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Top 25 Golf Courses of The Netherlands 2016

12 January, 2016

Top 25 Golf Courses of The Netherlands 2016

We extend our coverage of golf in The Netherlands by adding another five courses

There are some who would argue that the world has The Netherlands to thank for inventing the game of golf because the sport of kolven was played back in the 13th century in the Low Countries, with participants using long, un-lofted clubs and balls made of wool, covered in leather.

Not that the Scots would ever admit it, of course, but there’s every chance that traders returning across the North Sea to the East coast of Scotland brought the idea of playing such an outdoor game back home with them and this evolved into the game that’s played all over the globe today.

The Netherlands Golf Federation has administered the sport in its home country since it was formed in 1914 and nowadays it oversees the golfing activities of more than 370,000 members who play the game on over 200 golf courses spread throughout the nation.

We’ve been ranking Dutch courses biennially since 2008 and have gradually increased our coverage, adding an extra five courses in both the last edition of our chart and this one, so we now feature a total of twenty-five courses for The Netherlands.

Climbing one place to number 1 in our latest listings, the links layout at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club is an old Harry Colt and CH Alison redesign from the late 1930s that was recently renovated by Frank Pont. Currently listed at number 2 in our Continental Europe chart, the course has also been elevated into our World Top 100 so why it has only managed to attract a paltry half a dozen reviews in the last nine years is a complete mystery.

Another Harry Colt course rises two positions to number 2 and it’s Utrecht de Pan, where the fairways were carved through beautiful tracts of pine, birch and oak trees back in the late 1920s, creating one of the prettiest heathland courses in Europe. Again, Frank Pont has been instrumental in breathing new life into this old masterpiece and it too rides very high in our recently updated European Top 100 chart.

Remaining at number 3, Kennemer Golf & Country Club was Harry Colt’s first project in The Netherlands back in 1927, when he routed a new 18-hole course for the club and designed a third nine hole circuit that Frank Pennink would eventually construct for the club in the mid-1980s. Yet again, Frank Pont has been involved in restoration work here so we can see a definite pattern emerging, where sympathetic upgrade work translates into positive ranking activity for all three of our top Dutch tracks.

Two other courses make upward moves within the top 10 positions in our updated standings: Lage Vuursche (up two to number 7) is a modern Kyle Phillips design that’s been described by one reviewer as “right up there with the classic Dutch courses” and the International in Amsterdam (up two to number 10) is a more recent 18-hole layout from Ian Woosnam and Belgian architect Bruno Steensels, which our correspondent David Davis felt was a solid design when he visited.

Further down the new chart, three other courses each climb two places in the right direction. The Championship layout at Swinkelsche (at number 12) is an original design by Frank Pont, the North layout at Goyer Golf and Country Club (at number 15) is a Bruno Steensels offering and the beautiful woodland track at Herkenbosch Country Club (at number 17) is where Johan Dudok van Heel carved the fairways out of a pine forest.

There are five new entries in our expanded Top 25 listings and the first one, Lochemse, arrives at number 20. Known locally as “De Graafschap,” this course opened initially as a 9-hole layout in 1993 before nine extra holes were added two years later. The next newcomer is Lauswolt at number 21, which Martin Ebert doubled in size when he worked for Donald Steel back in the 1990s and Martin’s design company returned there last year to install new fairway bunkers.

At number 22, the North and East nines at Het Rijk Nunspeet form a late 1980s layout that was fashioned from the drawing board of Belgian architect Paul Rolin and this track is followed at number 23 by our penultimate debutant, the century-old links layout at Domburgsche. It was here on this historically important old track that the 8th edition of the Dutch Open was held back in 1921.

The final new course to make the Top 25 cut for The Netherlands is Dommel, where Frank Pennink in 1979 and Johan Dudok van Heel in 1984 separately laid out the nines. Frank Pont, whose architectural influence is becoming more prevalent with each passing year in his home country, has recently carried out work to upgrade the layout, adding six new holes to twelve of the old holes. Expect to hear more about this newly revamped course in times to come.

As ever, we’re open to receive criticism, good or bad, when we publish new national rankings so feel free to tell us what you think of our new Top 25 for The Netherlands. Are you happy with our new No 1 or has Noordwijkse taken too much of a tumble from the top spot? Maybe we’ve omitted a track (like Efteling or Twente) that really should be ranked or perhaps we’ve included a layout that doesn’t deserve national recognition? Please click the “respond to this article” link at the top or bottom of this page if you’d like to share your opinion.

Rank Course Move
1 Koninklijke Haagsche Up 1
2 Utrecht de Pan Up 2
3 Kennemer No change
4 Noordwijkse Down 3
5 Eindhoven No change
6 Hilversumsche No change
7 Lage Vuursche Up 2
8 Rosendaelsche Down 1
9 The Dutch Down 1
10 International Amsterdam Up 2
11 Noord-Brabantsche - Toxandria Down 1
12 Swinkelsche (Championship) Up 2
13 Hoge Kleij No change
14 Stippelberg (Championship) Down 3
15 Goyer (North) Up 2
16 Wouwse Plantage Down 1
17 Herkenbosch Up 2
18 Houtrak No change
19 Broekpolder Down 3
20 Lochemse New entry
21 Lauswolt New entry
22 Het Rijk van Nunspeet (North & East) New entry
23 Domburgsche New entry
24 Geijsteren Down 4
25 Dommel New entry

To view the complete detailed list of the Top 25 Golf Courses of The Netherlands 2016 click the link.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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