The original 9-hole course at Geijsteren Golf and Country Club was a Donald Steel and Frank Pennink production that made its golfing debut in 1974. When more land became available, the layout was extended in two phases to a full 18 holes.
Four new holes were added in 1983, followed by an additional “five water holes” when the course extension was completed two years later. In more recent times, Michiel van der Vaart of Jol Golf Design has been engaged in renovation work here.
Routed through woodland, the holes at Geijsteren are handsomely framed by mature trees lining either side of the playing corridors and that fairway definition holds true until the 14th, where water hazards then present the greatest challenge for the remainder of the round.
Geijsteren lies in a pretty part of the Netherlands. It’s peaceful and quiet and far away from noise and distraction, apart from the quite fitting farmersland where top quality asparagus is harvested right next to the 4th fairway. It is one of those courses that proves that a course does not have to be long to be challenging. This is however to a large extent due to the fact that the holes are extremely narrow in places, and the fact that the trees are very dense and the rough is very high. I was told before that the course could use a chainsaw here and there and I could not disagree. The course does need the narrowness as it is its natural defence and it also provides some tough course management choices, but I can’t help but think that at least the rough should be reduced some meters into the woods to speed up play considerably ór trees would have to be removed to boost the quality of the course. Preferably, a bit of both. Lost balls aren’t fun, nor is searching for your (partners) ball! If this course was more crowded, it would lead to extreme congestion.
The course is never spectacular, but very solid and there are no bad holes, which is pretty unique. Some holes look a bit samish at first, but you’ll reconsider when you walk to your ball and find out there is more to the hole than it seemed. The course is mostly pretty flat, but there are some gentle undulations and small ridges from time to time, that blend in very nicely with the course and are also of strategic and aesthetic value. The green complexes however tend to be raised a little compared to the fairway every time, which could have been tiresome and onedimensional but for some reason it keeps being interesting enough. They also seem to slope back to front most of the time, which looks pretty but lacks a little variety. The bunkers neither have the most inspiring shapes, but they are well placed and cut into the greens very nicely, often leaving one narrow part of the green suited to host a nasty pin position. There are nice runoffs, hidden gullies and the greens themselves are enjoyable and challenging
Some holes definitely stood out of the crowd: the par 5 8th and ninth were particularly strong and very pretty and are indeed class holes that would make any course proud, especially with the rhododendrons in flower. The 8th is another example of a tight drive, but the player can opt for a shorter teeshot to the broadest part of the fairway, or can be rewarded with a bounce to the middle of the narrow fairway from either side of it.
The par 5s are all short by modern standards, but they are all very different. You’ll think twice before choosing driver on the 8th and 10th (and even the 14th in open land but with water and OB on both sides of the fairway)as it probably isn’t worth the risk, but very tempting.
After the 13th, one comes out of the forest and a whole different course looks to be entered. Its a bit odd as the style of these ‘blue’ holes is so different, but in their own right they are fine holes. The 18th especially is a very good finisher, with a daunting drive over a large water hazard and the tee box placed cross tot he fairway, leaving ample space for a short carry over the water, but challenging the player to take an aggressive line which only increases the required carry. If you really exaggerate, you do need to make sure you’re not blocked by the few trees on the shore of the hazard, blocking sight of the green.
It’s funny, as there are not many courses in the Netherlands with such a consistent quality of good golfholes, in a beautiful tranquil place and one will guaranteed enjoy their round at Geijsteren, but still so many criticisms in this review in my sense. The reason might be precisely because the course has that much quality and charm, that we want it to rise to its full potential. In my opinion, Geijsteren could be in the same league as de Hoge Kleij, which is also a Pennink and Steel design that does provide for some controversies, but seems to be more ambitious in its presentation at least.
Really enjoyed playing here a couple of years ago. Didn't know anything about the course beforehand, so it was a pleasant surprise.
One or two of the tree-lined holes would not be out of place at the Hilversumsche, and the greens were nice to putt on - not crazy undulations but interesting slopes to contend with.
I also found it quite a tranquil place for a Sunday round - not sure if this is because it wasn't busy that day, or a sense of seclusion created by the routing. Perhaps a bit of both.
The course is a bit let down by the newer holes - the continuity is interrupted - but they are still decent enough. Scrapes 4 balls for me and worth another visit. BB