Lochemse Golf & Country Club, known locally as “De Graafschap,” was established in 1987, some fifty years after the local mayor proposed such a facility for the local people living in the small market town of Lochem.
W. van Luttervelt, son of the former mayor, and C. W. H. van Dam, who owned “The Hameland” farmland property in Lochem, joined forces to form the new club but it took a further six years before a 9-hole course was unveiled in 1993.
The old farmhouse building was converted into a clubhouse (ten years later it would be further extended) and the new facility was off and running. In 1995, another nine holes were added to complete a full size 18-hole layout.
Renowned Belgian architect Bruno Steensels of MasterGolf International added a 3-hole practice course at the start of the new millennium and this development has since allowed the club to introduce many hundreds of junior golfers to the game.
The course stretches to 6,001 metres from the back tees and it’s characterised by subtle changes in elevation as the tight fairways weave around several man-made water hazards, with several holes doglegging to the target off the tee.
Back-to-back par fives arrive early in the round at holes 2 and 3 and the 343-metre 7th requires special care as stray tee shots will catch ponds on either side of the fairway. The semi-blind, bunkerless green at the 135-metre 8th is probably the most memorable feature on the front nine.Like the 7th hole, water to the left and right of the landing area at the 12th is a visual threat from the teebox. The long, narrow, double doglegged 15th is an even tougher hole on the inward half (rated stroke index 1) with a large tree on the right side of the fairway obscuring approach shots to the green.
Lochemse is located at a typical dutch side: very flat, heath here and there and inside a little forest.
Already while driving to the course I could see what the course would present to me. Most holes have trees to the left and right, but a few holes were also fairly wide open like 18. But even with trees left and right there is always a good amount of space. Therefore slight mishits usually don´t get penalized. But two or three tee shots come out of quite a small gate.
The course offers a lot of dogleg holes both right and left. I think some of them were pretty cool. Although the course is absolutely fair to play, you have to put the ball in the right place off the teebox to get a clean look for the green. Otherwise you will have a hard time to scramble for par with trees blocking the way to the green.
Overall though, I would agree with the review before, that the course lacks a little bit of something special or signature holes. It really is fairly easy to play which is not bad at all. The greens don´t have a lot of break. If you asked me for signature holes: 2 with a huge left turn and the 8, as described with a blind shot, are pretty cool. But definitely nothing I will remember in a year or so.
Anyways the maintenance in my eyes, especially in comparison to the green fee, is fabulous. The greens in my eyes had the optimum speed where they are fast, but still predictable and fair to play for amateur players especially if you are coming from a slower pace greens. The fairways in front of the greens are cut super short and here and there you have to look closely to find out if this is still fairway or green. I think that was really fun, because if you landed short of the green you had one hell of a tight lie for you chip and you could generate a massive amount of spin off those lies. Also worth mentioning are the bunkers. Wow. They were just pure. Best I have seen outside the absolute top courses.
So all in all the course design lacks of something special without the course being boring. It´s a pretty course though and the maintenance is great especially if you consider the dry summer we had in continental Europe. Therefore I can absolutely see this course being in the top 25 in Netherlands.
I wasn't too impressed on my last visit here. It's ok and some of the holes have some nice risk-reward challenges in them, but overall I found the course to be not so difficult. The course usually plays rather soft and the fairways are quite broad. Add no relevant elevation-changes or daunting bunkers and an up and down is quickly made.