The old Keerbergen estate was rather a swampy wasteland so a specialist Dutch company was engaged to improve the site in the mid-1960s, resulting in the creation of a two-kilometre long lake, with spoil from the excavation used to raise the surrounding land by several feet.
At this juncture, a small parcel of the site was made available for a golf course because the local authority stipulated that a 90-acre green zone should be designated within the real estate development. Frank Pennink was duly contracted to design the layout but work only proceeded once a further 10 acres had been made available at his insistence.
Occupying a largely level site, the course at Keerbergen Golf Club features half a dozen short holes, three on each nine. Four par fives are also spaced out on the layout and the resulting configuration somehow avoids the playing of consecutive par fours until the last two holes on the card.
Six of the holes were modified in 2009, with greens re-laid and bunkers repositioned. Although the course sits adjacent to Lake Keerbergen, the sparkling waters of the lake only come into play on the final hole, a 360-metre left dogleg which hugs the shoreline en route to the home green.
The first at Keerbergen - a gentle left doglegged par four - serves adequate notice of what’s to come for the rest of the round: a pleasant parkland golf experience that might not exactly get the pulse racing but it’s one with sufficient topographical variation to keep you engaged all the way round. Holes are beautifully balanced, with the par threes (measuring between 131 and 171 metres from the back markers) of particular note, especially the water-protected 2nd hole with its tricky sloping green.
I’m not an advocate of severe dog legs so the short par four 9th didn’t really take my fancy but the two closing holes on the course, on the clubhouse side of the road, are a delight to play beside the large lake.