What a lovely location for a golf course – or two courses, actually, as Oudenaarde boasts two 18-hole layouts, the Kasteel and the Anker. Situated in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes, half an hour’s drive from Ghent, the golf and country club estate is dominated by a magnificent clubhouse, the old Petegem Castle, which dates back to 1847.
It’s a grand building in which to relax after a game, either in the bar, the restaurant or out on the sunny terrace overlooking the 18th hole on the Kasteel layout. Both courses are laid out in serene parkland settings with holes only ever revealed upon arrival at the tee, which offers a lovely sense of seclusion from the outside world.
The Kasteel is a very user-friendly track, measuring just under 5,900 metres, which will not overly tax the 1,300 members currently attached to the club. There’s an early whimsical element to proceedings with the green to the par three 2nd obscured by a couple of mounds in the style of the “Brigitte Bardot” hole at Royal Marrakesh and the par three 4th is protected to the front left of the putting surface by a beach bunker that sits above a pond by the side of the green.
I’m sure the hole sequence has been changed over the years as the present 9th plays away from the clubhouse with a starters hut located next to the teeing ground (surely it used to be the 10th?) and there’s quite a walk to and from the loop of holes that now plays as the 13th to the 17th. The short par four 12th is a terrific hole on the back nine but the best is kept until last at the par five 18th when golfers catch the first real glimpse of the castle as the hole bends gently right to the home green under the clubhouse terrace.
Date: June 05, 2018