Top 100 Golf Courses revises its 2014 Benelux rankings
Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are the latest European countries to receive a Top 100 ranking review
24 January 2014
Top 100 Golf Courses has been ranking courses in the union of the three Benelux states of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands since 2008. The Benelux region may well be small in size but in golfing terms the area supports around 300 golf courses and certainly punches well above its weight.
In the last eighteen months we have luckily added two very interesting sand based courses: Stippelberg, from Michiel van der Vaart and Philip Spogárd – which has already won several awards including course of the year – and Swinkelsche, from Frank Pont, which has received strong praise from golf course architecture enthusiasts among others. The other fairly new course that has broken into our rankings for the first time is The International from Bruno Steensels and Ian Woosnan. This course is ideally located under the skirt of Amsterdam in between the city centre and the airport and it’s a modern clockwise/counter clockwise routing that’s championship ready and can stretch to some 6,600+ metres. Logistically it’s perfectly set up to host major events and has already successfully hosted the Deloitte Ladies Open in 2013.
At the top there is always a tight and highly debated struggle for the best course in NL. This year the Noordwijkse Golf Club has again edged out Royal Hague for that top spot. It should be noted that Royal Hague is making excellent progress following the renovations a few years ago and, together with some excellent maintenance, has really shaped up the course, which played the best this year that I’ve ever seen it playing before. The Noordwijkse is also busy with renovations and the complicated process of trying to attain the permits for these. The coming years will see a lot of enhancements that will strengthen its routing as well.
Kennemer and Utrechtse De Pan round out the Top 4, which in fact stand above all other golf courses in The Netherlands. I believe the clubs also appreciate this and are working hard to improve the already fantastic layouts they maintain.
Three designers are responsible for nine of our Top 10 Belgian golf courses. Harry Colt's Royal Zoute once again holds the top spot, followed by courses from Tom Simpson and Hawtree Ltd. These big architectural names ensure that visitors to Belgium can enjoy some solid classical courses.
In 1991, Japanese architect Iwao Uematsu (who we confess to knowing little about) designed the Kikuoka golf course within the 250-acre Scheierhaff Estate for the Kikuoka family, who own numerous courses in their native Japan. Kikuoka has headed our Luxembourg table since we started ranking European golf courses. Interestingly, in 2008, the club added a six-hole short course, which is routed through a former orchard and uniquely features fully synthetic sand filled greens and tees.
Golf in Luxembourg started at Golf Club Grand Ducal de Luxembourg in 1935 and we felt it was high time to add this venerable classic to our listings. Laid out by a Major J. C. Symonds, it’s said that the architect received inspiration from Tom Simpson, who was working on a number of projects in the Benelux countries at that time.
Click the link to see our latest Netherlands Top 20 in detail.
Click the link to see our latest Belgian Top 15 in detail.
24 January 2014 Respond to this article