Wanderers Golf Club not only has a wonderfully warm club spirit, but a challenging golf course that is rated one of the best in Gauteng.
Wanderers are one of only three clubs in the country with a SubAir system below the greens that can flush heavy rain away in an instant. After all the recent rain this parkland course is a rich emerald green, and in splendid condition. With its magnificent variety of mature trees lining attractively-shaped fairways, and undulating terrain, it’s a delightful place to play golf.
It also has a wonderful history as a championship venue, having been the “home” of the PGA Championship for more than 20 years, from 1972 to 1995.
The Wanderers is not a brutal championship layout, but one that favours the shot makers. The holes demand finesse and accuracy rather than power, especially the ability to shape tee shots through narrow avenues of trees. There was always low scoring at the PGA, and the list of champions was a classy one. All the great South Africans of recent decades, with the notable exception of Nick Price, won titles there.
When you play the Wanderers, a striking aspect is the way in which the holes have been so elegantly squeezed into the property, which is not particularly big. No space has been wasted. Championship tees are tucked away in every corner. The original layout by Bob Grimsdell lost three of its opening holes when the Wanderers Cricket Stadium was built in the 1950s. The modernised stadium now towers over the par-five 10th hole, the longest on the course at 533 metres.
Situated in a prime locale, it is one of the most central courses in Gauteng, and home to an exceedingly friendly and social membership. Its popularity is evident in the fact that there are 1 200 very passionate members. The excellent club spirit is obvious in the number of special club competitions that take pride of place on a busy calendar, and the many Wanderers groups you will find touring other parts of the country. The Wanderers has long held a reputation of having a convivial 19th hole.
The par 71 Wanderers layout has an unusual routing, in that it has three par-3s on the back nine, just one on the front. The front nine, which opens with a hole that underwent a major change in the renovation process, being lengthened from a long par 4 into a 516-metre par 5, has seven par 4s. There are two strong par 4s on each nine where you need to bring out the driver. The 440m fifth, with a wider fairway than most, is currently being toughened with the addition of another fairway bunker. The seventh hole, at 441m, has changed slightly with the bunker on the right side of the fairway being removed and a dam replacing it, making this hole worthy of being Stroke 1 and a classic dogleg par four.