Golf architect Paul Rolin has, over many years, created plenty of new courses in his native Belgium and neighbouring France, including Royal Waterloo (Le Lion) and Hardelot (Les Dunes). He’s also credited with several Dutch designs, the best of which is the 27-hole layout here at Nunspeet.
It’s one of four golf complexes in the Netherlands that operate under the banner of “The Empire” (along with the 45 holes at Nijmegen, 18 holes in Margraten and 27 holes at Sybrook) and its tight, tree-lined holes are laid out within woodland to the south of the small market town of Nunspeet.
The facility opened at the end of the 1980s, once three 9-hole circuits had been carved from the forested landscape, and it’s generally accepted that the North and East nines comprise the premier 18-hole layout, with each of those loops ending on a large double green beside the clubhouse.Don’t dismiss the South nine out of hand, though – especially if it’s only because you think some of the holes might be a little noisier due to their proximity to the A28 motorway – as it has its fair share of outstanding holes, none more so than the closing par five which has water in play all the way up the right side of the fairway.
Nunspeet offers a very pleasant environment to enjoy a round in Holland and is worth a visit if you are in the area.
Tee shots are often well framed and it’s a pretty walk though fairly flat pine forest. Occasionally there’s the odd small dune or patch of heather to keep you company and add interest.
I don’t feel that the quality of the layout quite matches up to the aesthetics though, and some of the potential of the site has been lost. There’s not enough playing interest for me, partly due to the fairways consistently being too narrow. Economics pressures of being a public course presumably meant they crammed 27 holes into this site, but they could have created a more interesting and expansive 18 to really rival some of the top Dutch forest courses.
Having said this, I’ve not played here with anyone who didn’t enjoy it, and for first timers it always creates a good first impression. It can also be good value and is deserving of its current Top 20 ranking in Holland