Royal Zoute (Championship) - Belgium

Royal Zoute Golf Club,
Caddiespad 14,
B-8300 Knokke-Heist,
Belgium


  • +32 (0) 50 60 12 27

  • Jos Vankriekelsvenne

  • Harry Colt

  • François Gabias


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Royal Zoute

Belgium's Royal Zoute Golf Club is situated on the North Sea coast close to the Dutch border. It lies at the heart of an upmarket seaside resort called Knokke le Zoute (in French) or Knokke-Heist (in Dutch). Golf was first played here in 1899 as an offshoot of the Bruges Golf and Sports Club. Harry Colt redesigned the course in 1907 and the club then became known as the Knokke Golf Club in 1909. Royal title was granted in 1925 and, in the process, the club became known simply as Royal Zoute.

After the ravage of World War II, an Englishman – Lieutenant Colonel Allen – reinstated the Championship course and added a second layout now known as the Executive course. The Lippens family were the driving force behind the development of the club and Royal Zoute matured into one of the best links courses on the continent of Europe before it became a parkland/links hybrid due to the planting and subsequent encroachment of trees.

This now famous Championship course is still ostensibly a Harry Colt design with a traditionally British feel. Appearances can be deceptive at Royal Zoute. The greens are subtle and cleverly protected, and while the fairways look inviting and easy to hit, there are hummocks and contours that can, as on many seaside courses, take your ball to the places you least expect.

Nick Faldo described Royal Zoute as a "hidden gem" and many other distinguished players have played the layout, including Henry Cotton and Arnold Palmer. A number of Europe's Ryder Cup heroes have been successful at Royal Zoute, as it has played host to the Belgian Open on many occasions. Nick Faldo, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Lee Westwood have all emerged as winners.

With two loops of nine holes, Royal Zoute breaks from the traditional out-and-back layout seen at many courses from this era. With no weak holes and a strong stretch from the 5th to the 16th, this natural course will please not only the links lover but also those who prefer the softer aspect of trees (planted after WW2) which flank a number of fairways. The natural aspects of the course are its primary defences and the rough can be punishing. When the wind blows, you will need a wide range of shots and tactics to score well.

No trip to Belgium would be complete without playing one of the country's premier golf courses. Fortunately, visitors are warmly welcomed and the Club President, also the mayor of the town, is renowned for his cordiality. In addition to the main Championship course, there is also an 18-hole par 64 called the Executive course with small and tricky greens which simply adds to the enjoyment of Royal Zoute.

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Reviews for Royal Zoute (Championship)

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Description: Belgium's Royal Zoute Golf Club is situated near Knocke sur Mer on the North Sea coast and has been described by Nick Faldo as a "hidden gem". Rating: 5.9 out of 10 Reviews: 16
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Ory Johan
Overroepen. Absoluut niet nr 1 waard.
July 12, 2012
4 / 10
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2 people found this review helpful

Joey Chase
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Zoute" when I played there. It isn't a true links to me but rather quite interesting all the same. Kinda reminds me of Garden City Mens Club in that it isn't on the sea, but near it. It has trees but they are not really in play too much. And it doesn't have the heather of London's heathland tracks. It does have a very fun layout that must be a pleasure to get to know and try from different angles. As you'd expect from any Colt course. For the rate they get, it is fantastic value. Go enjoy it when you get the chance. Joey
March 04, 2010
8 / 10
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1 person found this review helpful

Bartels
Nice course but no Linkscourse at all. It's more a Parkfeeling with al the fancy villas arround. The course is good, greens in normal shape for this kind of course but no championship condition as this course used to have in the days of the Belgacom Open. Impressive clubhouse, but that did not make my day. I was expecting more of this course. If I look at the ratings given for this course I think they are not realistic!
January 30, 2010
6 / 10
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3 people found this review helpful

steve grainger
Top course and difinitely worthy of its status as one of Europes best - for the most part played in a heathland setting although holes 10 to 12 have a links feel. Reminded me of Chantilly although maybe not quite as good, but that would be splitting hairs. One odd thing is the mens tees are off yardage is about 6800 yds which is probably why there werent too many playing.
November 14, 2009
10 / 10
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RichardW
A cross between Sunningdale and Royal Lytham. Sensational course. Another Harry Colt masterpiece.
February 24, 2008
10 / 10
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Cédric
Knokke is one of those chic and fancy resorts on the Belgian coast… You would expect a lot of snobbery in a golf club with this location. Well, there isn’t even a touch of it! On the contrary, you get the feeling of a familial and holiday club. I had kept on postponing my visit because of the weather forecast these last weeks, but today was formidable and the whole experience was quite unique. The course is not overly long and not overly difficult but is real fun to play. With only one of the par 4s touching the 400 m barrier and 2 of the 4 par 5s reachable in 2, scoring well is not out of the question. But you need to stay out of the rough and trees. The par 3s on the other hand are rather long (2 are almost 200m). Greens were in pristine condition, as the rest of the course. It doesn’t really have a links feel as you never see the sea and the fairways are quite soft but probably plays like one when the wind is blowing. The clubhouse is superb too. I didn’t play the “small course” (par 64) but it certainly isn’t a pitch and putt course…Small and tricky greens await you there. Really a fantastic experience, and a well deserved place in the best European courses as well as in the new golf digest list (could even be higher there!!). Cédric
June 02, 2007
10 / 10
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