The Hague or Den Haag (in Dutch) is known as the “Legal Capital of the World”, thanks to the likes of the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court. With royal palaces and regular music festivals, the Hague could never be labelled as a boring city but, with Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club located nearby, and Noordwijkse and Kennemer a little further along the coast, the Hague could be the most exciting links golfing destination on mainland Europe.
Golfers worldwide first sampled the delights of this royal club in 1963 when Byron Nelson played Gerry de Wit in one of the earliest games during the popular “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” series of televised challenge matches.
The similarity between this section of Dutch linksland and that of the British coastline is uncanny. Even though the Koninklijke Haagsche Golf Club was founded way back in 1893, we must thank the design firm of Colt, Alison and Morrison Ltd. for today’s legacy, with the course opening for play in 1939. According to a column in Het Ochtendblad (The Morning Paper) printed in October 1939, Captain Alison designed the course, but couldn't be present for the official opening as he lived overseas.
It’s an exacting layout which pitches and rolls across undulating land. You can be forgiven for having a lack of balance at Haagsche because you’ll find many uneven lies. Host venue for the Dutch Open on numerous occasions (the last was back in 1981), Haagsche is course that cannot fail to impress links traditionalists.
Top-flight professional golf returned to Royal Haagsche in 2010. The inaugural Van Lanschot Senior Open was hosted here in the Hague and Englishman George Ryall prevailed, claiming his maiden European Senior Tour title. Irishman Des Smyth claimed the 2011 title in thrilling fashion with a brilliant final round of 65 then Japan's Masahiro Kuramoto won the 2012 event with an even par aggregate score of 216, beating Andrew Oldcorn by two strokes.
It makes a pleasant change to find great links courses outside Britain and Ireland, so get your skates on and discover this stretch of North Sea coastline for yourself. You won't be disappointed by the quality of golf that's on offer.
November 12, 2011