Sometimes we receive a call from enthusiastic golfers who have a great idea – a business concept in golf or an idea for a new golf course: Natuurgolfbaan Terschelling. Only a few of them really turn into reality. Dirk-Jan Moes, chairman of a new and unique golf course on Terschelling – one of the Dutch wadden islands – is one of such people. Late 2016, early 2017 he asked us to provide him with a quote to help him to kick-start this ambitious project. We did not expect to hear back from him, but since then a lot has changed.

World Heritage site

It’s not easy to convince all the different authorities and organizations to build a new golf course on one of the wadden islands: it’s like trying to build a golf course in Yellowstone Park (USA). The whole area is a world heritage site and nature is very delicate there. The Wadden Sea – since 2009 – is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This means that the Wadden Sea is on an equal footing with other world-famous nature reserves such as Yellowstone in the United States, the Great Barrier Reef in Ausralia and the Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

The Wadden Sea is a recognized biological ecosystem that you only find on the Dutch-German-Danish North Sea coast. On the Wadden Sea, ebb and flow alternate every six hours, which dramatically changes the landscape. An extensive system of channels is alternated with dry sand plates. This variety of landscapes makes the Wadden Sea a unique habitat for more than 10,000 often rare plants and animal species, which produces an exceptionally large food richness. In addition, it is an indispensable stopover for millions of birds during their trek.

Back to basics on Terschelling

Currently there are two ‘real’ golf courses on the wadden islands – one on Texel and one on Ameland. Golfbaan De Texelse – located on the largest island Texel – is the only 18-hole golf course. A few years ago this golf course was extended from a 9 to a 18-hole golf course and is really special. Farm land was transformed into dunes and a great links course was created. The new golf course on Terschelling (for now called: Natuurgolfbaan Terschelling De Hoge Duinen) will be the total opposite: nature will dictate the design. The project comprises of a 9-hole golf course and – in the second year of operation – the idea is to open a par 3 course (short course).

par 3 design Terschelling
The current design of the par 3 golf course on Terschelling

The idea is to follow nature as much as possible and to minimize the impact on the landscape. By laying out this golf course in this dunes landscape we go back to the basics of golf course architecture” Michiel van der Vaart – the appointed course architect – says. That’s were golf started, in the dunes on rough terrain. In my view this is a golf course that you have to play once in your life. A curiosity that has little to do with a modern golf course, more something like De Pan which is also a very natural golf course located and flowing naturally through a beautiful landscape.”

The renowned golf course architect Michiel van der Vaart (Senior Member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects) from Jol Design was inspired to design this natural golf course. Van der Vaart: “When I first saw the location, the island, the dunes – some as high as 24 meters – and the beautiful valleys in between, I immediately saw its potential. Nature had to dictate the design. We just had to follow the paths that sand and wind forged over the years. I am very pleased with the end result: it is a beautiful natural flowing course and at the same time challenging because of the differences in heights.

Nature will prevail

Plans for this natural golf course are developed in close cooperation with the owner of the land, Staatsbosbeheer (Dutch State Forestry Commission), the Nature Conservation Institute of The Netherlands and Golf Club Terschelling. All parties involved are satisfied with the plans. Nature in the area will be enhanced and flora and fauna will benefit. Monotonous pine forests will turn into a terrain that becomes better and better in every respect. The fairways of this natural golf course will be wide so that entry is very well distributed. And the beauty is that every visitor to Terschelling arrives on the island without a car, all cars stay behind on the mainland. Once completed the golf course and surrounding area will be a haven for anyone who wishes to enjoy nature: birds, hikers, bikers, horseback riders and golfers alike.

The landscape is almost made for a golf course
The landscape is almost made for a golf course

Terschelling is a friendly island. For years this island has been a favorite holiday destination for many. What was lacking on the island was a proper golf course” says Dirk-Jan Moes, chairman of the Nature Golf Club Terschelling Foundation. Terscheling is not very big. Only 29 km long and 4 km wide. Its entire North Sea shore is one dazzling white sandy beach. A small harbor and lovely villages, plenty of hotel accommodations and a wide variety of restaurants complete the picture.

Dirk-Jan Moes: “Golf Club Terschelling is extremely happy that soon we will be able to say: come visit, enjoy our island, the beaches, the sea and yes, come and play on our beautiful golf course.

Possibility to help and invest

Dirk Jan Moes: “We are almost ready to start. But we also hope that our dream is your dream. We are now actively looking for people who are interested to invest in this unique and new golf course. A golf course which is unique of its location and unique design, one of a kind in Europe. We are looking for people who believe in our dream to build and play on a beautiful, challenging nature golf course on the island Terschelling. The investment possibilities are varied and quite interesting. Help us to complete this dream.

More info about this project, surf to the (Dutch) crowdfunding website of Natuurgolfbaan Terschelling: https://crowdfundingvoorclubs.nl/golfclubterschelling/home

For interested parties who only speak English: just contact the golf course via: penningmeester@golfclubterschelling.com

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