I played in the Dutch Senior Masters at The Dutch near Rotterdam last autumn. The main event is a similar format to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where an amateur is paired with a pro and the best score counts in a two-day (Fri-Sat) team competition.
My game largely deserted me for the two days but the slothful pace of play over the rounds gave me plenty of time to study the course and subsequently vent my frustration generally about slow play: From The Cradle to the grave
I’ve been debating whether or not to write a review for The Dutch, as I don’t like the course. Given that I was graciously invited it felt rude and ungrateful to write a negative post. Having thought about my experience for twelve months, I now feel able to stick my head above the parapet.
There’s no denying The Dutch is a good course, which has been well built. The location and the land are unremarkable for golf, comprising of two dull, flat fields set several metres below sea level with a peat substructure. Remarkably the course drains well. It rained cats and dogs on the Saturday and there was no standing water whatsoever. The build comprised of lightweight air-filled concrete under greensites and polystyrene filled mounds to reduce weight. Millions of cubic metres of soil was shipped in to raise the low-lying ground and for shaping. The result is high quality and should be generously applauded. However, there’s nothing compelling about the architecture, although I felt the greensites were well done. Everything is quality through and through, from the tee boxes, bunkering and greens to the wonderful clubhouse. But I found the course soulless and lacking in character. It’s a “been there, seen it before” kind of experience which left me both impressed (in terms of what has been achieved) but distinctly underwhelmed.
The client company, Made in Scotland, may well have commissioned two Scots to design the course (Colin Montgomerie and Ross McMurray of European Golf Design) but The Dutch is diametrically opposed to Scottish golf and I think a trick was missed. The design is supposed to be a nod to an inland links – I saw nothing remotely reminiscent of a links course, either in look or playability. Maybe they should have taken a 200-kilometre trip east to Germany. The Links course at Winston (whose owners coincidentally are also Dutch) may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly looks like a links and will be remembered. Which is more than can be said about The Dutch. On the other hand, the coffee was excellent, but more impressive was the patience shown by my pro partner, Mark Davis, who not only carried me like an awkward sack of potatoes but was also great company.
Date: September 22, 2018