We are a little out of the way, but still on the territory of Knokke-Heist, at number 1A of the Sparrendreef. As soon as you pass the impressive porch, you will discover the enchanting setting of the Royal Zoute Golf Club. In this place where the little white ball is king, you really feel in another world. A paradise for golfers of course, but not only.
Let's start at the beginning, i.e. the history of the site. It is surprising in more ways than one, but it is worth the detour. It was in 1899 that the first golf course was played in Knocke sur Mer. For the first ten years, the club was part of the "Brugge Golf & Sports Clubs", until 1909, when an independent club was created under the name "Knocke Golf Club" and the club house was built. The villa was named "Monkey house" by the English players, because of the climb to the top of the dune. The course already had 18 holes.
During the First World War it was impossible to play golf, as the course was used by the Germans as a military estate for the defense of Zeebruges and the Scheldt Arm. After the war a new course was built and the club was renamed Zoute Golf Club. The adjective royal was added in 1925. After the Second World War, the English Lieutenant-Colonel Allen drew the plans for the present course.
Today, it is between the pines, the hawthorns, the birches and the poplars that the fairways of Zoute wind. All this, in the middle of the dunes: a dream setting. Considered as the most prestigious golf course in Belgium and present in the rankings of the 25 best courses in Europe, the Royal Zoute Golf Club (RZGC for the initiated) has recently undergone a serious facelift. The golf courses and the club house, with its hotel, have been completely renovated, but with a deep respect for the authentic character of the place. The latter is also part of the charm of this atypical place. And the result is grandiose: the glorious past rubs shoulders with a future that we guess is radiant, all in a soothing harmony. A surprising and ambitious cohabitation, oh so successful.
What makes the reputation of the RZGC, besides its two courses of course, is its club house. Since 1946, it is the Maeger Scorre villa that welcomes the fans of the white ball, whether they are players or not. It is a protected building and as such, it has been renovated thanks to a grant of more than 600.000 € from the Flemish government. And, as at Zoute, we don't do things by halves, it's much more than a club house that has been fitted out. There is a hotel with 10 luxurious rooms, a bar, a restaurant, a meeting room and a store. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner with a breathtaking view of the fairways.
To find out more about the RZGC, a mecca for Zout's finest, check out Zoute Paper magazine's page turner.
In the meantime, for those who may have forgotten, this weekend, in Zoute as elsewhere, is the weekend of August 15. So it's a vacation on Monday! Happy rest!