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Royal Fagnes

Spa, Région Wallonne
Spa, Région Wallonne
Rankings
  • AddressChem. du Golf 1, 4900 Spa, Belgium
  • Championships hosted

Spa is naturally the spa town of Belgium, home to the famous hot healing mineral springs which are considered healing waters. The town today is more famous for the mineral water producer of the same name and Spa is also home to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which hosts the annual Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.

There has been a golf course at Spa for at least 100 years but the course we play today at Royal Golf Club des Fagnes was laid out at great expense and it was designed by the flamboyant English architect, Tom Simpson, and his partner Philip Mackenzie Ross. In 1930 the new course was ready for play with nine holes routed across the sandy heath which was the site of the original Spa course and the other nine was carved through the adjoining pine forest.

The opening of the new course at Spa was marked by a professional tournament which attracted some top names. Many of the competing pros likened the new course at Spa to the wonderful heathland courses to the west of London and so Fagnes became known as “a Belgian Sunningdale”. Henry Cotton won the inaugural event and remarked “I think the golf course at Spa is one of the best I have seen in Europe… it will be the finest on the continent in a year or two.”

Each hole at Royal Fagnes has its own character and the two nines, although contrasting – front nine in the woods and the back nine in the heather – make up one of the most beautiful 18-holers in Belgium.

Tom Doak made a point of visiting Royal GC des Fagnes in 2017 and awarded the course a rating of six out of ten. He commented as follows in his Christmas 2017 Confidential Guide update:

“Golf de Spa had been near the top of my list of courses to play for two decades, but thunderstorms only allowed us to walk it in the rain on the last day of my trip to Germany and Belgium. With five par3’s and five par-5’s, it plays even shorter than what the scorecard says, but it’s still hard to score: every time there is a downhill approach shot, the green falls away to the back and to one side. Standout holes include the par-5 opener, the 5th with its careening, sidehill approach, the short 6th with a wicked green, and the 250-meter par-4 17th with no easy way to get your ball to stay on the green.”

Spa is naturally the spa town of Belgium, home to the famous hot healing mineral springs which are considered healing waters. The town today is more famous for the mineral water producer of the same name and Spa is also home to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which hosts the annual Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.

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Course Architect

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Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson spent only five years as a barrister before leaving behind the stifling offices at the Temple in London for a career as a golf course architect with Herbert Fowler in 1910.

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