Although the records show that golf in Paarl was, in all probability, first played in the 1880’s the Paarl Golf Club was officially founded in September 1908 under the presidency of Lord de Villiers.
A 9-hole- golf course was laid out along the Berg River at Sanddrift.
The Paarl Club, with 28 men and 16 lady members, was affiliated to the Western Province Golf Union. Matches were played against clubs like Metropolitan and Royal Cape.
In time the 9-hole course became inadequate and in 1955 the club decided to move to Suider-Paarl where an impressive course and clubhouse were built on a site between the Berg River and Wateruintjiesvlei.
In 1965 the golf club ran into financial difficulties and in order to resolve this predicament it launched a fund-raising project by offering life membership at R200 with a target of R10 000. The target was easily reached with the subsequent survival of the club.
In 1979 hosted for the first time the very popular Winelands Classic. This event is a significant source of venue for the club and a show-case in public relations. A couple of years later the Champagne Classic (for mixed 4-balls) followed and proved to be also a huge success.
In 1983 the membership total of the club has grown to 423.
The development of the Boschenmeer Estate, which incorporated the grounds of the Paarl Golf Club, took place in 1997 and changed the face of the Paarl Golf Club.
The redevelopment created a further 9 holes which became the Boschenmeer Nine, which result in the Western Cape’s first 27 hole golf club: 1 – 9 holes known as The River Nine; 10 – 18 as The Paarl Nine; 19 – 27 as The Boschenmeer Nine.
The new clubhouse was officially opened in 2004. The magnificent new clubhouse was designed by Robin Barnes of JHP and built by the Remey company.
The conception of the new golf course with 30 residential unites encompassing it, was first mooted in 1989 by Jan Hanekom, a town planner, after comments by Bruce Manderson, a local engineer, on the quality of the greens, which would result in additional revenue for the club.
The idea was put to the Paarl Municipality in 1990 with the piece of land known as Wateruintjiesvlei. The council was in agreement and decided to go on to the “open market. The property eventually sold to Hugo Basson who developed a caravan park with 12 chalets.
The golfers found that the tenants and guests on the caravan park tended to use the course for their own use even removing balls from the course. As can be imagined, this caused frustration on the part of the golfers.
It was soon realised that the caravan park was struggling financially and would be unable to continue much longer.
In 1994 Jan Hanekom put together a rezoning application incorporating the present-day accommodation unites. In 1995 Johan Pauw from Syfin joined forces with Jan Hanekom and Hugo Basson was bought out.
In 1999 the “first sod” was turned and the first transfer to private owners took place in 2000.
The course was designed by David Frost and Danie Obermeyer who, once the Boschenmeer Nine was complete, redesigned the original 18 holes, 9 holes at a time over the next two years.
Through the 115 years of the Paarl Golf Club existence strong leadership at committee level played a huge part in the growth and successes of the club.
AES Oberlander deserves special recognition. He was President of the Club from 1969 to 1979. In his footsteps followed Michiel du Toit who served as President from 1980 to 1994. Du Toit’s vision and initiatives in difficult financial times, saved the Club from ruin.
The Club has developed from a small rural Club on municipal land into a Section 21 Company (not for gain) now on land and with assets mainly owned by the Trust. This structure protects members and ensures that world class facilities can be enjoyed by members, visitors and guests from all over the world.
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