Founded as Van Ryn Golf Club in 1906, like most clubs on the East Rand, Benoni Country Club came into existence due to the discovery of gold, and it was originally a facility established for the employees of the Van Ryn mine. This club’s history predates most of the golfing facilities in the greater Johannesburg area and, although it began its life as a nine-holer, no time was wasted in extending the layout to 18 holes. Even before golf had taken root at the likes of ERPM, Crown Mines, CMR, Houghton, Observatory, Modderfontein and State Mines, the golf club at Benoni was up and running and it has shown no sign of slowing down since. It is unfortunate that records of the club’s earliest history have been lost, and it is not known who actually laid out the original course, but whoever it was certainly knew what they were doing. Various changes have been made over the years, at one point Bob Grimsdell had a hand in a revamp, and later the greens complexes and bunkers were modernised by Rob O’Friel. The basic character of the course still remains ‘old-school parkland’ – rather flat and well wooded, but set up for championship play, the layout has stood the test of time. Most pleasing is the strong country character of the course, which may be surrounded by suburbia, but it is no way cramped, and sensible routing has allowed for the holes to be well separated. There was certainly no shortage of land in this area when the course was first laid out, and fortunately the original designers made good use of it. Unfortunately, the management of the mine, with the best of intentions at the time, planted a forest of gum trees,presumably believing that they could add character to their new course and have a stock of valuable wood on hand to shore up their subterranean tunnels. The course has lived with these thirsty aliens ever since, and quite recently it was discovered that the roots had travelled under some of the greens causing something of a headache. The suburb of Benoni has produced an impressive list of sportsmen and women over the years, and besides being the birthplace of Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, the city has also been home to two world champion boxers (Vic Toweel, South Africa’s firsthand later Brian Mitchell). The great wicketkeeper/batsman Dennis Lindsay came from Benoni, as did many renowned soccer players and athletic stars, and of course a long list of great golfers played their golf here – many of whom called Benoni Country Club home.
Take the N12 towards Witbank. Pass the Boksburg Hypermarket and the Benoni Lake on your right. Take the Snake Road off-ramp and turn left at the traffic light. Take first right into Morris Avenue at the traffic light. Continue for approximately 1km along Morris Avenue and you will find the course on your left.