Located close to Antwerp city centre, the golf facility at Ternesse Golf & Country Club was founded in 1976, with 27 holes routed around a beautiful old 175-acre castle estate. The layout was originally designed by Harold Baker (who has a number of Belgian and French courses to his name) and it was renovated in the late 2010s to cater for new elements of challenge presented by modern playing equipment. Both Martin Hawtree and Dimitri van Hauwaert contributed towards planning this upgrade work at the club.
Today, the main 18-hole layout extends to 5,812 metres from the back tees, playing to a par of 71, with holes organized as two returning nines. Water comes into play on several holes, most prominently at the short par four 7th and par three 8th, where the greens are both protected by ponds. There’s also a little lake to be avoided to the front right of the putting surface on the par three 17th.
Other holes of note include birdie opportunities at the 9th and 18th, where both nines conclude next to the clubhouse with reachable par fives for big hitting golfers. There’s also a tough 3-hole sequence of par fours from hole 14 to 16 (rated stroke index 3, 1 and 7) which ends with the 352-metre 16th bending left past a large bunker complex towards a heavily sand-protected green.
Ternesse is a fine example of a friendly, well maintained parkland course of the corporate and modern kind. The routing is ok, but some of the holes feel a bit cramped. That’s also the case for some of the drives, especially on the tee shots of the par 5s which provides defence for these holes which are not necessarily long in length. Other defences included many doglegs, and water hazards in any shape and size to negotiate with either a forced/heroic carry or to provide a strategic decision on teeshots.
Worthy of remark were the amount of bunkers facing their low sides towards the green, which felt a bit awkward and also got repetitive. So you’d expect it would be easy to get it out of the bunker thanks to the lack of a lip in your way, but there would actually be many down hill lies. Not sure if that was aimed for.
Ternesse is not a course that provides a particularly lasting memory, but you do enjoy playing it. Especially the back nine which boasts some variety and quality holes, a couple of fun green complexes and scenic interest. The only disappointment was that we weren’t actually able to see the castle that was promised to be visible. After due discussion, we decided not to substract any points for this.