Hilversumsche is defined by its collection of long par fours that could give you nightmares if you start missing the heather-lined fairways. The club – naturally a traditional one but very welcoming to visitors – celebrated the centenary of Henry Burrows’ original nine holes in 2017, before Harry Colt added a second nine 10 years later. Since Colt – so revered in the Netherlands – left Hilversum in the 1920s, Guy Campbell and, most recently, Kyle Phillips have both made modifications.
It has hosted the Dutch Open on more than one occasion and these days is a real test even for strong players. Indeed this is a course of relentless questions, notably from the tee but also around its greens.
Off the back tees, only the very strong player won’t have to pound long irons or fairway woods into the greens of the portfolio of long par 4s. And yet remarkably, the strength of Hilversum is that while it is undoubtably a stringent examination, it does not feel like too much of a slog.
Phillips cleared some trees and one imagines it was well worth engaging the cerebral American to tidy up this effortlessly good heathland into one of Europe’s best.
There are shades of the Three Ws of Woking, Worplesdon and West Hill about Hilversum, which would certainly not feel out of place in England. Without our Continental No.2 Utrecht de Pan nearby, one might very well think even more of this fine heathland course.
Even so, it is still one of the very best courses on the Continent.