Review for Wouwse Plantage

Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Review:

Wouwse Plantage is an interesting course in the deep south of the Netherlands, consisting of the Plantage (the original Pennink 9) and Bleekloop (Rolin extension) loops, which do not play in a particular order. I started off at the Bleekloop though, so I’ll start from there. The first is a drive and pitch hole with an extreme new green at a 90 degree angle from the tee. An aggressive drive leads to short pitch, but is it worth the risk? There’s ample room on the left, but it leaves a difficult second. The course then gives you some room to grow into your round, although there are some difficult teeshots and lateral water hazards to be negotiated. The landscape is nice and open, the holes attractive and the green complexes nicely shaped. Most people however will prefer the Plantage loop, which is laid on an exhilarating, densely wooded heathland parcel. After a gentle start with a nicely bunkered reachable par 4, followed by an engaging long two-shotter requiring two quality shots and a long par 3 in open land, all within sight of the lovely classic clubhouse looking out over the fields of heather. The drive on the takes you into the forest for the first time with an uphill shot. The next couple of holes are carved through the forest. Especially the 5th would benefit from further tree clearance as it is the most claustrophobic hole on the course, while it does require a long straight drive, well positioned for the approach to a crowned green with runoffs and the corridor getting narrower towards the green. The vista towards the 6th and 9th green with its pretty water hazard is nicely done.

The 6th and 7th are my favorite holes on the entire course. The 6th is a long treelined par 5 with an impressive, layered and raised green complex. The highlight of the round comes at the par 37th, which has enjoyed a transformation by restoring the natural blowout landscape one needs to carry in order to reach the green, nestled and sunken into a dune. It looks amazing and could be a standout hole anywhere.

The 8th is a quirky, blind teeshot par 4 fading gently to the right and the finish is a proper two shotter, to – unfortunately – an over the top shaped green sharp against the edge of an typical Steensels (american style?) water hazard. It looks too modern, too unnatural to fit the rest of the course.

That is my main negative takeaway from Wouwse. In general, I do like the renovation. There are a lot of postives such as the tree clearance program, the wonderful 7th of the Plantage and the tasteful bunker renovations. The Steensels style fits well on the Bleekloop loop. The renovation has clearly taken the course to a higher level. On the flip side, Steensels imo has tried too hard to press his mark on the course by incorporating extreme, over the top greens (Plantage 18, Bleekloop 1, hazards and illfitting styling of hazards, bunkers perching the edges of the water hazards. This has likely cost a lot of money and could likely have been spent more wisely. I’m sure many will marvel and enjoy the looks of it though. It just doesnt fit the classic feel of the course and I don’t love the style personally.

If you remember anything from this review, don’t let it bet be my mixed feelings on the renovation though. Wouwse Plantage is a really good and pretty course, its presentation is excellent and in my opinion its worthy of a top 15 spot in the Netherlands.

MO

Date: October 22, 2021


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