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​Royal Limburg remains Backspin’s 2018 Belgian No.1

18 January, 2018
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Royal Limburg remains Backspin’s 2018 Belgian No.1

Every two years, Backspin, my company, launches a poll to make an objective Top 10 of golf courses in Belgium, contacting some two hundred correspondents in the wide range of “connoisseurs”. Their Top 10 lists receive points as in Formula 1 racing: 25 for the number one, 18 for the runner-up and then 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and finally 1 point.

The addition of all those points results in a new Backspin Best of Belgium.

The Backspin Best of Belgium 2018 revealed some interesting facts and important charges.

Like in the previous Backspin Best of Belgium, published in the beginning of 2016, Royal Limburg, formerly know as Limburg Golf & Country Club Houthalen, remained the Belgian number one.

The new name of the club came along with the 50th anniversary of the club. Once a sports club in Belgium reaches that age, it becomes Royal. There are thirteen Royal golf courses in Belgium at present.

A surprise (or maybe not) is the runner-up, Royal Ostend. The only real links course in Belgium went through a splendid upgrade in recent times and was honoured by our correspondents.

The Royal Golf Club of Belgium, aka Ravenstein, remained third. The course is in a constant evolution, prroceeding the right way.

Royal Waterloo, with its La Marache championship course, finished fourth, though the difference in points between Ravenstein and Royal Waterloo was not that big.

Hulencourt, the first non-Royal club in the list, is the prestigious number 5 in the Backspin Best of Belgium 2018. It gets the promotion from number 8 to number 6 due to its excellent maintenance and the club will upgrade its holes over the next two years, in time for the next Backspin Best of Belgium 2020.

Royal Antwerp, the third oldest golf course in Continental Europe (1888) – only Pau and Dinard in France are older – falls out of the Top 5 to number 6.

The relegation of Royal Zoute to number seven – once the Belgian number one and most of the time runner-up – is a result of the long time vision of the club to become more of an inland links with appropriate grasses. Therefore the quality of Royal Zoute was not as usual and resulted in that logical fall.

Royal Sart Tilman is the number 8 in our list. The club also has works in the pipeline, with several greens to be rebuilt.

The National is a newcomer on the Belgian golfscene. Opened last summer, the course is already included in the Top 10 at number 9, which is remarkable as the course has not been played by all the correspondents. It’s a real championship course with every potential to climb further in the Belgian rankings – a potential number one in the future?

Royal Fagnes-Spa, with the design of Tom Simpson still enduring, closes the Top Ten at number 10.

Due to the many responses of my correspondents, I can extend the list to a Top 20.

Royal Hainaut is the unluckiest of all as it didn’t make the Top 10 and has to accept 11th place. Similarly, Millennium Paal on 12 and Koksijde Golf ter Hille at 13 just miss out. Of course, all three clubs have the ambition to break into the glorious Belgian Top 10.

Royal Latem (14) and Royal Bercuit (15), the only Robert Trent Jones Snr course in Belgium, complete the Top 15.

Renovated and rerouted Rinkven, the arena of the Belgian Knockout on the European Tour (16), Damme (17), La Tournette (18), L’Empereur (19) and last, but not least, Naxhelet (20), designed by Martin Hawtree, completes our Backspin Best of Belgium 2018.

Xavier Champagne

Backspin Best of Belgium 2018

1. Royal Limburg (1)
2. Royal Ostend (5)
3. Ravenstein (3)
4. Royal Waterloo (4)
5. Hulencourt (10)
6. Royal Antwerp (6)
7. Royal Zoute (2)
8. Royal Sart Tilman 9)
9. The National (new)
10. Royal Fagnes-Spa (7)

11. Royal Hainaut (12)
12. Millennium Paal (8)
13. Koksijde Golf ter Hille (11)
14. Royal Latem (13)
15. Royal Bercuit (17)
16. Rinkven (18)
17. Damme (new)
18. La Tournette (14)
19. L’Empereur (new)
20. Naxhelet (new)

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