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Top 30 Golf Courses of Belgium 2023

31 January, 2023
Jim McCann

Top 30 Golf Courses of Belgium 2023

It’s almost three years since we updated our Benelux charts so it’s high time they were reappraised. We made a recent covid-delayed trip to Belgium to visit some highly ranked Royal courses and a few other well-regarded “commoners” so we’re aware of the very high standards set in the upper echelons of the new listings. We also have a new rating panel in place and these participants have helped identify another handful of top tracks worthy of inclusion. That now allows us to publish a Top 30 for Belgium, representing almost 40% of all the courses in play across the nation.

Royal Antwerp

Some might think it fitting that the oldest club in Belgium should now have its course rise one place to the number 1 spot. Royal Antwerp dates back to 1888 but the club moved to its current location just before the start of World War I, when Willie Park Junior set out a course which Tom Simpson redesigned in 1930. There are actually twenty-seven holes in operation here at Kapellen but it’s the Tom Simpson wooded heathland eighteen that hog all the limelight, with sandy-soiled fairways weaving through heather and pine trees.

The course has prospered greatly in recent years thanks to an intensive tree management programme, prompting a recent reviewer to make the following pertinent remark: “It really is such a success story that deserves full recognition for the club having the will to restore the course back to its original design intent… there are one or two other classic Simpson courses in Belgium that might yet benefit from such an undertaking. One can but hope that other clubs are taking note.” 

Royal Limburg

The course at Royal Limburg in Houthalen inexplicably nose-dived when the last edition of our chart was produced, dropping five places to number 7. Well, that shock move has now been completely reversed, with the course rising back up to the runner-up position, tucked in behind Royal Antwerp. Originally designed by Fred Hawtree in the mid-1960s then modified by his son Martin in the new millennium, the layout has recently undergone an impressive bunker renovation by Bruno Steensels which has greatly improved both the aesthetics and playability of the course.

A reviewer from a couple of months ago commented: “if you love your golfing experience, I strongly recommend you visit and play at Royal Limburg: you will not be disappointed.” Another person posted during the summer to commend the ongoing arboreal management programme: “my host pointed out where further tree clearance had taken place recently and there’s no doubt the views in the wooded sections of the course have been improved immeasurably.”

Royal Fagnes

The only other upward move in the Top 10 is made by the 18-hole layout at Royal Fagnes, rising one spot to number 7. Designed by Tom Simpson and Philip Mackenzie Ross when they were in partnership in 1930, the course has long since been overlooked as a host venue for the Belgian Open – seven editions were staged here from the 1930s to 1950s – but the tree-lined fairways offer modern day players an intimate game of golf in the forest close to the famous town of Spa, within a valley in the Ardennes mountains.

A review from a few months back stated: “Spa’s a ‘sleeping beauty’ for some and others may think it’s too short in the modern era but they’re missing the point somewhat: it’s really a throw back in time to a bygone era when life was a lot simpler – and trees lining the fairways weren’t as overgrown as they are now! The holes are beautifully routed across tumbling terrain as two returning nines (but) it would seem a bit more sensible to reverse the playing order.”


Further down the new table, the course at Naxhelet Golf Club near Liège was a new entry at number 20 last time we revised the rankings and now it advances three places to number 17. Designed by Martin Hawtree with a total of thirty holes in play (an 18-hole championship-standard course, 9-hole pitch-and-putt layout and 3-hole academy track), the golf facility is located on the heights of Huy, overlooking the Meuse and Mehaigne valleys. There’s also a comfortable 28-room hotel on site, tastefully furnished with local materials like Ardennes oak and Hainaut marble.

Extending to almost 6,300 metres from the back tees, the 18-hole course plays to a par of 72, with holes arranged across a gently undulating landscape as two returning nines. Water hazards appear at several holes on the back nine, most prominently between the 11th and 12th fairways and close to the greens of the last two holes.


The South course at Rinkven Golfclub in Gravenwezel has featured in our Belgian rankings since 2016 and it’s now joined by the North course which is the first of our five new entries at number 18. Formed as Antwerp International Golf & Country Club in the 1980s with 27 holes designed by Paul Rolin, the club developed its already impressive infrastructure by adding another nine holes in 2006 then carrying out a major redesign a decade later to accommodate an enormous new clubhouse. Russel Tally from Hawtree Ltd was the architect behind these latest improvements to both 18-hole courses.

To be honest, there’s not much to choose between the two 18-hole layouts that are now in play, evidenced by the fact that major professional tournaments are staged on a composite 18-hole layout incorporating the best holes from both the North and South courses. Highlights on the North include all the par three holes, especially those at the water-laden 5th, 12th, and 15th.

To view the entire detailed list of our latest Top 30 Golf Courses of Belgium click the link. View list here.

If you have any comment to make on the above chart then please use the “Write a Response” button at the bottom of this page.

Jim McCann


Top 100 Golf Courses


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