Benoni CC

Founded as Van Ryn Golf Club in 1906, like most clubs on the East Rand, Benoni Country Club came into existence due to the discovery of gold, and it was originally a facility established for the employees of the Van Ryn mine.

This club’s history predates most of the golfing facilities in the greater Johannesburg area and, although it began its life as a nine-holer, no time was wasted in extending the layout to 18 holes. Even before golf had taken root at the likes of ERPM, Crown Mines, CMR, Houghton, Observatory, Modderfontein and State Mines, the golf club at Benoni was up and running and it has shown no sign of slowing down since.

It is unfortunate that records of the club’s earliest history have been lost, and it is not known who actually laid out the original course, but whoever it was certainly knew what they were doing. Various changes have been made over the years, at one point Bob Grimsdell had a hand in a revamp, and later the greens and bunkers were modernised by Rob O’Friel. The basic character of the course still remains ‘old-school parkland’ – rather flat and well wooded, but set up for championship play, the layout has stood the test of time.

Most pleasing is the strong country character of the course, which may be surrounded by suburbia, but is in no way cramped, and sensible routing has allowed for the holes to be well separated. There was certainly no shortage of land in this area when the course was first laid out, and fortunately the original designers made good use of it.

The club decided to introduce wildlife to the course and, although one could question the wisdom of this, there is something rather special about seeing springbok and blesbok strolling about the place. With a strong tennis, bowls and squash section, this is indeed a ‘proper’ country club.

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