With its origins dating back to 1893, the South African Open Champion is widely acknowledged as one of the oldest national Open Championships in golf and truly embodies the spirit of competitive golf in South Africa.
From its beginnings as a match play event, the country’s flagship event evolved into a stroke play tournament in 1903 and continues to draw sizeable numbers of top golfers competing for the honour of being crowned champion.
The Championship holds an important place on the international golf calendar and is a prominent fixture on both the Sunshine Tour and European Tour.
Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate will host the South African Open Championship in 2011 and 2012. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Serengeti is the first 27-hole golf course in Gauteng and was recently named “Best New Golf Course” by Golf Digest.
The 18-hole course called Masai Mara, which means “wide open plains” in the language of the Masai, has a rugged grassland and dune-scape look. One of the unique features on the course is the par-five eighth hole with its island green. The nine-hole course called Whistling Thorn has a more classic feel.
The courses were constructed in accordance with USGA specifications, with cool season grass that provides green vistas all year round. Designed as a strategic and technical masterpiece that will test today’s best players, the sunken design of the course with its wide corridors is ideal for tournament purposes and provides optimal spectator value on almost every hole.