When I told a few of my golf buddies last summer that I was going to tour Belgium and the Netherlands with my sticks and some good mates from the Outpost Club, they regarded me with a mix of curiosity and concern. “Are the courses there any good?” one asked. “Wouldn’t it be better to check out the clubs around London?” inquired another. “It’s not that far away.”
Two Bunkers by Harry S. Colt, representing the then-new natural style, 1914Golf Illustrated & Outdoor America, The Stuyvesant Company
One good pal suggested that I leave my clubs behind and concentrate instead on the things he knew were really world class in that part of the world.
“There are great microbreweries in Belgium,” he said. “And the hash bars in Amsterdam cannot be beat.”
I concurred, having visited both those countries in my reckless youth. But I was also confident that what I was about to discover as a golfer was as good if not better than anything else found there. That is because I was set to play a handful of heathland-style courses designed by the great English architect Harry S. Colt, among them Royal Zoute in Belgium and a foursome of great repute in the Netherlands that included Utrechtse Golf Club and Kennemer, as well as Eindhovensche and Royal Hague. Each is routed on well-contoured, sand-based soil near the North Sea, and they are regularly ranked among the top 100 courses in Continental Europe.
That those tracks should be so highly regarded is not surprising when you conside...
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