I visited The Dutch only three weeks after the KLM Open had been held on the course so I knew I was playing a new track with an impressive championship pedigree which had hosted a European Tour event for three successive years. Still, for those who like their golf to be of the egalitarian variety then they won’t be playing here as this place is modelled on exclusivity. If you do secure an invitation through a member or you’re here on a corporate ticket, then you’ll experience quite the pampered golfing day out.
All the peripheral stuff is top notch. On arrival, your car is parked and your golf bag left at the practice area, allowing you to get ready in the sumptuous locker room. After your round, the extremely comfortable clubhouse is just the perfect place to relax and have a bite to eat before heading home. If reviews were based on service and off-course amenities then The Dutch would be up there with the very best of them. None of these extraneous factors can be taken into account here, however, so a proper appraisal of the golf facility has to focus entirely on what’s between the 1st tee and the 18th green.
With that in mind, it should be said at the outset that it’s something of a minor miracle for a course of its standard to ever be built on such a flat piece of land, with fairways laid out in two adjacent “compartments”: the 1st hole and holes 8-18 occupy the main portion of the property and holes 2-7 lie to north of this area. Presumably, the construction of the interconnected ponds produced enough fill to create most of the course contouring, especially around the green sites, which have obviously been well-built, offering plenty of interesting recovery options around the putting surfaces.
Looking back on my notes for the separate section (#2 to #7), I only remarked on the huge swale to the left of the 3rd green and the punchbowl green on the 4th green as that was really all that took my eye on a functional, but rather uninspiring stretch of holes. Moving onto the main part of the course, things seemed to move up another gear, with the par threes at the 8th and 10th getting full marks from me. The second of these short holes plays across the large pond that’s closest to the clubhouse and the aquatic element on this hole provides a knee-trembling start to the back nine.
In actual fact, the 10th hole is good preparation for what’s to come at nearly every hole on the back nine – the comparatively benign par three 14 is the only one that doesn’t feature a water hazard of some description. Ditches running alongside then cutting across fairways and ponds protecting the front of greens are the norm on the inward half so astute course management is absolutely paramount on this nine or you might well become disillusioned and run out of golf balls very quickly.
Don’t expect to play an “inland links” at the Dutch as it’s not got the firm and fast playing characteristics required of such a course, though the green contouring, greenside bunkers and shaggy mounding imbue it with links-like qualities both on and around the putting surfaces. I’m not so sure I’d want to have my handicap tested to the extent that it would be if I was a member playing here all the time but maybe the almost constant threat of severely depleting your golf ball inventory is the sort of incentive required to sharpen up your game!
Date: October 12, 2018