The rehabilitation of Soweto Country Club will not only define itself as an historic project for South African golf, but it could well emerge as a blueprint for all of South Africa as to how a golf course can uplift a once struggling community. Herman Mashaba, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, has long told residents around the Soweto Country Club that once the golf course is fully operational, they will see its real benefits in the corresponding rise of their house prices.
The golf course rehabilitation is now at an advanced stage, with all of the tees ready for grassing and irrigation having been installed on all of the holes. The growing medium has been installed on all of the greens, and kikuyu sprigging will be completed mid-September. AGT Foods Africa kindly donated kikuyu seeds for the fairways.
Grass planting around the greens and sections of fairways in front of the greens have been completed on holes 1, 2 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18. We are looking forward to Gary Player making a site visit on 22 October 2018.
Crop covers have been removed from the 10th-18th greens as well as from the first green. These covers provide protection to the new seedlings for the first two weeks of growth.
A number of large trees were removed from the 14th green to ensure more sunshine on the green.
All of the Fairway bunkers have been rough-shaped, and the green bunker edging has been completed on holes 11, 13, 14, 18, 1 and 2. A concrete path has also been approved by all stakeholders For the areas around the Halfway House and the 1st and 10th tees.
The sustainability of the project has been bolstered by the successful drilling of another borehole. This together with potable water From a City of Johannesburg source and which has been approved by the city will be used to grow the golf course.
Once completed, this project has the potential to serve as a shining example of what a golf course can do to transform a community.
There is no better example of this than in East La Re, Atlanta. East La Re Golf Club is a recognized PGA Tour venue and sits in the heart of what was once a neighborhood debilitated by poverty and crime. The idea to revitalize this neighborhood through mixed-income housing and upgraded public schools required a sustainable revenue stream. And so, what was once a neglected golf course where golfers admitted to being nervous about crime on the Fairways was rehabilitated into a PGA Tour venue that has in turn anchored the upliftment of the entire community Violent crime in the area has decreased by 95% over two decades.
In a similar way, the Soweto Country Club project could tee off a new dawn for the residents of Pimville.
The irrigation system is working well. Pumps are currently powered by a generator due to ESKOM power not being available yet.
All the greens, except the putting green and short game area green, have been seeded.
All green-side bunkers have been completed and are ready to have bunker sand added. Two out of 10 fairway bunkers are ready to have bunker sand added.