"The thorn tree grows much faster than any other indigenous tree," said green keeper Fibion Chikwaya, who has tended the course for 17 years.
Duikers, a small southern African species of antelope, rabbits and guinea fowl live on the course, which is sandwiched among offices, apartments and suburban homes. The animals graze oblivious to the hazards of flying golf balls. Their young are reared mostly unseen in thickets, Chikwaya said.
"We never know when they are born and only get to see them when they are grown," he said.
He said the animals sometimes fall prey to night poachers as they have come to trust humans through contact with golfers who "can come a meter close to them, and they won't run away because they know no harm will befall them."
The course is home to more than 100 species of birds, many of which migrate thousands of miles to the southern hemisphere every year, he said.
The old thorn tree on the 13th hole has remained a constant companion for many golfers. Its branches span a radius of nearly seven yards and provide a canopy of shade for spectators. Many families have carried out their dying golfing relatives' wishes of having their ashes strewn around its trunk, he said.
The tree was there when players wore the colonial dress of breeches and a collar and tie, replaced now by casual pants and T-shirts.
Akil Yousuf, a club member and former president of the Zimbabwe Professional Golfers' Association, believes the tree will survive for generations. He said the thorn tree stands on "the hardest hole on the course," the downfall of many champion golfers.
"You have to play an accurate shot," he said. "If you err slightly to the right or left, you could be staring a bogey in the face."