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Serengeti Golf Club, Johannesburg

Located just outside Johannebsurg is the new Jack Nicklaus-designed Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate. It offers a challenging but fair test whatever your handicap, and welcomes overseas visitors on golfing holidays in South Africa. The course is situated in the north east of the city, just 10km from the centre and in easy reach of the hotels and airport.

There are two layouts at Serengeti—an 18-hole course named the Masai Mara, which has a rugged grassland and dunescape look and feel, and a 9-hole course named the Whistling Thorn.

Serengeti is the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Course to open in Gauteng and the first full-scale cool-season grass golf course in the province. Cool-season grasses are evergreen, creating a lush and finely manicured playing surface all year round. 5

Named after the game reserve in Kenya, the Masai Mara course at the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened for business in 2009. The Masia Mara championship layout has subsequently hosted two South African Open Tournaments, placing it firmly on the golfing map. The layout of the course has been designed with tournament play in mind, maximizing the space for spectators.

Wide open fairways mimic the open grassland and plains of the Serengeti, after which it is named. The prolific, distressed bunkering combine with large multi-tiered greens, that are reminiscent of the St Francis Links course. (Also designed by the Golden Bear.) From the back tee this is a monster course of 7761 yards.

The signature hole is the 8th tee, a short par 5 with an island green waiting for you at the end. It is tempting for the bigger hitters to take it on but the rest of us will need to lay up, to be sure of a solid landing. Water runs all the way along the right hand side of the fairway testing anyone that reaches for a driver off the tee.

The par 3 15th is over a large lake, inviting you to take on the flag. The green is narrow and undulating but most players should be able to reach it with a mid iron. From the Men’s tees it is a mere 148 yards and from the ladies 107yds. For those of a nervous disposition there is a safer, bail out area to the right of the green, from which you can chip on.

The par 5 16th hole is the longest on the course off the men’s tees and can be intimidating for the average club player.Straight off the tee box is a long carry over water and water all the way on the left. The far left hand bunkers give you the ideal line, so long as you can clear the hazard.  Big hitters can go for the green in 2 but it  is protected with water short and left and a few pot bunkers. Intelligent players will take this green on in three shots.  Leave your second shot short of the water, in front of the bunkers and a short iron will always set you up for a comfortable, safe chip to the pin.

In our opinion: The course still feels quite new and in need of maturing. The staff and members are very welcoming and happy to receive visiting golfers from overseas anyday of the week.It is ideal for anyone that finds themselves in Johannesburg with a day spare before their onwards flight.

For more information about playing at Serengeti, and golf holidays in South Africa, call our experts on +44 208 249 5919 or +65 919 412 56. To you can contact us by email, here.


British Lions, British Lions Rugby, South African Golfing Holidays, Golf Africa

South Africa Golf Holidays, Serengeti Course Information:
Par: 72
Type: Parklands
Mens Tees (Club): 6246m
Women's Tees: 5001m

Serengeti Facilities:

  • carts
  • trolleys
  • putting green
  • driving range
  • chipping area