Many golfers have heard about the mystical River Club Golf course, but few know that it actually exists. Hidden in the suburb of River Club in Sandton, many thousands of people commute everyday directly past the golf course without ever knowing that it is even there. It is an exclusive club where Everyday Golfers require an invite from a member to join them for a round, otherwise you don’t get in the front door. Its’ due to the Club’s exclusivity and the fact that so few golfers have actually had the opportunity to play a round here that the legends around The River Club have grown and flourished.
The River Club has a fairly small membership and this allows them to have a rather unique tee-off booking system. The uniqueness is that they don’t have tee-off times. As the course is never that busy, the understanding is that members can arrive at any time and walk onto the 1st tee and play (provided that someone else isn’t already there). Another difference is that halfway house comes after 11 holes and is part of the green fees a guest would pay.
In terms of the course itself, it is a little gem. As the Club have no desire to host professional tour events the course is laid out to be friendlier to us Everyday Golfers. The standout feature is the fantastically manicured course itself. As they do not have the volume of rounds on the course as most clubs do, the course was in magnificent condition. The fairways looked like carpets and the greens were a treat. The course does not play particularly long but the greens are its main defense, being both quick and with plenty of movement.
The Club’s facilities and amenities are understated but pure class. Again, its small membership doesn’t require vast facilities with the need for a large cloakroom, bar or function room. So while the clubhouse is modest in size it competently meets its members every whim. The cloakroom is excellent and the bar area is refined. You get that “Out of Africa” feeling when having a drink on the terrace after your round.
Obviously, getting to play a round at The River Club is not straight forward but if you do get the call one day, drop everything and get yourself out there, then you can tell your mates that you have played at mystical course, The River Club.
My favourite hole – Number 18 – par 4 – The last hole is a beautiful hole with the green being well protected by a water feature in front of it. The clubhouse terrace overlooks it and I could spend many hours in that spot.
My worst hole – Number 17 – par 3 – A huge tee shot over a long water carry makes hitting the green here a huge premium. When I played the tee shot was 190m with plenty of space behind us on the tee box.
Overall Experience rating by the Everyday Golfer: 9.5 out of 10.