Whistling Straits (Straits)

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (Wassenaar, South Holland)

Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

Rankings: 

     

The Takeaway:  The creme de la creme of the Netherlands and certainly in the discussion among the best courses in Continental Europe, Royal Hague boasts a remarkably undulated property that boasts highly memorable and engaging hole designs. Notorious for its difficulty around the greens, you also can't plan on any flat lies in the fairways. Striking course.  Grade A+

Quick Facts

Designer:  H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison 1939

Cost:  €140 - €225 Click for current rates

Phone Number:  +31 70 517 9607

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - Groot Haesebroekseweg 22, Wassenaar, South Holland  2243 EC – NETHERLANDS

Photos:  See additional photos of Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague

What to Expect:  Known to English speakers simply at Royal Hague, the Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club is found in the nation’s capital with the club dating back to 1893. However the current golf course was built in 1939 by the team of Colt, Alison, and Morrison as a private course on the estate of Dutch businessman Daniel Wolf. The Jewish Mr. Wolf was driven out of the area and passed away in 1942. World War II also saw to the original site of Royal Hague being destroyed. With Mr. Wolf now passed away and the club needing a new location, Wolf's widow sold the course to the club so that Koninklijke Haagsche could relocate in 1947. With Colt unable to travel and participate much in the design, I can only imagine Alison and Morrison's reaction upon arriving at the site after driving along the extremely flat Netherlands terrain and discovering huge dunes created by westerly winds and sea currents that had been forcing sediment inland for thousands of years. With 26% of the country under sea level, it is hard to imagine a property with this kind of scale could exist in the Netherlands. There are no weak holes on the property, many of them are absolutely top shelf, and all of them are an assault on the senses with top marks in memorability. The dramatically undulated terrain results in virtually no level lies in the fairway and greens that slope off hard on the edges. As such, only 22 greenside bunkers and a lone fairway bunker (on #13) are found on the course because Mother Nature did enough to provide a challenge to the golfer. Speaking of challenges, #13 begins Royal Hague's version of Amen Corner with three straight two-shotters that are testing in every sense of the word and features some of the course's most extreme terrain. Nothing short of brilliance was used to route a course over the terrain found at Royal Hague while making it walkable and engaging; requiring every ounce of skill and mental fortitude to conquer it. In the end, Royal Hague is Continental Europe's finest track and a Top 50 golf course in the world.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
White 72 6836 75.2 157
Yellow 72 6187 72.1 138
Blue 72 5783 70.2 135
Red 72 5535 68.9 130
Orange (Ladies) 72 4857 71.3 128

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  14th Hole – 425 Yard Par 4 – On a course known for its wild terrain movements, the 14th occupies the most undulated property found at Royal Hague. The tee shot features a brush and tree line on the left while gnarly rough and the 15th hole runs parallel on the right. The fear of a lost ball, or o.b. by going too far left, will certainly influence players to hit their tee shot up the right side where the hills in the fairway will obscure the view of putting surface but the flag will rise high enough to give players a line. Players at this point in the round should know better than to hope for a level lie and expect themselves to utilize their shot-making skills to carve an approach with a club they normally wouldn’t use for the distance into the green. The putting surface slopes hard from back to front, so getting above the hole results in players having to nurse their putt down the slope with the fear of their ball tumbling off the front edge and 40 yards back down the fairway. It is a diabolically wonderful and unique hole where walking away with a par is an impressive accomplishment.

14th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (425 Yard Par 4)
14th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (425 Yard Par 4)

14th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (425 Yard Par 4)
14th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (425 Yard Par 4)

14th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (425 Yard Par 4)
14th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (425 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 3:  4th Hole – 218 Yards – Located at the northern end of the property, the 4th hole offers an inspiring setting with the dunes land creating the background and a downhill shot to the green. The putting surface is protected by a trio of bunkers which necklace around the front third of the green. The sand gets plenty of work since the prevailing wind off the North Sea is in players faces and is stronger up higher where balls fly enroute to their destination. The 45 foot drop to the green and windy location begs for a player to flight their ball in an effort to penetrate the wind and falls harmlessly on the putting surface. It's a beautiful hole with expansive views that is a wonderful highlight to the front nine.

4th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (218 Yard Par 3)
4th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (218 Yard Par 3)

4th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (218 Yard Par 3)
4th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (218 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  15th Hole – 423 Yards – The 14th and 15th are simply spectacular back to back offerings that you can’t possibly forget when playing at Koninklijke Haagsche, and those that can walk away with a score of level par after playing them certainly deserve to treat themselves at the 19th hole. The undulated fairway mimics the North Sea on a stormy day where level lies are as common as sunny 80 degree days in the Netherlands. Unlike the parallel 14th, the 15th will generally play downwind to aid in covering the yardage required while the fairway will move balls to the right where the most open look to the green is afforded. The left half of the green rests behind a dune and the front of the green slopes back to the fairway, so only the most precise of approach shots will be rewarded. Playing from the most westerly portion of the property, players from here will travel to the easterly side over the final holes to return to the clubhouse.

15th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (423 Yard Par 4)
15th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (423 Yard Par 4)

15th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (423 Yard Par 4)
15th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (423 Yard Par 4)

15th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (423 Yard Par 4)
15th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (423 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  18th Hole – 546 Yards – The home hole at Royal Hague is a long, straight offering that terminates just shy of the patio off the back of the clubhouse where diners can applaud your efforts if you execute a shot worthy of their attention. The inspiring setting is actually quite different than any other hole on the course as trees line both sides of the fairway and nothing but flat lies awaits. The tee shot feels narrower than other holes but those that find the short grass will be rewarded with the opportunity to take a shot at reaching the green in two with little to encourage them to layup instead. The raised putting surface is flanked on the right by a pair of bunkers but the sand pit you want nothing to do with is located 40 yards short of the center of the green which leaves players with a terribly awkward shot afterwards. A par five finisher is always a great way to close out a round as birdies are more commonly yielded and send players home with a smile on their face.

18th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (546 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (546 Yard Par 5)

18th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (546 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (546 Yard Par 5)

18th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (546 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (546 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  16th Hole – 386 Yard Par 4 – With turf conditions that often generate a generous amount of roll, the 16th becomes a vulnerable offering where players that bomb their tee shots up the left side can put themselves in prime shape to have a flip wedge into the green. The inside of the dogleg right offers the shortest line to the green but players will find a trio of bunkers hugging the right side of the green that can get a workout since the fairway tilts towards them and players with any cut spin on their ball will only magnify what the terrain is going to do. Any tee shot that gets up around the green will yield an opportunity to get close to the hole on the second shot and roll in a birdie.

16th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (386 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (386 Yard Par 4)

16th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (386 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (386 Yard Par 4)

16th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (386 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (386 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  6th Hole – 468 Yard Par 4 – One of the great half par holes in Continental Europe, the 6th at Royal Hague is both wonderful and brutal all at once. The tee shot plays uphill to a semi-blind landing area that is undulated and will leave players with a lengthy approach shot into the green. The greensite itself is borderline sadistic with the turtleback putting surface featuring very little forgiveness and a flat out nasty slope on the right side that will thwart any shot that fails to meet perfection. The lengthy, uphill approach shot to the raised and sloping green yields very few GIRs and the unforgiving putting surface isn't quick to yield par saves, so there is no shame in taking a five and moving on.

6th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (468 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (468 Yard Par 4)

6th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (468 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (468 Yard Par 4)

6th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (468 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club aka Royal Hague (468 Yard Par 4)

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