Updated: Sep 19, 2018
Please get in touch with me @linksgolfphotos or FB at Links Golf Photography for more details, copies of photographs (framed, unframed or jpg copies) and enquiries
Five of us arrived at Edinburgh airport shortly before 5am for the short KLM flight to Amsterdam/Schipol airport. First thing I would say (tip1) is that I wished we had travelled the previous day, an extra night in the hotel would have felt a lot more comfortable than getting up at 3:45am and playing golf the same day.
Thankfully the flight was on time and the baggage, passport control and car hire (mini bus) collection were all pretty smooth although the walk to the car hire pick up point is a at least 15 mins and the queue wasn't short, so build in some extra time if you need it !
SatNav in hand we set off for our hotel (the Golden Tulip) at the coastal resort of Noordwijk, around 45 mins from the airport. The drive was thankfully painless and we checked in, the rooms we were sharing were a little small and the bathroom exceptionally so making us wonder how the Dutch (who are very tall !) managed.
After a short turnaround we headed off to Noordwijkse Golfclub noting that the wind along the beach outside the hotel seemed particularly strong. We had a nice lunch at the clubhouse in an elevated position overlooking the links, watching as the flags bent in the 30mph breeze.
Day 1- Noordwijkse Golf Club (7/10)
A mixture of links and pine tree lined holes, this is a good course although the strong wind made it difficult to appreciate all the holes. The greens were in good condition and held the ball despite the conditions. The fairways were generally good although the many rabbit burrows often gathered our balls and made us wonder if the rabbits were hiding them deliberately. On a serious note so many deep burrows are a hazard and should be addressed, many a golfer has turned or broken an angle ! The first Par 3 surrounded by dunes and pines was a welcome break from the wind and enabled the first normal swings of the round. By the time we reached the turn the wind had got even stronger and the 9th saw me hit 3 half decent drivers, a 5 iron and hole a good putt for a bogey. Fair to say I will remember Noordwijkse for the weather more than the golf course. I would like to make a return visit on a calm day.
Day 2 - Utrecht de Pan (9/10)
After a decent breakfast we headed off for the 90 min drive inland to Utrecht de Pan (tip2), the traffic was heavy and the drive a bit long so make this your first port of call after landing or stay local and change hotels for the other courses. With the rain lashing across the windscreen we thought we were in for another bad weather day buy thankfully the rain cleared as we headed for the 1st tee.
Walking off on the 18th immediately commented to my playing partners "what a fantastic golf course". 18 holes of pine trees, heather, woodpeckers, deer and a mixture of strong par 4s, challenging par3s and playable Par5s made for one of the most enjoyable days golf i have played in a long time.
A couple of beers and a decent lunch on the clubhouse patio completed an great day as we headed for the rush hour drive back to our hotel.
As @ukgolfguy says in his review it is worth traveling to Holland just to play Utrecht de Pan
Day 3 - Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club (Royal Hague Golf Club) (8.5/10)
A shorter drive to the highly rated Royal Hague golf & country club and a nice welcome, an impressive clubhouse and some lunch on the terrace overlooking the 18th green. We headed out for an early afternoon tee time. In contrast to the comments coming of Utrecht de Pan my comment to my playing partners this time was something along the lines of "wow, that was such a difficult golf course". The upturned greens (in great condition although not running at full speed, thankfully !) and false fronts made accurate approaches with short irons and short game control a must to keep a game going around this course. We played off the yellows which was long and tough enough for our mixed handicap group. Checking the slope rating afterwards the White tees run at a slope of 157 (or around 76/77 sss) off a par 72.
Royal Hague is a great course but not for the fainthearted !
Day 4 - Kennemer (8.5/10)
Onto the last round of our trip at the highly rated Kennemer around a 30 min drive from our hotel. Again a highly imposing clubhouse with a relaxed welcome (tip3) whilst the clubs are all members clubs and don't necessarily get too many visitors they are very welcoming and relaxed. Kennemer is made up of 3 x 9s and we were playing the A/B layout. (tip 5) We chose the blue tees to accommodate the higher handicappers in the group who had struggled at Royal Hague, this proved to be a welcome decision and resulted in a few more birdies and short approaches particularly on the Par5s.
The greens were running slow but once we got the pace the putts began to drop. The front 9 (A) was a top quality set of holes, followed by a couple of weaker holes on the beggining of the back (B) 9 and then really strong finish from 15 through to 18. Overall a very enjoyable and playable course with a slight feel of Longniddry about it for those who know their East Lothian courses.
The visit was made even more enjoyable when the current President of the club came over to get our thoughts and thank us for visiting. We left with the impression that this was a course we would be happy to join and play over and over again
Overall a great trip, yes there is some driving involved and the weather in Holland can be variable, but for those wanting to make a trip "off the beaten" track of golf breaks this is a great option to play some exceptional courses.
Final (tip6) - get an agent who knows the courses and the area to book and organise for you, they will make the booking and organisation much easier.
Please get in touch with me @linksgolfphotos or FB at Links Golf Photography for more details, copies of photographs (framed, unframed or jpg copies) and enquiries.