This golf club is like a golfing version of Red Bull Leipzig. On one hand you have to admire what has been achieved in a short space of time, but on the other hand I feel it simply should not exist.
None of this is the course’s fault though. The linksy feeling, hole variety, and green-sites are nice. You feel this can add significantly to a country where modern golfing options are still greatly overshadowed by their octogenarian counterparts. The end construction result on this flat wet polder next to Schipol airport is impressive and I enjoy the uniqueness of a 747 almost landing on your head as you walk to the 8th tee. It’s not an inspiring natural site, but it is at least memorable. I have always enjoyed my games here too, especially in matchplay. Holes like #2, #8, #10, and the finish of #16-18 all offer something different.
This is countered by examples like #3 & #4 - good holes that would work on a course like Lage Vuursche, but the watery graves here are clumsy juxtaposition for me. In terms of strategy “The International “ feels quite binary - one difficult route for your 300 yard driving scratch player, and then one other taken by the remaining 90% of golfers. This might be my main criticism of the course - it feels slightly one dimensional & doesn’t deliver the greatest pleasure to the greatest number of golfers. The average member, distracted by the excellent service, the exclusive vibes, the decent conditioning, & tournament credentials, will not be at all bothered though. And it was likely intended as a tournament course, so perhaps the designer was less concerned with playability aspect. It has recently hosted the KLM Open.
Their website has a lengthy ode to their designer Ian Woosnam, but this course was Ghost Written by Bruno Steensels (it has a very similar routing to De Goyer). This branding touch feels like a clue as to who they are trying to appeal to - and for me hints at the experience of style over a product of substance. I have even been asked by a member of staff upon arrival if he could clean my clubs. My clubs are always clean before a round, so these kind of touches feel ludicrous. Last autumn I was playing at the Kennemer and my playing partner there - a friend of means - was considering joining “The International”. I asked why on earth he wouldn’t try to get in where we were currently enjoying ourselves (27 holes of classic design on delightful linksland that’s never busy). He replied that “The International” is where business gets done and so is much better for developing his network. This sums the place up for me - but the golf is still good. If you are a golfing visitor to The Netherlands, you won’t really be missing out if you don’t play “The International”, but if you can get on, it’s still worth playing. And it is convenient for the airport
Date: February 20, 2020