Constructed in the mid-1990s on land reclaimed from the IJmuiden estuary between Amsterdam and Haarlem, the 18-hole course at Houtrak Golf Club is a challenging layout located within an attractive polder site. The golf club still has some way to go before its course reaches maturity but a good job has been done in creating a fine contemporary golfing facility.
Architect Gerard Jol has accumulated many golf design credits in the Netherlands over the years and he has become pretty adept – with the skilful use of earth moving machinery and intelligent planting of vegetation – at turning flat, bland terrain into interesting, subtly undulating golfing landscapes. Houtrak is a very good example of such a transformation.
The course lies close to the noisy main flight path into and out of busy Schipol airport and its proximity to surrounding wind farm and maritime businesses does it no aesthetic favours. However, it does somehow seem to overcome the limitations of its location, providing members and visitors alike with a much appreciated golfing diversion from the outside industrial world.
The Dutch Futures tournament on the European Challenge Tour has been held here since 2007.
A parkland course set on the outskirts of Amsterdam, I guess it is probably quite typical of many Netherlands courses in that it has little canals (and therefore water hazards) everywhere. And I mean everywhere. From a brief count there are probably 31 different times when water comes into play.
The long rough added significantly to the difficulty of the course with lost balls likely when straying. This alone made my stroke round look pretty poor at the end. The greens were quick and true, but had some patches as well.
I liked the aesthetic of the course, especially the back nine where there was a nice isolation of the holes. The back nine was probably more interesting too.
Fair review, just one small detail. It's not a parkland course though it does look a bit like one. In The Netherlands we call this a "Polder" course. Which actually is an indication of the land it sits on just as would be the case if it were a parkland. Polder = reclaimed land and as you might know The Netherlands is full of courses like this. Believe it or not Houtrak is one of the better "polder" courses. Doesn't say too much for the average level of "polder" courses does it? Imagine they will even play year round on these courses but you need fly-fishing waders to not ruin all your shoes and clothes for that.