Mooinooi Golf Club

The course opened in 1974 and was originally known as the Westplats Golf Club. The 9-hole course layout was done by a Mr Magielse, who was in charge of the Turf Grass Research Station of the Witwatersrand University near Alexandria, Johannesburg, in collaboration with John Pitchers. Pitchers was in his early 60sand ran the Rock Drill Workshop at Western Platinum Mine and being a keen golfer was asked to build the course by the General Manager, Andrew Saffy.

The course was open to mine employees only with visitors being permitted to play by invitation of the General Manager. This rule was later rescinded with membership being open to all.

Pitchers was a remarkable old man. His right leg was amputated just above his knee when he was in his early 20after the jacks of a motor vehicle he was working under collapsed with the vehicle falling on him and crushing his leg. He had a false leg for 40 odd years and still played off a 16 handicap. Quite an achievement, considering there were no golf carts available in those years. (There is a sketch of him in the bar area of the clubhouse).

Western Platinum Mine, with the escalation of platinum prices, started expanding with Eastern Platinum Mine opening and Karee Mine being purchased from Impala Platinum. Management decided to change the name of the club, as it was no longer representative of the Lonrho Mines, to Mooinooi Golf Club in 1988. (Most of the Lonrho employees resided in Mooinooi).

The original greens were planted with cynodon grass (schaap-plaas) and in 2001 Mine Management wanted to expand the course to 18 holes, but were unsuccessful in negotiating the purchase of land adjacent to the course and then decided to rebuild the greens and to plant them with bent grass. Rebuilding started in April 2001 and the new greens were opened for play a few weeks before the start of the Platinum Classic on 6th November 2001.

Hole1: Par 5, 490 metres
A relatively short par-five with a dogleg left. A straight drive to the corner of the dogleg required with both left and right guarded by trees. Anything short of the corner can result in a difficult shot to the green as there is a large, dense karee tree on the left corner. The ideal position will leave you with a mid-iron to the green, which is sloped from the back to the front with bunkers left and right of the green. Alternatively the long-hitters can take the tiger- line over the trees to the left of the fairway, but a poorly directed drive could result in one landing behind and under a tree. (Not recommended if the rough is long)

Hole 10: Par 4, 421 Metres
The same hole played from the forward tees, but now played as a par-four. The long- hitters can fly the trees on the corner of the dogleg and have a short iron approach to the green.

Hole 2: Par 4, 319 metres
A straightforward par-four with a slight dogleg right, which can be reached with a long straight drive. There are two fairway bunkers midway to the green, which catch the long handicap golfers and two bunkers on the right side of the green and one on the left of the green. Both sides of the fairway are guarded by some very large trees. An accurate, controlled drive is required as the long drive can end in one of the bunkers or overrun the green. The average player hitting a straight drive down the fairway will have a short iron approach to the green. The green has a small plateau tucked behind the bunkers at the right back of the green, requiring an accurate chip to this position. A well placed second shot can lead to a certain birdie.

Hole 11: Par 4, 320 metres
A very similar par four with the tee slightly more to the right of Hole 2’s tee.

Hole 3: Par 4, 404 metres
One of the more difficult par-four holes, with a long narrow fairway with a dogleg right and guarded on both sides by dense trees. The green cannot be seen from the tee as the fairway slopes down to it midway to the green. Two fairway bunkers, one left and one right will catch the long handicap players, if offline. Long hitters will have a low to medium iron into the green, if the drive is straight, but any stray drive landing amongst the trees can be costly.

The green is bordered by a large mound on the left, which also runs around the back of the green and has two bunkers left and one at the back to catch any ball running through the green. A small mound at the right of the green can either deflect the ball onto the green or away from the green. The green has two tiers, the back tier being fairly level and the front tier sloping to the front of the green.

Hole 12: Par 4, 362 metres
An easier straight par 4, played from an alternate forward tee. A much easier hole, but a straight drive is still essential, as anything off line will be penalised.

Hole 4: Par 3, 138 metres
A relatively short par 3, with a stroke average of 3,4 for the pro golfers, as per records from the Platinum Classic. The tee, reached via a bridge over a small stream, can vary in length by 20 metres. The green is guarded by two bunkers, one on the left and the other on the right and the front of the green by the stream. Any wayward shot, left or right will be costly as the left has a number of large trees with thick rough beneath them and the right can be extremely soggy if the area has been flooded after rain. The green slopes all the way from the back to the front of the green.

