that actual member made the booking and /or cancellation.

3. Golf specific disclaimer: When entering the Club’s premises, the member is fully aware and understands the risk and hazards inherent to the golf environment which includes but is not limited to the risk of being struck by flying golf balls and lightning strikes. In the case of the latter, the member further acknowledges that the shelters provided on the golf course are rain shelters only and are not lightning proof and the club accepts no responsibility in respect of death or injury of persons or destruction or damage to property as a result of any lightning strike whether it occurs at or near a rain shelter or at any other place. All persons using any such rain shelters or any other shelter on the property do so entirely at their own risk. It is to be noted that whilst the Club makes use of an automated lightning detection system, the Club makes no warranties and accepts no responsibility with respect to either the reliability or accuracy of the equipment. It is further noted that a member always has the right to stop play if he/she deems any condition, including lightning, to be a danger to his or her personal safety.

4. A member is not entitled to a refund of golf fees in the event a competition or round is cancelled due to weather.

5. The notional base number of rounds for a CLUB10 and CLUB20 playing cards is 10 & 20 respectively regardless of any reference to an unlimited playing card. When these golf round thresholds have been completed the cost of the playing cards has been consumed. The rounds cannot be carried over to the following financial year, and thus lapse on 31 March.

6. Unlimited golf is subject to booking restrictions as per the specific membership category. The rounds cannot be carried over to the following financial year, and thus lapse on 31 March.

7. Graduates may book for a Sunday PM two weeks in advance via the booking ladies and 11 days in advance on the online platform. Bookings for the weekend will open on a Thursday (2 days before) at 06:00 am. We will introduce a graduate booking sheet which will allow graduates to add their names for a slot which the booking ladies will fill closer to the weekend. Saturday morning games will be charged at R500.00 – all other periods include the Unlimited ticket.

Membership Terms & Conditions

1. Upon the club receiving this application form, signed terms and conditions, letter of good standing from previous club and credit check approval, an invoice will be sent and membership will only become active upon full upfront payment of all applicable fees and/or signature of a debit order arrangement and payment of first instalment. If a debit order arrangement is signed, the first instalment of membership is payable via EFT, there after the debit order arrangement will take effect.

2. Membership at Randpark is subject to approval by committee. A probation period of 3 months will apply to all new applicants. In this time Randpark reserves the right to refund unsuccessful applicants.

3. Family Membership is subject to membership of principal member.

4. Club membership would without interruption continue year on year but is subject to the payment of an annual fee as determined by the club.

5. The membership may be terminated by the member giving the club twenty business days’ notice in writing of his/her intention to do so.

6. The Club reserves the right to impose a 10% cancellation fee on a member who elects to cancel his/her membership during a financial year; however, no cancellation fee will be charged if a member gives notice not to renew his/her membership at the end of the club’s financial year.

7. There is a 3 month "cool off" period applicable if a member elects to cancel his/her membership. If a member reinstates his membership within this period the Club reserves the right to charge an entrance fee.

8. The Club may cancel a member’s membership if the member is in material breach of his/her obligation to pay annual subscription fees and the Club has given the member twenty business days’ notice in writing to remedy this breach and the member fails to do so.

9. The Club may suspend a member that is in default on his membership fees paid on debit order if that debit order is not successful. The Club will inform the member of this and the member has 3 business days to rectify his/her account. If the 3 business days lapse without any payment of outstanding amount the club reserves the right to suspend the member.  Membership will only be reinstated upon receipt of amount in arrears. If a member has 3 consecutive failed debit orders without arrears being paid up, the Club may cancel his/her membership given twenty business days' notice in writing to remedy this breach and the member fails to do so. When a member is suspended he is not deemed to be a member.

10. Any levies e.g. Capital Development Fund or special fees payable on an annual basis or as lump sum for a period are non-refundable and not related to usage of the Club.

11. By either Party submitting any personal information to the other, the disclosing Party unconditionally and voluntarily, consents to the processing of the submitted personal information for the following purposes; Invoice, Debit Order, Statement, Newsletter, SMS, WhatsApp, Randpark App.
For more information on how the club uses your personal information please see our Privacy Policy (https://bit.ly/3N7TDYj) on our website.

12. The Applicant hereby agrees and consents to the Applicant’s personal information being processed by, or on behalf of the Club for the purposes set out herein.

13. It is understood by the member that it is necessary for the Club to communicate with its membership from time to time and that by signing these terms and conditions a member gives the club his/her express permission for the Club to communicate with him /her via any means of Club communication unless he/she has informed the Club in writing that they do not wish to receive such or all communication. As mentioned in Section 69 of the POPI Act.

14. By signature hereto, the member expressly acknowledges he has read, and understands, the following disclaimers from the Club Constitution and the Club Bye-Laws.

15. General disclaimer: Randpark Club does not accept liability or responsibility whatsoever in respect of death or injury of person or destroying or damage to property or loss of any nature, whether arising from negligence or any other cause including lightning, which is suffered by any member or any person who enters the club premises and/or uses the golf course or any other amenities or facilities provided. Members and other users of the Club facilities use the facilities at their own risk and are advised to insure themselves for loss and injuries they may suffer and for claims against themselves.

16. A member is not entitled to a refund of golf fees in the event a competition or round is cancelled due to weather.

17. Vouchers which may be given to a member upon joining are given on a complimentary basis and do not form part of the subscription.