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An illustrious history in golf

Officially, the club’s birthday is on July 1, but centenary celebrations included the unveiling in February of a statue to the club’s most illustrious member, Bobby Locke; commemoration on July 1 of the ‘first hit’ at a members’ golf day and a gala birthday dinner in September.

Celebrations to involve local residents include guided bird walks on the course, a heritage tour, a dog show, a star-gazing evening and tree plantings.

On that Saturday afternoon in July 1916, about 200 of the city’s sports enthusiasts and business dignitaries gathered in the largely undeveloped veld about 10km north of the young town to open the club officially at a site where Parkview Junior School stands today. A leading golfer of the time, CT Elliot, cracked the first ceremonial drive.

The man recognised as the original architect of Parkview golf course, Lawrie Waters had come to South Africa from Scotland in the 1890s for health reasons, at the time that golf was gaining popularity in a society enjoying a quality of life enhanced by the burgeoning Reef goldfields. Research suggests also that the Parkview layout was an attempt by Waters to recreate a links style course of his homeland.

The course remained unchanged until 1930, when the Transvaal Exploration Company (TEC) then expropriated the land used for the original two opening holes and the two closing holes. In return it provided the land where the current 12th to 15th holes are situated.

Parkview’s members banded together and bought the club from TEC and, in 1930, a new clubhouse was constructed. The members, however, were quickly unhappy with the facility and, within a year, the first renovation project was begun. More changes were made several times over the past 75 years, ending with the refurbished venue of 2006.

Parkview’s proud history emanates not least from the eminence of some of its members.

Among them was Bobby Locke, who joined the club in 1936 after winning both the SA Amateur and the SA Open at Parkview in 1935. Parkview became his adopted home, and he played at the club until his passing. The Memorial Bridge at the 13th hole keeps the memory of South Africa’s old maestro alive, and members and leading amateurs play an annual Bobby Locke Festival of Golf in his honour.

Springbok golfer Dave Symons joined the club in 1953, and was club champion on no fewer than 16 occasions, also winning one of the club’s four major competitions in five successive decades. He represented South Africa 15 times and won the SA Amateur in 1967.