A Gamut of Golfing Gratifications

A publication on the town of Vereeniging, dated November 1933, describes Maccauvlei as follows: “There is hardly a place of any consequence in South Africa where the Maccauvlei course is not mentioned familiarly, and certainly no centre along the Witwatersrand where one may not haphazardly meet a golfer who will hold forth enthusiastically on some of its characteristics.

“Maccauvlei claims a widespread and ever growing fellowship among lovers of the game. The appeal exercised by Maccauvlei is a complex of so many features that it is impossible to define it in a single phrase. The visitor is impressed with the careful tending of spacious fairways and generously sized greens. Reasonable difficulties are presented, the features of the course calling for the use of all the clubs in turn, and on the well thought out course the golfer has spent two hours of healthful physical exertion and delightful mental exercise, finding such conditions as will make him look forward eagerly to playing here again.

“He has indulged in a whole gamut of golfing gratifications and delights – the noble seventh, a superlative creation; the thirteenth, perhaps, the prettiest hole on the course, with the Vaal River on the left; the twelfth, requiring careful handling; the unusual tenth, providing a thrill, and the somewhat sensational eleventh; the fourteenth, calling for great delicacy; the eleventh, again, most favoured by the course architect, the picturesque second – in fact, eighteen holes of distinctive character; and if, perchance, at the fifteenth, he makes an immaculate slice into the broad river, it is, as many a player has remarked, but paying homage to “the glory of the going”. Should the golfer elect to prolong his visit, as frequently happens, there is a Dormy House equipped with all that can be desired. Here, where the accommodation is excellent and the meals generously and consistently good, is a meeting place of the brotherhood – in itself no mean additional attraction to this unique course.”

The reputation of the course helped to add many illustrious names to the long list of famous visitors to Maccauvlei that Sammy Marks had built up. Many important visitors to the country were brought to Maccauvlei. Just after the Dormy House was completed in 1926, the Prince of Wales was invited to spend an afternoon and night there, and was charmed with the place.

Many persons from the theatrical world came, including Gracie Fields, who after a session of PIM’s Cup on the stoep – a regular feature introduced by Louis Marks – and some lunch, gave a concert in Dormy House lasting over an hour. Twenty years later when Allen Snijman met her on the Italian island of Capri, where she had retired, he asked her if she remembered Maccauvlei and she said, she certainly did!

In the world of amateur golf, the Springbok team used to assemble at Maccauvlei, stay at the Dormy House to sharpen up their game on the inland links course before their departure overseas to play in the Eisenhower trophy tournament.

An international exhibition match was held at Maccauvlei on the 8 March 1958, with the British players, Dai Rees and Ken Bousfield, pitted against Gary Player and the local pro Tommy Trevena. South Africa beat Great Britain 4 and 3, with Player shooting a 64, before a gallery of 747 people. It was about a year later, on the 27 July 1959 in fact, that Gary was made an honorary member of the Club after he had won the British Open