Nelspruit dates back to 1892 and has a very important place in the tourist map due to its close proximity to the Kruger National Park.
Nelspruit Golf Club, now a championship course, dates back to 1928 and is one of Mpumalanga Golf's 'Big Five'
Nelspruit Golf Club - a curious history
Nelspruit is the capital of the province of Mpumalanga. The city lies in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River, 330km (205.06 miles) east of Johannesburg in the hot and humid Lowveld. Malelane Gate, southern access to the Kruger Park, is about 60km (37.28 miles) away.
The history of this beautiful, fast growing metropolitan area dates back to 1892 with the construction of a railway station up the Crocodile river valley. Built on a farm owned by the Nel family, the place Nelspruit (Nels stream) attracted traders and farmers in high profile because of the natural richness of the soil, adequate water for irrigation and a level valley floor.
Nelspruit Golf Club was founded in November 1928 and moved to its present location in 1939. The bushveld course is a Bob Grimsdell design, built among rocky outcrops of land in the suburbs of Nelspruit, and the course has a curious history. It was a 9-holer for nearly 30 years before Grimsdell returned to complete a second nine in 1967-68. The course was left largely untouched until 1998 when Peter Matcovitch upgraded the course and the adjacent “Matumi Golf Estate” was established.
Nelspruit Golf Club is famous for hosting the annual Jock of the Bushveld Festival of Golf, considered the biggest amateur tournament of its kind in the world. Started in 1968, it has grown to the extent where some 800 amateurs from far and wide play more than 2 000 rounds during a week in May.
The Kruger National Park is one of the world's biggest and best-stocked game reserves, with Africa's Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) present in abundant numbers. Golfing enthusiasts had the idea of coming up with a 'Big Five' of their own, a reference to the best five courses in the vicinity. The first four were relatively easy to identify - Leopard Creek Country Club, Nelspruit Golf Club, White River Country Club and Sabi River Sun Golf Club, which are all 18-hole layouts. Choosing the fifth was a little more difficult and to make up an additional set of 18 with nine-hole courses, Malelane and Pilgrim's Rest share the honours. This then, is Mpumalanga golf's 'Big Five'