Frequent Flyer: Review 2022 with Leading Courses Evangelist Leonard van Nunen

28 December 2022
3 min. read
Welcome to our end-of-year interview series! In these interviews, we'll be talking with several Leading Courses employees about their golf experiences this year. In this episode: Evangelist & Manager of the Ambassador Program Leonard van Nunen.
Leonard at the 2nd hole par 3 on Lofoten Links. (Photo credits: Leonard)
  • Name: Leonard van Nunen
  • HCP: 18.1
  • Home course: Amelisweerd & De Texelse
  • Equipment brand(s): PING driver, Titleist 3W, 5W, Mizuno Irons 4-PW, Vokey Wedges 48, 52, 56 and a Scotty Cameron putter
  • Favourite type of course: links course 

What's your favourite course that you've played in 2022?

Lofoten Links! This golf course is located above the Arctic Circle and 1500 miles from the North Pole. The course is open from May until half October and when winter comes the top 2 meters of the soil is completely frozen! Not only are the surroundings insanely beautiful but the course is very well designed as well. Pretty tight fairways though so play accordingly or bring extra balls!

Save Lofoten Links to your bucket list.
44 Reviews
Golfers' choice2022
44 Reviews
Lofoten Links
Norway, Nordlandfrom NOK 850
1 golf course18 holes

What was your most memorable round in 2022?

On the right Tom Doak, playing at Christal Downs in Michigan with architect apprentices, Rob Gavarkovs (middle) and Leonard on the left. (Photo credits: Leonard)

My most memorable round of the year was at Chrystal Downs, Michigan USA with - in my opinion - currently the best golf course architect in the world, Tom Doak. I’m studying to become a golf course architect myself and had the opportunity to meet Tom, play this top 100 Alastair McKenzie design and pick his brain for 2 hours on architecture afterwards. What a day!

Save Crystal Downs Country Club to your bucket list.
3 Reviews
3 Reviews
Crystal Downs Country Club
United States of America, Michiganfrom $110
1 golf course18 holes

What aspect has the highest impact when reviewing a golf course and why?

For me the design/routing of the course is very important, maintenance and hospitality come next and the history of the course (who designed the original course and what happened after that…) is also an important factor for me.

Who was your favourite golfer of 2022 and why?

I’m a big fan of Rory McIlroy and hope that he finally will be able to win The Masters in 2023 to complete the Grand Slam.

Most memorable golf moment of 2022?

Tiger Woods at the Old Course during The 150th Open crossing the Swilcan bridge probably for the last time in his active career.

Do you have a list of courses that you hope to play in 2023 and if so; which one stands out most?

I have what I call 'Leonard’s Ultimate Playing List', a spreadsheet of 433 golf courses based on 8 different rankings (Top100 of the World, Top100 Continental Europe, Open Rota, Ryder Cup courses, True Links courses, The 20 Oldest Courses, all Harry Colt courses and all Tom Doaks courses). These courses are then scored by me for location, public/private and price. Currently, I have played 135 in total - so I still have 298 to go - but yes it's fair to say I have a list 😉.

Next year notables are Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool, Morfontaine (3rd time) and Marco Simone (I played it before but not after the renovation).

Save Royal Birkdale Golf Club to your bucket list.
20 Reviews
20 Reviews
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
United Kingdom, Lancashirefrom £295
1 golf course18 holes
Save Royal Liverpool Golf Club to your bucket list.
12 Reviews
12 Reviews
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
United Kingdom, Cheshirefrom £220
1 golf course18 holes

What are your golf goals for 2023?

My goals for 2023 are to play around 25 courses that are on my ultimate playing list and to lower my handicap from 18.1 to 15 or below.

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