- Dutch Open
The Dutch Open has been a European Tour event since 1972 but its origins stretch way back to sixty years earlier, when an “unofficial” competition took place on 31st August 1912 at The Hague’s 9-hole course within the Clingendael racecourse. English-born George Pannell of Royal GC de Belgique beat another Englishman living in Belgium, Charles Warren of Knokke Golf Club, by one shot with a 36-hole total of 158.
It’s not known how many took part in that first contest but the second edition three years later was officially sanctioned by the five oldest clubs in the Netherlands, with twelve players taking part at the same venue. This time, the Dutch amateur Gerry del Court van Krimpen won, beating two English professionals (Henry Burrows and Ernest Kettley) into second place by one stroke.
Burrows was the professional at Doornsche Golf Club from 1910 to 1920 before leaving for Belgium to work at Antwerpt then Waterloo then returning as the professional at De Voornschee. He was the first man to win the Dutch Open three times (1920, 1921 and 1923) and was allowed to keep the challenge cup, with a new one put up for competition.
As an aside, on the occasion of the 90th Open and the 100th anniversary of Kennemer Golf & Country Club in 2009, the original trophy was exhibited in the clubhouse during the 4-day championship after the family of Henry Burrows very kindly donated it to the Netherlands Golf Federation in return for a replica.
The first twenty Dutch Opens were played over two 18-hole rounds before the competition changed to a 72-hole format in 1933. Eleven of theses tournaments were held at “The Haagsche” and it would host one more Open in 1938 before World War II caused the championship to be suspended for six years.
Most of the pre-war Open champions were from the British Isles. The Boomer brothers (Aubrey and Percy) from Jersey shared all four titles between 1924 and 1927, with Aubrey’s hat-trick of wins earning him the right to keep the trophy that had just been commissioned a decade earlier.
The Oosterveer brothers did their best to keep the Dutch flag flying however, with three wins; two for Dirk (in 1919 and 1930) and one for Jacob in 1917 – and he also let one get away by losing the 1920 Open in a playoff to Henry Burrows.
In the post war period, up until the start of the European Tour in 1972, tournament winners became more international. Flory Van Donck from neighbouring Belgium won the 1946 event (he would later win a record five Opens in total) and Joop Rühl, the teaching professional at Hilversumsche, won the following year at Eindhovensche but he would be the last home winner for more than half a century.
Instead, intercontinental champions emerged from Argentina (Roberto de Vicenzo in 1950, Antonio Cerdá in 1956 and Vicente Fernández in 1970) and South Africa (Sewsunker Sewgolum in 1959, 1960, 1964 and Brian Wilkes in 1961), while four different players from Italy and Spain also registered five victories.
In the European Tour era, Jack Newton from Australia won the inaugural event under its new livery at Koninklijke Haagsche in 1972 and he was followed onto the winner’s dais in subsequent years by fellow antipodeans in the shape of Graham Marsh (1979, 1985) and Stephen Leaney (1998, 2000).
Seve Ballesteros won the first of his three Dutch Opens in 1976 at Kennemer, leading the way for his fellow countrymen to emulate a few of his golfing achievements in the Netherlands: José María Olazábal (1989); Miguel Ángel Jiménez (1994); Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño 2005); and Sergio García (2019) have all since won the tournament.
Perhaps the most heartening recent victory in the competition has been that of Dutchman Maarten Lafeber at Hilversumsche in 2003, which is his only professional win on the European Tour. Joost Luiten turned pro three years later and he went on to better his compatriot’s feat by winning at Kennemer in 2013 then at The Dutch in 2006, proving that nothing beats having a home winner to inspire young players.
Since 2007, the best Dutch pro in the Open receives the Gerard de Wit medal and Jurrian van der Vaart was the first player to receive the Robbie van Erven Dorens Trophy in 2010 as the best amateur in the KLM Open that year.
In total, Hilversumsche Golf Club has hosted the Dutch Open 28 times, followed by Kennemer Golf & Country Club (23 times), Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club (20 times) and Noorwijkse Golfclub (11 times). You will not find the course at Doornsche Golf Club listed below (where the 5th edition of the competition was held in 1918) as it no longer exists, having closed in 1927 when the club moved to its current site at Bosch en Duin and reformed as Utrechtse Golf Club De Pan.
Dutch Open Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy