Founded in 1892 – this timing makes Royal Durban Golf Club the third oldest of South Africa’s 4 ‘Royals’ and the club also has the unusual distinction of being the only golf course within a horse racing track on mainland Africa
The region’s most important race meet – the iconic Durban July and the horse racing activities in general has to no small extent helped to develop the golf course’s character.
While not a links course in the true sense, this is very much a seaside layout over slightly undulating terrain.
The look and playing characteristics have been very much influenced by there being no tall trees on the course. The lack of trees is directly the result of the need not to obscure the racetrack, so the course’s links-like feel owes much to its equine neighbours at Greyville!
From relatively humble beginnings the course and club really took off in the 1930’s with the design and construction of the clubhouse (the look of which remains much unchanged to this day) and the building of a new layout in 1932 by the renowned Bob Grimsdell, who had now become a fully qualified and almost full time course designer.
A regular stop for tournaments on the Sunshine Circuit in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, the course has hosted almost all of the region’s major events and championships including the SA Open, which is the World’s second oldest national championship after the Open Championship.
A combination of a bygone elegance and excellent facilities, the club’s friendly atmosphere make Royal Durban and its pub a perennial favourite with members, visitors and the ‘events’ crowd’.
Successful event management is a ‘tricky’ enterprise and this professionalism spills over into everything the club does, from its manicured golf course, welcoming clubhouse and beautiful setting in the heart of one of Africa’s largest cities.
The traveller has an immense variety of accommodation options to choose from with the 3, 4 and 5 star hotels and excellent B&B’s along the Durban beachfront up to the Berea, and then out north through the leafy suburbs to the ever popular Umhlanga Rocks.
No golfing trip to KZN will be complete without a game over Royal Durban, the city’s ‘Grande Dame’ of golf.
By Editor, John Cockayne
For more, view Destination Golf, Southern Africa & Indian Ocean online guide: https://destinationgolf.travel/dg-south-africa-2020/