Updated August 11, 2022

Between glorious past and radiant future...

By Shana Devleschoudere
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The fairways of the Royal Zoute Golf Club wind through pine, hawthorn, birch and poplar trees. All in a dream setting, surrounded by dunes. Considered to be the country's most prestigious golf course and one of Europe's top 25, it has recently undergone a serious facelift.

The fairways of the Royal Zoute Golf Club wind through pine, hawthorn, birch and poplar trees. All in a dream setting, surrounded by dunes. Considered to be the country's most prestigious golf course and one of Europe's top 25, it has recently undergone a serious facelift.

We continue our peregrinations on the Belgian coast, and more specifically in Zoute, by presenting one of the jewels in the crown, or rather the commune.
As we all know, the seaside resort is brimming with places, each more incredible than the last. Places you'll rarely find elsewhere. That's what makes the "Belgian Saint-Tropez" so special and so successful. The downside of this resounding success is, of course, the crowds, which are even more numerous during this sunny summer period. But, as in all exceptional places, there are some "refuge" spots that are still preserved, in the great calm and far from the glare of the masses. Follow the guide...

We're a little out of the way, but still on Knokke-Heist territory, at number 1A Sparrendreef. As soon as you pass the impressive porch, you'll discover the enchanting setting of the Royal Zoute Golf Club. Here, where the little white ball is king, you'll feel like you're in another world. A paradise for golfers, of course, but not only.

Let's start at the beginning, with the history of the site. Surprising in more ways than one, it's well worth the detour. It was 1899 when the first golf course was played at 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 clubhouse was built. The villa was dubbed the "Monkey house" by English players, because of the climb to the top of the dune. The course already boasted 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 Bras de l'Escaut. After the war, a new course was laid out and the club renamed Zoute Golf Club. The adjective royal was added in 1925. After the Second World War, British Lieutenant-Colonel Allen drew up plans for the current course.

Today, the Zoute fairways wind through pine, hawthorn, birch and poplar trees. All set amid the dunes: a dream setting. Considered Belgium's most prestigious golf course and one of Europe's top 25, the Royal Zoute Golf Club (RZGC for those in the know) recently underwent a serious facelift. While the golf courses and clubhouse, with its hotel, have been completely renovated, this has been done with deep respect for the authentic character of the site. The latter is also part of the charm of this atypical location. The result is grandiose: a glorious past meets a radiant future, all in soothing harmony. It's a surprising and ambitious cohabitation, and one that's a great success.

In addition to its two courses, the RZGC is famous for its clubhouse. Since 1946, the Maeger Scorre villa has been welcoming fans of the white ball, both players and non-players. As a protected building, it has been renovated thanks to a grant of over €600,000 from the Flemish government. And, as the Zoute doesn't do things by halves, much more than a clubhouse has been fitted out. There's a hotel with 10 luxurious rooms, a bar, a restaurant, a meeting room and a boutique. Here, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with a breathtaking view of the fairways.

As you can see, the club maintains its prestige to keep up its standing. So, whether you're a golf enthusiast... or not, take a look around. You won't regret it!

To find out more about the RZGC, a mecca for Zout's finest, visit the Zoute Paper magazine page-turner.

In the meantime, for those who may have forgotten, this weekend, in Zoute as elsewhere, is the August 15 weekend. Which means it's vacation Monday! Happy rest!