Course in Focus: Randpark Firethorn
The Randpark Golf Club is one of the most prestigious clubs in Africa. Located in Johannesburg, South Africa, Randpark is an urban club with two courses: Firethorn and Bushwillow. The younger (and more challenging) of these is Firethorn, which is located on the northern side of the club.
The Firethorn course first opened in 1971 and has since been featured prominently on the South African, European, and global golfing circuits. It has twice hosted the South Africa Open, along with other prominent local tournaments.
The Firethorn course is famous for its wide open views, but don’t be fooled—there are plenty of sand traps and water hazards that make it one of the tougher courses in South Africa... and in Ultimate Golf. Long fairways may tempt many players to grip it and rip it, but be careful! Slopes, bunkers, dotting lakes and cutting rivers could very easily humble an overconfident player.
While each hole on this course is distinct, perhaps the most definitive are the final three. Hole 16 is a monster Par 4 with a long fairway that curves hard to the left, but a thick treeline sits along the curve, forcing players to choose between a restrained drive off the tee leading to a long approach shot, or a risky drive with maximum draw.
Hole 17 is one of the most notorious Par 3s out there, a rather long “short” hole with an imposing water hazard between the tee box and the green. Ideally, one hopes for a steady drive straight to the green and a putt for birdie, but the margin for error is slim—a mistake can easily force you to take three strokes or more on this perilous Par 3.
And then of course there’s Hole 18, an imposing Par 4 with a stream flowing right across the heart of the fairway, forcing even the strongest drivers to moderate their swing and take a long approach shot from near the water’s edge. Even the most experienced players may feel this hole as more of a Par 5 than a Par 4. But fear not, for just beyond the green is Randpark’s stunning clubhouse, where players can retire after a hard-fought round.
Randpark Firethorn has been a fixture of Ultimate Golf since April 2021, so seasoned Ultimate Golfers should know it well!