Review for Houtrak

Reviewer Score:


Houtrak is a polder course. Uh-Oh. So, yes, there is quite some water around. If Noah was a member here he’d have built his ark long before god suggested he do so. Long & soft? Yep. Exposed to the divine elements like Hugh Grant on Sunset Boulevard: cruel wind often not too far away & wet wet wet rain when we played (you feel it in your fingers, you feel it in your toes). Longish rough and scrubby undergrowth can be found on any dry patches of land lining the unfairways. In short, it’s a test befitting a minor Hollywood scandal (which might explain why they put out some decent teams in the national competitions). Not always the ingredients for cooking up a tasty golfing treat in my humble view.

However, the twist in this movie’s plot line is that it’s not at all bad. Seriously. It’s a decent course - probably the best option in Amsterdam after The International. And in reality it is a fair test, especially if you can hit your ball straight. Matt Fitzpatrick would probably love it here. As early as the second hole you see enough fairway movement to elevate it - literally - above your average Polder Baan. The holes showed some variety, particularly on the back 9. Having said this, if you felt a sense of Deja Vu (of Deja Vu, of Deja Vu) at playing the same 400 metre par 4 you played a couple of holes ago, I wouldn’t argue with you.

The Par 3 14th would grace many courses, and I also liked the Par 4 16th where you hit to a rising fairway that gently doglegs left, leaving you with a testing shot over a small canal to a green raised up and staring back at you. The greens were generally good and certainly not flat. Bunkers were sometimes in the right place. Conditioning throughout was good. Probably the most interesting architectural aspect for me was the routing - kind of like the spokes on (half) a bicycle wheel, with holes returning to the clubhouse hub. There is now some tree growth that it’s starting to resemble a polder course in parkland clothing. This gave holes some isolation & definition which many golfers will like. And because it occasionally affords some shelter from the elements. Not a course I’d rush back to, but one I will play again. If you see golf as a sport and want a good test, you’d like it here. A good example of its type and one of the better options to seek out if in the Amsterdam area

Date: October 12, 2020

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