Hole 13: Par 3, 138 metres
The above hole with the tee markers placed left or right and forward of the first round’s markers.

Hole 5: Par 4, 434 metres
Definitely the most difficult hole on the course. A long par-four, which can be played from alternate tees, with a dogleg to the left and guarded by dense trees along the side. The first tee (419 m) is played over a small pond and tallish trees about forty metres forward of the pond. The alternate tee (434 m) is played straight down the fairway and has a large tree on the forward edge of this tee and other trees to the right of the tee along the right side of the fairway. The ball can carry a long distance if played along the right side of the fairway and invariably finishes in the rough. The rough is usually on the short side and with a good lie the green can be reached with a medium to long iron. The green is sloped from the back to the front of the green. Any put from above the hole must be played very delicately as a speed of 15 feet on the stimpmeter is the norm.

Hole 14: Par 5, 487 metres
This par-five, played to the same green as the above par-four, like most of the par-fives at Mooinooi is relatively easy for the long hitters. The tee has been extended by 30 metres and will now be a more challenging hole played from the back tee position and especially for the older and long handicap players. A misdirected drive can ricochet off the trees and end in the small pond in front of the par-four tee or finish amongst the dense trees along the left side of the fairway.

Hole 6: Par 3, 146 metres
A slightly longer par-three guarded by a tiered pond on the left of the green, a pot bunker to the front right of the green and a second bunker placed further back on the right of the green. The green is fairly level from the middle to the back and has a slightly downward slope from the middle to the front of the green. This hole also has an above stroke allocation for the pro golfers and can be played 20 m longer from the back tee position.

Hole 15: Par 3, 145 metres
The same hole played from the front tee positions. The markers can be placed left or right on the tee.

Hole 7: Par 4, 404 metres
A straight par-four with a fairway that narrows from the right, short of halfway to the green and with two tall Norfolk pine trees, which can catch the slightly misdirected drive. There is a bunker halfway to the green and just off the fairway on the left. There are a number of trees both large and smallish guarding the left side of the fairway. The green has three tiers, one at the left back and one at the right back and the third at the front half of the green.

The green has a bunker on the left of the green, two on the right (midway and to rear of green) and a fourth at the back adjacent to the two on the right. The green is reachable with a short iron following a good drive down the centre. Another hole which can lead to a birdie.

Hole 16: Par 406 metres
The same hole played from the alternate tee, which is 15 metres to the left of the above tee.

Hole 8: Par 5, 450 metres
One of the easier par-five holes on the course with a dogleg to the left and out of bounds both left and right of the fairway. (Boundary fence with houses on right and No. 9 fairway on the left). The rough, both left and right, is guarded by trees all the way to the green. The corner of the dogleg, just short of halfway to the green, is guarded by a large coral tree. The long hitters can take the tiger line and fly the trees at the dogleg, leaving a medium iron into the green.

The green is guarded by two large bunkers left and right and there is a medium to large karee tree between the green and the bunker on the right. The green has a plateau along the back section of the green, which then slopes to the front of the green. A well placed second shot should lead to an almost certain birdie, but beware of a downhill put as the green is fairly fast.

Hole 17: Par 5, 448 metres
The above hole played from an alternate tee about 20 metres to the right of No. 9’s tee. The drive cuts across the right hand corner of the fairway to the corner of the dogleg. Once again the long hitters have an almost certain chance of a birdie with a well directed medium iron into the green.

Hole 9: Par 4, 405 metres
A difficult hole to finish the nine. A tight par-four with a dogleg to the right guarded by trees both right and left. There is a dense collection of trees at the right corner of the dogleg, which will punish a blocked drive. A well positioned drive is required, as a too long drive will overrun the dogleg and finish amongst the trees on the left. The green slopes slightly forward and has slight undulations, and is guarded by bunkers left and right at the throat of the green. The green has a number of large trees around the sides and back of the green. Putting on this green, due to the undulations, can be quite tricky.

Hole 18: par 4, 404 metres
Played from the same tee as the 9th hole. The tee has been doubled in size, giving a lot more variation in placing of tee markers. The tee markers for the second round will invariably be placed at the left side of the tee requiring a drive over trees to the centre of the fairway. Most drives will now tend to the right side of the fairway and the chances of overrunning the dogleg are greater now. A birdie is never a certainty on this good finishing hole.

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