I have always wanted to play Koninklijke Haagsche ever since I worked for TV when the European Senior tour played here a few years ago, I remember the site being breathtaking. Nothing changed as I stood on the tee, it's fair to say that the course is laid out on probably some of the best golfing land in the world.
But I am sad to say this was one of the least fun rounds of golf I have ever played. I thought the course was brutal in every way (from the back tees which I played), it was so hard, but not in a good way, it was overly penal bordering on silly/unfair. I couldn't have been happier for my round to end, which is a great shame, as I want to love it.
The land is hugely undulating and combined with it's links nature (windy, firm & fast), and a number of blind shots makes for a great test. The problem is that these factors alone make it tough, but to add on top of that....greens that are upturned saucers - a lot of them raised & exposed to the wind (2 & 9 come to mind) (the green surfaces were also very very slow, so difficult to putt on, though if they were any quicker i'm not sure how you could keep the ball on the green), narrow fairways (some only 20 yards wide after a blind drive), a huge number of bushes and trees (get rid of them all, the land is so good it doesn't need them).
The 14th (420 ish par 4) was probably the most penal hole i've ever seen, a tee shot over vegetation to a fairway you cannot see, with an approach shot on a hanging lie, to a green raised about 20m above you with a dune to the right and a drop off to the left. Golf is about error, but here there is no room for any, you are required to hit perfect shot after perfect shot. I played recently in the USA and lost 0 balls in 6 rounds, here I lost 7 in the first 14 holes and I think only 2 of them were actually deserved.
I think this place could be even more spectacular if it wasn't trying so hard to be tough. I couldn't imagine having to play here every week, I think i'd lose my mind. Beauty & the Beast.
Date: May 17, 2018