Randpark Golf Club (Firethorn course) – July 2016
Sometimes you strut out onto the golf course and you feel good, your swing feels comfortable, you are striking the ball well (at least most of the time), but the luck just doesn’t go your way. You want to lay up, but the ball just runs and runs and trickles into the fairway bunker or an approach shot pitches the green, almost stops but then falls off the back edge. Professionals will say this is poor course management (which is probably true), but for the Everyday Golfer this is just bad luck and really what golf is like for every mid to high handicap golfer.
This was how my day progressed during my round on Randpark’s Firethorn course. I have to mention which one I played one because they have 2 full championship courses, the other being their Bushwillow layout. Randpark Club has worked hard over the last few years on improving their overall member and customer experience and now it is really a 5 star facility. This also extends to the Fairway Hotel & Spa located on the same grounds which is a special treat to visit. From the imposing entrance as you arrive, you know you are going to have a great experience.
But I digress, back to the business end here –The Golf course. Playing in Johannesburg in the middle of winter you can’t expect superior conditions. But the course we played on was in really good nick. The regulation playing areas (tee-box, fairway and greens) were in great shape and so were the bunkers, where the sand was in good condition. I got close up and personal with far too many bunkers and they are top class.
I believe that the majority of the greens were completely redone when Firethorn was redesigned a couple of years ago. The Club have done a great job with the greens and they run very true and reward solid putting. They have carved some of the holes nicely into the curves of the river which traverses through the course, meaning that you really need to be accurate off the tee. My lack of accuracy sent 3 of my precious balls to golf ball heaven when I strayed (what I like to refer to as my “deliberate” Power Fade) slightly from the regulation path.
There are a few holes where you can get away with this but when is not hitting the ball straight a good idea?
After the round the Terrace Bar is fantastic. It overlooks the 18th green and has a wonderful atmosphere. The waiters are friendly and attentive and the food is delicious. The free wifi is a nice touch, which more golf clubs should consider. Overall you will struggle not to enjoy yourself when visiting Randpark. They certainly strive to give everyone a great experience although the cost of playing is a little dear, you are visiting one of the Premier venues in Johannesburg.
My scariest hole: Number 2 – par 5 – The tee shot is a nightmare
My favourite hole: Number 17 – par 3 – difficult hole but a great challenge.
Overall Experience rating by the Everyday Golfer: 9 out of 10.