This is one of the grand old ladies of continental golf.
It is the oldest club in Belgium having been founded in 1888, and has benefitted from the nous of two Golden Age architects.
There are actually 27 holes at this club in a quiet suburb north of the city, with the name of the premier 18-hole course rather giving away which architect was responsible for it.
The Tom Simpson was naturally designed by the charismatic Englishman, but in fact his work here was a re-design of the original by Willie Park.
Both the premium course and the third loop – the also-impressive Dormy House, which sits inside the Simpson – are set among mature pine, birch and heather.
So, there are shades of Surrey heathland classics as well as Little Aston here, with jigsaw-shaped bunkers filled with white sand mixing with the bursts of purple heather, towering trees and cute green complexes.
This under-stated Simpson course will especially appeal to design connoisseurs and fans of serene inland golf.
Antwerp’s strength is in its consistency, with no notable dips in quality across a tranquil 18-hole journey across gently undulating land that is at 6,600 yards highly pleasant and sufficiently challenging without being in any way laborious.
Scoring well here is all about all about the angle of approach and of avoiding being blocked out by mature trees that have benefitted from some management to open up the course to closer to the one it once was.
This work is relatively recent and only one panellist on our Continental Top 100 panel had been before our 2019/20 ranking, and we acknowledge that Antwerp may as a result be a little low in the list.
We will revise our assessment next time based on the renovated course because all who visited acknowledge there is a potential top 50 course waiting to be revealed.
The greens at Antwerp are relatively flat to putt on but their funky surrounds make chipping terrific fun.
This under-stated Simpson course will especially appeal to design connoisseurs and fans of serene inland golf. Chris Bertram
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