Through my friends at Leadingcourses I - Sasa Nemanic - recently got a very kind invitation to join a group of golfers and tour operators on a tour to play golf in Flanders, organised by the Flanders Tourist Board and Golf in Flanders. Though my geography has always been very good I have to admit that I was not sure which part of Belgium exactly I was going to and which cities are a part of Flanders. I could associate the name of Flanders only with cycling and the famous “Ronde van Vlaanderen”.
View of the clubhouse at Millennium Golf (Photo credits, member BartBikker)
So I asked my good friend Google, only to find out that Brussels,
Antwerp and Ghent are all part of Flanders. And to spare you a few
valuable seconds, Flanders is the northern (Dutch speaking) part of
Belgium and has more than 50 golf courses. Still the best way to find
out more about golf in Flanders is to browse Leadingcourses.com or check their official site of Golf in Flanders.
I am quite sure that a lot of you will share my thoughts when I admit
that I never considered Belgium or let alone Flanders as my next golf
destination. And this is the part where we are all mistaking. I can now
honestly say that it is a great golf destination if you are looking for
something more than just golf. Flanders will surprise you with very good
golf courses, beautiful cities with rich history accompanied
with delicious food (yes, beer too!) and great hospitality. Perfect
Even though I am a super keen golfer and I have played in almost all
European countries, I never really thought of Belgium as one of my next
golf destinations so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. To my surprise
it was much better than I expected…
Challenging start playing golf in Flanders
Our meeting point was Brussels International Airport which is a
very convenient starting point as you can probably get a direct flight
from practically anywhere in Europe and actually nothing is really very
far from Brussels. But if you have flights to Antwerp or Ghent it should
also work very well.
Our first stop was Golf- & CountryClub Oudenaarde
just over an hour drive west from Brussels. Upon arrival we where were
all surprised by beautiful Petegem castle which serves as a clubhouse
and what a clubhouse it is. After an excellent lunch in the clubhouse
restaurant we headed out to play. Golf Club Oudenarde has two 18-hole
courses, Kasteel (par 71) and Anker (par 72), unfortunately we only
played the “Kasteel” or “Castle” course.This more or less flat layout is
nice but quite challenging I would say and even thought the course is
not long, there is not much room for errant tee shots. So choose your
clubs wisely as many times your only option is penalty drop. The 4th
hole is lovely par-3 as is the 14th. Holes 5, 12, 13 and 16 were the
ones I liked the most while the “Captain’s Drive” opening Par-4 and the
par-5 closing hole “Victory Lane” with an amazing view of the
clubhouse are my favourite holes.
Golf- & CountryClub Oudenaarde (Photo credits, member amigoverso)
We spent the night in lovely Hotel Leopold Oudenaarde which
is located in the Oudenaarde city center by the Scheldt river and just 2
minutes walk from beautiful main square which is definitely worth a
visit if you are in town.
After the breakfast we headed towards the town of Ypres (Ieper) and Golf & Country Club De Palingbeek
located less than an hour west from Oudenaarde. G&CC De
Palingbeek is a very nice parkland golf course and both the region and
the golf course are loaded with history. Especially from WWI as you
actually play on the battlefield itself and in between the trenches of
both fighting sites… While playing you pass other remnants of war, such
as German bunkers, German mine shaft, remains of a tank and also a
British observation post can be seen from the golf course. Out of
respect for the countless victims here in both conflicts, the club has
also placed information panels alongside the tees and published a
brochure “The Historic Palingbeek” which explains more about the
relevant historical sites.
This natural parkland layout is
very enjoyable and it is a real pleasure to play. What you see is what
you get, no hidden surprises. The course will reward good shots and will
still allow some minor mistakes. There are quite a few good risk and
reward holes. Holes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 is a very nice stretch, 15 is a nice
par-5 and the 18th is great and technical finishing hole.
Lots of water hazards at Golf & Country Club De Palingbeek (Photo credits, member SlicingMyWayThroughLife)
The clubhouse is quite bright with beautiful terrace overlooking the 9th
and 18th green. And once again, after our round of golf we were not
disappointed with the cuisine as the food in the golf club restaurant
was excellent. All in all a day very well spent on golf, good food and
history. We completed the day with a short city tour of lovely Ypres
and the visit of The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing which
is a war memorial dedicated to all the British and Commonwealth soldiers
who died in the Ypres Salient area during the WWI and whose graves are
unknown. Ypres is a must see and it is only 10 minutes drive from the
Full of emotions we hit the road towards Antwerp. On our 130km long
trip we passed Ghent which will have to wait until my next visit as I am
sure it is as impressive as all other towns we visited this time. Our
home for the night was Crowne Plaza Antwerp,
located just a few minutes drive from amazing Antwerp city centre. It
is a lovely business hotel which is conveniently located with a very
nice pool and wellness area. A Nice walk in amazing Antwerp city centre
was followed by another great gourmet experience at famous De Rooden
Hoed restaurant located just around the corner of the astonishing
cathedral of Our Lady.
