The course at Bercuit was originally intended to be the centrepiece of a mid-1960s real estate development, based on the American private golf model, so it was only natural that the person tasked with its design should be the doyen of US-based architects, Robert Trent Jones Snr.
Laid out in two returning circuits of nine, the fairways effortlessly hug the contours of a surprisingly hilly property, with lots of elevation change to negotiate from the first to last hole. And as the wooded terrain rarely permits sight of anything other than the hole being played, the challenges of the following hole are only revealed upon arrival at the next tee box.
The very short par three 5th is the undoubted highlight hole on the front nine, playing more than 100 feet downhill to a green surrounded on three sides by a marshy wetland area. Tee shots that are long, short or right are lost forever so golfers unable to find the putting surface must bail out to the left.
The back nine roller coaster ride continues in unrelenting fashion, with terrific doglegged holes encountered at 12 and 15. The 369-metre 16th is rightly regarded as the most difficult on the inward half as not too many golfers will be able to hit and hold a raised green that repels all but the most precise approach shot.Sadly, the Belgian Open – a former European Tour event – dropped off the professional golf circuit in 2000 but the competition still holds fond memories for José María Olazábal, who won the tournament here in 1988. Bercuit also hosted the European Ladies Masters from 1989 to 1994. Happily, the club reached 50 years of age in 2016 and so (as is customary in Belgium) the club automatically became a royal, heralding the start of a new regal era for Royal Bercuit Golf Club.,