Knokke-Zoute, West-Vlaanderen B-8300
18 holes. Inland links-style. Relatively flat terrain - easy to walk.
Woodland and residential.
Original 18-hole course at this site substantially redesigned and re-routed by Harry Colt in 1912, at the same time as he designed Royal Zoute's Inner course. After WW2 both courses were restored by Lieutenant Colonel Allen. Located on the coast at nearby Lekkerbek, was a third Harry Colt design dating from 1921. The Lekkebek course, considered by many to be one of the finest duneland links courses in the world, was lost forever after WW2.
Above distances are for the "Outer" championship course. Also at Royal Zoute is 18-hole "Inner" executive course (par-64; 3,766 m from back tees).
22 km NE of Brugge
Entering Knokke-Heist on the N49 (Knokke-Maldegem road), at large roundabout next to church, take the second exit direction Golf/Casino. After o.5 km, at roundabout, turn right into Elizabetlaan, direction Golf. After o.4 km (go past war memorial) at roundabout, take the third exit (still Elizabetlaan). After o.6 km turn right into Zoutelaan, direction Golf. After o.6 km turn right into Sparrendreef. After o.7 km golf is in front of you.
Royal Zoute Golf Club, or "Knokke" as it's often called, is home to a links golf course that ranks with the great coastal layouts of Europe. In fact the club boasts two 18-hole courses, although of significantly differing lengths. The championship layout, known as the Outer course ("l'Extérieur"), is respected and admired throughout the golfing world. The Inner course ("l'Intérieur") is a much shorter warm-up or practice layout.
There is something Royal Lytham-like about Zoute's premier course. Located a few blocks inland from the beach, and without sea views, Knokke nestles in a wonderfully natural and gently undulating landscape. Open areas of good-sized dunes, as well as pockets of pine trees, are found within the layout. Beyond the course perimeter expensive holiday homes discreetly flank the course, as unobtrusive as Lytham's railway line.
The layout is quite tight at the beginning, with several partly tree-lined holes demanding skilful course management rather than power-hitting. Hit the ball off-line from the tee and Zoute will invariably exact a toll, especially with its array of pine, silver birch and poplar trees, as well as hawthorn hedges and wispy fescues lining the fairways.
Among many memorable features here, the large undulating greens are usually a joy to putt on. The collection of testing par-3s, both long and short, are all fabulous. Best of all are the more open stretches of the course, characterised by holes like the back-to-back par-4s at 9 and 10, and the par-5 12th. Here the fairways navigate through rippling (rather than towering) waves of dunes, and it's here that Royal Zoute really earns its stripes.
Visitors welcome on weekdays, and after 1pm on weekends.
Must book in advance. Maximum handicap: 24. Proof of handicap must be shown.
Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2020].
Players generally walk this course. Golf carts available for hire.
Golf was first played at Knocke-sur Mer at the turn of the century in 1899. Knocke Golf Club (now Royal Zoute) was originally an off-shoot of the Bruges Golf & Sports club, continuing under Bruges' management until 1909, when the two clubs agreed to separate.
King Albert I conferred the Royal prefix on Knocke GC in 1925 at the suggestion of the then president, Count Maurice Lippens. In Belgium 13 golf clubs are permitted by royal prerogative to use the "Royal" prefix. They are: Antwerp, Anderlecht, Bercuit, Chateau d'Ardenne, des Fagnes (Spa), Hainaut, Latem, Limburg, Ostend, GC de Belgique (Ravenstein), Sart Tilman, Waterloo and Zoute.
Royal Zoute regularly hosted the Belgium Open, until the event ceased to be played due to lack of sponsorship in 2001. | Dormy accommodation is available in the clubhouse - availability can be checked at the time of booking your golf.
2019 Golf World rating: 14th best course and 70th best Stay&Play golf resort in continental Europe.
2020 Golf Digest rating: 3rd best course in Belgium.
Caddiespad 14, B-8300 Knokke-Heist.
+32 (0)50 601 227Visit website
Royal Zoute clubhouse offers seven prestigious twin-bedded guest rooms, with a view over the golf course. Guests staying in the clubhouse only pay 50% of the green-fee. The accommodation is available to non-golfers. Royal Zoute is well known for the excellence of its cusine.
Albertlaan 73, 8300 Knoekke-Heist.
+32 (0)50 63 05 80Visit website
Located close to Royal Zoute's par-5 12th hole, a hotel with great charm, much style and excellent cuisine.
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