Grote Markt in Antwerp by night (photo credits, Maros - Wikimedia Commons)
Once again, Antwerp is just amazing. It has a beautiful city centre with
a rich history and amazing architecture. It is also very convenient for
golf as here you can find 14 golf courses within just 30 km from city
centre. And if you love art you will enjoy it too as Antwerp is an
epicentre of the Flemish Renaissance. The Rubenshuis is the place to
visit if you like Rubens. And if you like sculptures than Middelheim
Museum is a must. Here you can find several works of Rodin, Calders,
Muñoz and many more.
Golf & Gastronomy
Cleydael Golf Country Club with the impressive castle in the background (Photo credits, member RonaldDekker)
After the breakfast it only took us a few minutes by car to Cleydael Golf & Country Club which is one of those 14 golf clubs in Antwerp area and it is located just 9 kilometers from Antwerp’s city centre.
Cleydael Golf Country Club with the impressive castle in the background.
As we arrived to the property we were all amazed by beautiful
Cleydael Castle which dates back all the way to the 13th century.
Cleydael Golf & Country Club is a lovely parkland course which
also hosted two European Challenge Tour events, the KPMG Trophy in 2014
and 2016. The layout is very interesting and diverse but there are a few
tricky holes for a first time players. The very challenging par-4 18th
hole playing towards the castle is one of the best finishing holes. We
enjoyed the local beer and delicious snacks on the lovely
back terrace overlooking the castle before our next stop which
was Martin’s Rentmeesterij hotel in Bilzen, just about an hours drive
from the golf course.
is an amazing property on the grounds of Alden Biesen Castle founded in
1120 by the Order of the Teutonic Knightsand which was highly
successful at the time and acquired several properties throughout
Europe. Alden Biesen became the headquarters of the Biesen bailiwick. An
excellent 4* hotel located just 10 minutes from Maastricht with
beautiful gardens, lovely spa area, nice bar and great Akko restaurant
where I am quite sure you will be delighted with the food. Definitely a
very good choice for a nice dinner to finish another great day.
is fairly new 18-hole Championship Course, on one hand quite open but
than again full of water on the back nine where lake Paal comes in play.
All in all very nice and enjoyable layout. The only hole I did not
quite understand was the Par-5 12th but I guess 6-7 iron is the only
proper club to use for your tee shot!? Some holes might be tricky for
those playing here for the first time so make sure you play safe (and
short) on holes 9, 16 and 18. Once again a great finishing set of holes
by the lake. The course also has a 9-hole Compact Course which
measures 719-metre and is great short game facility.
Large bodies of water at Millennium Golf (Photo credits, member BartBikker)
Millenium was our final golf round of the trip and we were left with one
last short drive to our final overnight destination Leuven.
Amazing university town of Leuven and the home of Stella Artois is
located just 25 kilometres east of Brussels. We stayed at another
beautiful 4* hotel Martin’s Klooster in Leuven city centre, only a few
minutes walk from beautiful main square where you will find one of the
most beautiful and fascinating town halls decorated with hundreds of
statues of local figures, biblical characters and saints. Last but not
least was the dinner at Julia & Elias which was yet another great
foodie experience to end our too short Flanders trip.
A lot of diverse and quality golf courses make Flanders a great golf destination
which every serious golfer should put on his list. And if golf itself
is not enough you have beautiful cities, great hospitality, excellent
cuisine and good accommodation, all with reasonable prices. To make
things even easier, wherever in Flanders you are, everything is quite
close. So there is not much driving to do to all those good golf
courses. You also have several options to fly to Flanders.
Brussels-Zaventem (or Brussels International Airport) is the busiest
airport in Belgium, other airports are Brussels-Charleroi, Antwerp and
Ghent and Bruges are probably also both worth visiting but for me they will have to wait till my next visit, which is coming for sure. Visit. Play. Enjoy! is the slogan of Golf in Flanders. And if you do
Visit Flanders and Play here, I am more than sure that you will Enjoy it
For useful information about Flanders please also visit the Golf in Flanders website aside from Leadingcourses.com, where you can find all the golf courses in the area and also some offers golf deals and packages.
🇸🇮 Slovenian golfer 🏌 🇸🇮 Ambassador for Leadingcourses.com. It's all about golf so I am on my way to play 1000 golf courses around the globe... and I prefer beauty over challenge!
I am into traveling, watches, cars, music, wine, food and art. If I am not working, playing golf, eating (sometimes even all three combined) or sleeping, you might find me on a motocross bike or skiing as both snow and water works for me.
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