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General Information

Just west of Johannesburg, set in an attractive bushveld setting, with Springbuck, Blesbuck, Impala, two Zebras, monkeys wandering the course, lies Goldfields West golf club. A real oasis in a lush and verdant valley with unique old-fashioned greens with severe nap in the summer months from the local grass that has to be taken into account when putting.

Facilities include a eighteen hole golf course, full bar, ladies bar, smokers patio, kitchen, function hall (for weddings, 21st birthdays, year-end or any function), lounge, DSTV with a flat 42" plasma screen for sport, braai area, practice putting green, driving range, separate changing rooms for men and women.

History

The Goldfields West Golf Course is situated 75 km west of Johannesburg and 10 km from Carletonville just off the R29 road. It lies on the farm Driefontein in a portion of the Wonderfontein valley. The original clubhouse was once a stopover hostelry for weary travellers on their way from the diamond fields of Kimberley to the gold fields of Johannesburg. (Photographs in the ladies bar are of the Zeederburg coach that may have passed this way). Little did they know that some 2000 metres below their feet lay the richest gold reefs that the world would ever see. These reefs are now mined by Driefontein Gold Mine, a division of Driefontein Consolidated which in turn is managed by Goldfields of South Africa Limited.

In 1911 the farm was bought by John Spranger Harrison and original Rand pioneer after whom Harrison Street in Johannesburg is named. Rock samples were taken and he was informed of the gold laying below. Harrison formed a syndicate that acquired the mining rights on Driefontein and surrounding farms. Unfortunately, Harrison was unable to form a mining company to take up the options and they lapsed on his death in 1927. His resting place can be found within the oak trees along the right hand side of the 9th fairway.

Another grave, with stone "ZS Cillieres Geb Schoeman 17/11/1855 Overl. 5/7/1896" can be seen between the 10th and 11th fairways. Little is known of Mrs Cillieres, could it be that the farm once belonged to the Cillieres family before the Anglo-Boer wars?

No gold mine is complete without the addition of a golf course and West Driefontein (the original managers) was certainly not going to be an exception. During development of the mine, the manager Mr Stan Gibbs, decided that the area would be an ideal setting for a golf course. He sought the expertise of one of his officials Mr Johnny van der Ness, an accomplished golfer, and gave him the project. Together with Bob Grimsdell they laid out the original course. Mr van der Ness used oxen and plough to turn the rough veld into lush fairways and once progress could be seen a tractor was bought from some unsuspecting capital account. Mr van der Ness became the original greenkeeper until his death in 1966. His photograph can be seen next to the club managers office.

Following in Johnny van der Ness's footsteps was Jack Richards. His three sons, Terry, Johnny and Gordon also accomplished themselves in the game of golf. Gordon winning his Western Transvaal colours.

Whenever Jack was on the course he was accompanied by Shane and Sheba, his beautiful German Shepherds. He was greenkeeper for 17 years until his death. His family donated a trophy which is played for annually and his photograph is alongside that of Mr van der Ness.

The course has twice been rated in the top 20 courses in South Africa by the complete Golfer magazine.

The course took two years to build and was officially opened during 1950. President and Club Captain were Messrs Stan Gibbs and Dr RO Watermeyer respectively. The fairways were originally "skaaplaas" with Cynodon greens, kikuyu has all but taken over the fairways. A declared nature reserve, blesbok wander undisturbed throughout the course. A fortunate golfer will occasionally observe Springbok, Duiker and Reedbok. Amongst the many species of bird life one will see the Blue Crane, our National bird. The vervet monkeys are a humorous sight, but be careful they can be dangerous.

Many famous golfer have played the course. Amongst them the late Bobby Locke who returned whenever possible to putt on the greens he found much to his liking and famous putting style.

The course record has fallen to many of to-days recognised golfers and a board depicting their names and scores appear in the bar. Amongst Gavin "Legs" Levinson, Allan Henning, Chris Williams, Hendrik Buhrman and Tony Johnstone.

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