Golf In Holland

It’s been argued in the past that Holland brought golf into the world though the game of kolven, which was played as far back as the 13th century in the Low Countries, with players using long, un-lofted clubs made of strong wooden shafts and a heavy metal head.

The object was to propel a ball made of wool and covered in leather towards a marker post within a purpose-built indoor court, though there are many Dutch paintings in existence that show the game also being played outdoors on frozen canals and rivers in the winter – perhaps kolven was really just an early version of ice hockey?

In the modern era, Holland Golf Federation has been administering the sport since its formation in 1914 and it now looks after the golfing interests of more than 370,000 registered members who play the game on more than 200 courses around the country.

Where To Play In Holland

Where to play in Holland

There are plenty of newly constructed courses dotted around Holland. Unfortunately, not all of them are open to green fee paying guests. 2 recently opened layouts in particular – the Dutch, near Rotterdam, and The International, next to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – are highly ranked in the national tables but inaccessible to non-members.

On the other hand, it’s possible to play the modern Kyle Phillips-designed course at Lage Vuursche, situated close to Utrecht, if the club is given advance notice. Kyle is one of the most sought after modern architects in world golf and his layout is regarded as one of the best new millennium tracks in Europe.

Other recently unveiled courses that should be considered for a game include the Championship courses on either side of Eindhoven at Swinkelsche and Stippelberg and – of slightly older 1990s vintage – the Goyer (North) and Houtrak 18-hole layouts that lie to the northwest and southeast of Amsterdam.

Koninklijke Haagsche

KONINKLIJKE HAAGSCHE

Although the club can trace its origins back to 1893, the course at Koninklijke Haagsche (Royal Hague) is a little less antiquated as Harry Colt laid it out in 1938. Much of the credit for the layout actually belongs to CH Alison, one of Colt’s design partners, who worked on most of his overseas projects. More recently, Frank Pont conducted a very successful restoration project at the club.

The narrow fairways occupy a wonderful stretch of linksland to the north of The Hague, with holes pitching and rolling through undulating sand hills towards greens that are often raised and surrounded by deep, menacing bunkers. It’s a real shot maker’s paradise, where sound strategic decisions need to be made at every hole.

The Dutch Open was last played here in 1981 but the European Seniors Tour pitched up in 2010 for a tournament known as the Van Lanschot Senior Open. This event was the precursor to the Dutch Senior Open, which moved on to The International after 3 years at Koninklijke Haagsche.

Koninklijke Haagsche measures 6,240 metres, playing to a par of 72.

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Noordwijkse

NOORDWIJKSE

The links layout at Noordwijkse is the youngest of our 6 featured courses for Holland, debuting in 1969. The layout is situated 5km to the north of the club’s former course, which Harry Colt re-designed in the late 1920s when he added 9 new holes to the original 9 that had been in play for around 15 years.

A new housing development was the reason for the club’s move along the coastline, but it has never looked back since Frank Pennink routed the new 18-layout through a beautifully contoured 150-acre property amongst the sand dunes and pine forests that characterise this part of the country.

The club has hosted the Dutch Open 9 times in total and the last of these was in 2001 when Bernhard Langer won the trophy for the third time, 17 years after his first victory in the tournament. Some of the complimentary comments made by golfers who have played here recently include: “an absolutely superb course,” “definitely worth playing” and “overall, an excellent links”.

Noordwijkse measures 6,317 metres, playing to a par of 72.

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Kennemer

KENNEMER

Kennemer was formed in 1910, next to the popular seaside town of Zandvoort, which is probably better known for its motor racing circuit. The club called in Harry Colt to redesign its original 9-hole track in 1926 and the resulting 18-hole layout was the architect’s first project in Holland.

Frank Pennink added another 9-hole loop (using an original Colt routing) in the mid-1980s, so the club is now in the fortunate position of having a marvellous 27-hole links complex at its disposal, comprising the A (Van Hengel) nine, B (Pennink) nine and C (Colt) nine.

Members normally play the B and C circuits – where the B nine runs in an anti-clockwise direction around the inner C – but the Dutch Open is contested over a composite course when it’s held here, using holes from each of the 3 nines. There’s so much history at Kennemer, both on and off the course, and many will remember it as the place where Seve Ballesteros won his first professional tournament in 1976.

Kennemer measures 6,036 metres, playing to a par of 72.

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Utrecht de Pan

UTRECHT DE PAN

Founded in 1894, Utrecht De Pan is the second oldest golf club in the country – beaten by 1 year to the title of oldest by Koninklijke Haagsche. Like its old golfing adversary on the coast, De Pan possesses a fabulous Harry Colt design, with fairways laid out through beautiful stands of pine, birch and oak trees in 1929.

Indeed, the course lies in splendid isolation within a wonderful forested landscape and many think it’s the prettiest of all courses in Holland. Golfers who have also played the great English heathland tracks (such as the Old course at Sunningdale or the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa) see close similarities in both the layout and playing conditions at De Pan.

Frank Pont had been instrumental in breathing new life into this old masterpiece in recent years and De Pan is a course that should be on every golfer’s “must play” list. The club is very private (and it’s quite hard to find the entrance to the course) but limited weekly visitor play is permitted Monday to Thursday.

Utrecht de Pan measures 6,085 metres, playing to a par of 72.

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Hilversumsche

HILVERSUMSCHE

In the 1950s, Sir Guy Campbell modified another Colt design from the 1920s, when he added 9 holes to the original heathland course at Hilversumsche Golf Club in the 1950s. More recently, Kyle Phillips remodelled 10 of the greens and lengthened the layout. So, on an already tight course, golfers now need to hit it long as well as straight.

A round starts and finishes with demanding par 5 holes and in between there are many exacting holes, most notably the back-to-back par 4 holes at the 3rd and 4th on the front nine and the 15th and 16th on the back nine. Surprisingly for a championship track, 3 of the 4 par-3s measure less than 160 yards from the back markers.

The Dutch Open has been held at Hilversumsche no fewer than 27 times down the years and the last occasion was in 2012 when Peter Hanson finished on 14 under par, overcoming 4 players who had held the lead at the beginning of the final round to win by 2 strokes.

Hilversumsche measures 6,311 metres, playing to a par of 72.

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Eindhoven

EINDHOVEN

Situated to the south of Eindhoven, less than 15 kilometres from the border with Belgium, Eindhovensche Golf Club was established in 1930 by Anton Philips, brother of the founder of the iconic Philips Electrical Company. Within months of the club’s formation, members were playing a wonderful woodland course created by none other than Harry Colt.

Laid out within a heavily forested landscape, the fairways – many of which dogleg right or left off the tee – are routed around a number of ponds and streams, with strategically placed bunkers protecting the cunningly contoured greens. For seasoned observers, it’s all very reminiscent of the sort of high quality golf that’s played out on many of Surrey’s heathland tracks.

The club hosted the Dutch Open 6 times between 1947 and 1970 and the 1st edition of the European Amateur Championship was held here in 1986. More recently, the Dutch Ladies Open on the LPGA Tour has been contested at Eindhoven, with Gwladys Nocera winning two of the four events in 2007 and 2008.

Eindhoven measures 6,303 metres, playing to a par of 72.

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