Royal Zoute

Le Royal Golf Club du Sart-Tilman

Belgium, East Belgium
Designer: Tom Simpson
Course Opened: 1939

Of all the Belgian courses that Tom Simpson has designed, it is perhaps that of Sart-Tilman, officially inaugurated in 1939, of which he was most proud. The Liège course is, it is true, a pure marvel. This is all the more remarkable given that the famous British architect, who also designed the Spa, Ravenstein, Mons and Antwerp courses, had to deal with a hostile natural environment and a limited budget. At the cost of the deforestation of nearly twenty hectares of trees, the removal of fourteen thousand stumps and the contribution of five thousand cubic meters of earth, the challenge was nevertheless met. And how...

The creation of a golf course in the Cité Ardente responded, in truth, to a real demand. Most of the major Belgian provinces had, at that time, a quality course: Antwerp in Kapellen, Le Zoute and Ostend near the North Sea, Ravenstein in Brussels, Château d'Ardenne in Houyet and the Fagnes in Spa. It was the success of the Spa golf course, completed in 1930, which accelerated the birth of the Liège golf course!

At the time, in the high society of Liège, it was above all tennis that occupied the leisure time of Sunday sportsmen. The Tennis Club of Liège had thus installed its courts in Angleur, on the wooded side of the hill of Sart-Tilman. A dream location in lush greenery. It is there, on the terrace of this club, that some members set out to create a golf course, just to vary the pleasures and to exchange the smash for the drive.

So said, so done! Quite quickly, six holes were dug along the Belle Jardinière road in Angleur, then three others at the “Carpathes”, near a rocky outcrop overlooking the Ourthe. A hundred passionate players can indulge in the joys of swing. But, in everyone's eyes, these are very temporary infrastructures.

At the initiative of Jacques Prion, the club's first president and driving force, and Julien Rasquinet, new land was rented not far from there to the real estate company Bernheim. In the aftermath, a cooperative, made up of 400 shares of 5,000 francs, was created. The Sart-Tilman Golf Club is in operation.

The architect's mark.

By calling on Tom Simpson to direct the major maneuvers and design the new course, the cooperative is showing great intuition. Simpson, a genius architect, is at the top of his game. He has just signed the courses of Chiberta in St-Jean de Luz and Spa. And he will make Sart-Tilman, with a limited budget, a real little gem.

Faithful to his great concepts, Simpson draws, with his magic pencil, two nine-hole loops which each return to the Club House. The English architect lets himself be guided by his inspiration, composes with nature and plays with the trees. For lack of the necessary means, he cannot satisfy all his desires, but the end result is nonetheless exceptional. When, on June 10, 1939, Denise de Thomas de Bossierre, reigning Belgian champion, hit the first ball under the gaze of Edmond Solvay, then president of the Belgian Federation, the Golf Club du Sart-Tilman had nothing to envy to the other big clubs in the Kingdom.

Extract from golf club website.




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