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Randpark’s TATs Rave About Club’s Two Courses
GOLFERS love to have a drink and a chat after a round and it’s no different with Randpark’s TATs, which is an enthusiastic group of 50 active senior members – some of them long-standing, who play together every Tuesday and Thursday morning throughout the year. One of the latest topics was how we felt about Randpark. Now guys, let’s be objective – that was the brief. If there’s a criticism, let’s hear it.
Well, first up, everyone agreed that the courses are in superb condition. Actually, let’s take that up a notch. The over-riding view was that they are simply fantastic.
Jurie van der Nest, a birdie machine and a sub-70 man in his day who has stepped into the very capable spikemarks of Doug Millar as the TATs captain, was effusive in his praise: “I have been a member at Randpark since 1983, and quite honestly the courses in my view have never been in a better condition – and I have a very good memory! And we have the huge benefit of having two courses which are completely different to one another.
“With June not too far away and therefore going into winter, both courses are still lush and green, the fairways are now providing some run and the greens are terrific – smooth and very fast. The rough, although shorter, still grabs errant shots (rightly so) so that the not so good shots are still penalised.
“Current management has made a huge difference to the vibe at the club and has created a real family atmosphere. The food is always excellent, and the competitions are well run. Management also regularly invite and take heed of suggestions from members about a number of issues, which is another plus,” added Van der Nest who has broken 70 on both the club’s courses.
TATs chairman Brendan O’Connor has been a Randpark member for 40 years (his fellow golfers say he’s never missed a fairway in all that time!). He shoots straight and also talks straight: “I think the way the courses are set up is outstanding. When we had the SA Open it was different because the pros needed a far tougher test. But now the fairways are at a comfortable width and the rough not too long. You can get a seven-iron in there with not too much trouble.
This suits the majority of us and makes the game enjoyable. The fairways are pristine and the greens run so true. I can’t think of any negatives. The courses are first class. And, the golf aside, the view over Firethorn from the balcony outside the upstairs bar – well, you can’t believe how good it is. We are really privileged to have such a facility.”
Dave Blain, a Scot like Doug Millar, recently turned 74 and has been playing golf for close on 60 years (he was once down to a two handicap and still is pretty competitive), had this to say: “At Randpark we’re so used to the high standard that sometimes we take it for granted.
Some of us go and play other courses, and we invariably come away feeling that while we may have enjoyed the experience, it can’t compare to Randpark. The conditioning is superb. I really feel our club is right up there with some of South Africa’s top golf resorts, where they have the advantage of being able to plough loads of money into the courses. I honestly think the only thing we can complain about is the way we play!”
Vic Hurford, relatively new at Randpark after being a member of another Gauteng club for 23 years, is enjoying his new environment: “I think you have to be impressed with the way the club is professionally run. I love the way the staff greet you with a smile. The courses are magnificent and if you’re a visitor to Johannesburg, put Randpark on top of your list as a place to come and have a round.”
Jeremy Campion, Randpark’s renowned golf photographer who has attended 27 British Opens and captured images of all the game’s stars, is impressed by the bunkering on both Firethorn and Bushwillow. “The way I see it, there’s not a bunker out of place off any tee. A lot of clubs have become out of date with their bunkering, but Randpark is spot-on, and the conditioning on both courses is pristine. Also, Bushwillow must have some of the best dog-leg par-4s in South Africa, especially with those big trees on the corners of the dog-legs making for exciting shotmaking, It’s a real adventure out there.”
Personally, I’ve also had the privilege of seeing some of the world’s top courses as a long-time golf writer and I can only agree that Randpark these days is right up there with the best of the best. And just a little observation: As TATs, we sometimes are allowed preferred lies (within a card length) in place in our Thursday morning competitions, but it actually doesn’t help you. The grass on the fairways is so finely manicured and so even that you always get a good lie! You can’t improve it.
In conclusion, as far as the courses go, Roger Innes and his greenkeeping staff need to take a well-deserved bow. No complaints, just loads of compliments from us TATs. Thanks guys, you’re doing us mighty proud.
By Randpark member Grant Winter.