The youngest seaside course in the Netherlands to get into our Continental Top 100, by some distance, is Noordwijkse. One of the members initially laid out the course in 1972 after the club moved from their original site due to it being acquired for housing. Frank Pennink was then engaged to smooth the edges of a course that enjoys a dramatic, wild setting. By all accounts, it may well be the last course to get planning permission in this part of the world, which is certainly golf’s loss.
Standing outside the clubhouse and surveying the scene is a great experience, one that will be familiar with anyone who has played on some of our own great seaside courses – notably at Colt’s great Cornish creation, Trevose.
One of Noordwijkse’s strongest suits is its unspoilt surroundings; and the sense of an epic canvas as you survey the landscape before you.
After a moderate opening hole – where you’re main task is to avoid hitting into the driving range – Noordwijkse really comes to life on the 2nd, where you must play through a saddle after the drive and then find a green defended by a dune.
The short 3rd plays downhill to a two-tiered green and is most notable for taking you into a woodland section that lasts for three holes and is then re-engaged during the 11th.
With the exception of the brutal par-four 4th – 466 yards off the backs and uphill all the way – most of the remainder of the front nine is in relatively flat woodland, which has a distinctive feel. These holes are among the best on the property.
On the back nine, the character changes to something more like that of the newer Irish links in Donegal and Mayo.
The closing stretch from the 13th is impressive, including the panoramic view from the 14th. Its 7,000 yards also seem much more mature than their relative youth.
Noordwijkse is a bear of a course in places and at the end of some of the longest and hardest holes are surprisingly small greens. Whether it is quite as subtle as either Royal Hague or De Pan, is open to debate. Maybe it doesn’t need to be.