VREDENDAL - CLUB OF THE MONTH - A JEWEL OF RURAL GOLF

- 22 April 2022

One of the jewel 9-hole courses in the Boland, is Vredendal Golf Club - for years especially known for their excellent greens.
ESTABLISHMENT OF CLUB
The Vredendal Golf Club was founded on 22 September 1966. At the founding meeting, 58 members were present, many of whom would later became stalwart members of the club.
The first chairman of the club was local magistrate, Mr J.M van den Berg. From the outset it was clear that the best way forward was one of total independence of the municipality and with that in mind 40 morgen of land was bought about 5 km outside the town at what at that time was a fair price of R2 000.
Land at the bottom of the canal at that time cost about R1 000 per morgen, which made its purchase impractical. However, the purchase of the land ensured that from day one the club was completely independant with a constitution that would make the members sole owners.
The problem of the availability of water was overcome by some of the farmers making water available to the club. Today the club uses water from the irrigation scheme at industrial rates. In the early years the club shared dressing room facilities with the bowling club, which was also located on the premises.
In 1984, the current clubhouse was erected. Many changes have been made over the years and today the clubhouse boasts excellent dressing rooms, a kitchen and bar and a neat outside area with braai facilities.
Following the drought of 2017 and with the rising cost and scarcity of water in mind, the club is currently in negotiations with the Municipality for the procurement of grey water from the nearby water treatment plant - a step that will enable major improvements.
MEMBERSHIP
There are currently 96 members at the Vredendal Club.
This relatively small number of members naturally puts a lot of pressure on the club and it has always been necessary for the club to think outside the box to raise money.
Fortunately, the club is in the hands of competent members and currently the Vredendal Golf Club is financially sound.
For example, during the Covid-19 lock down period, with a closed course, enough funds were raised to maintain the course and pay the workers, via members who donated valuable items to be auctioned off.
GOLF COURSE
The course is a typical Karoo-like course that stretches over a large area.
The 9-hole course has 18 tees and par is 72.
The total length of the course is 5 752 meters with a course rating of 70.5 and a “slope rating” of 132.
Initially the course had oil greens, but in 1988 the members started planting grass themselves and today they Vredendal Club is well-known for their excellent grass greens (especially for a rural club).
The average distance of the holes is about 330 meters for the par 4's and 450 meters for the par 5's.
COURSE FEES
The fees are very fair and affiliate visitors play at R120 for 9 holes and R190 for 18 holes. The club itself does not have golf carts available, but if the club is contacted early enough, this can be arranged by calling the club.
COURSE RECORD
The first hole-in-one on the Vredendal course was achieved by Dr L. K. Bredell on March 7, 1970.
The first player to shoot a round below par was on 19 October 1991 when the SA professional player, Ian Palmer, filled in a score of 69 on his scorecard.
The current course record is held by Gerlou Roux. His record breaking round of 62 will be very difficult to beat!
COMPETITIONS
The large distances between Vredendal and other Boland clubs as well as the high fuel price meant that Vredendal had to withdraw from the Boland league competitions.
It is actually very unfortunate because the club used to enter a formidable team in the Brodie League.
In 1995, Vredendal won the coveted Brodie Cup. In this winning team there were 4 scholars - including Gerlou Roux (he later became a SA golfer).
The club has come up with many ingenious ideas to attract players and visitors.
Every Friday there is a Sundowner competition over 9 holes where the winner walks away with a delicious whole chicken or a dozen eggs, all sponsored by the members.
Once a month the course is changed into a par 3-course and a better ball competition is played on Fridays.
There is also a competition every Saturday with prizes for the winners.
The biggest fundraising days are the Car Dealers Day and the very popular Nexus Business Teams Golf Day.
Also very popular is the Vredendal Cup which works on the same principle as the Fedex Cup. Members earn points according to their performance in competitions, and at the end of the year the Top-20 play out for the cup and very big prizes are at stake.
SLYDER CUP IS A GREAT ATTRACTION
However, the club's most popular weekend remains the Slyder Cup which started in 2009 and is held every year in November.
The format is: two teams consisting of young members play against a team of older members. They play better ball, foursomes and singles against each other on the Friday and Saturday.
Because the teams vary little, it leads to intense competition every year. The Slyder Cup kicks-off on a Wednesday evening with a formal dinner.
The popularity of this weekend is underlined by the fact that many of the members (who for some reason have to move from Vredendal) retain their golf club membership, just to stay part of the hugely popular Slyder Cup competition.
ACHIEVEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Certainly, Vredendal's most famous member is Gerlou Roux. Roux has a very long career as a top golfer and has won his SA colours several times and represented South Africa in various international competitions. Later he also gained national colours as a mid-amateur and he currently ranks 3rd on GolfRSA's merit list for mid-amateurs.
As a young boy, Hennie O’Kennedy (currently a professional player on the Sunshine Series) and his father, Len (former professional player) also played regularly at Vredendal.
Certainly, the most famous winner of the Vredendal club championships is the late Pammie van Zyl, a former teacher, who won the club championships 18 times.
CONTACT DETAILS
Anyone who wants to contact the club can do so by calling the club captain, Vlam Taljaard on 084 5131977, or the club manager, Carina van Lill on 072 1186025.

Boland Golf Union