Royal Zoute

Royal Golf Club of Belgium - Ravenstein

Belgium, Central Belgium
6 (3)
Designer: Tom Simpson
Course Opened: 1906

The Royal Golf Club of Belgium was founded in 1906, its first golf course designed by Seymour Dunn on a farm outside Brussels known as Ravenstein. Tom Simpson made major revisions to the track in the 1920s, his course remaining fairly well preserved in the years ever since - Martin Hawtree lengthening some holes in recent decades.

This is one of Europe's most attractive parkland courses, a classic old-style layout that winds through tall oaks, birch, blue cedar, elms and willow trees. The best stretch here is the 9th through 11th which occupy the prime real estate, the 9th and 10th both clever short par fours across beautiful ground - the 9th bending right with the slope and well bunkered around its landing area and the 10th sweeping dramatically down and across a slope then rising into a ridge-top green. As with other holes, the greens here are quite flat and most of the greenside traps are shallow so one of the primary criticisms of Ravenstein is that it is too easy, many of these short par fours they lack fiendish targets or the hazards required to create strategic risk/reward choices from the tee.

On the positive side, conditioning is a strong suit while the inherent beautiful of the wooded areas and the gently sloping ground make it a charming place to enjoy a golfing stroll. Other highlights include the blind drive on the 11th, the long right-bending 17th and the attractively bunkered 2nd, which would be a super hole if the outdated driving trap could be reshaped further down the fairway to make it more relevant.


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