History of Golf in Flanders.

 A painting from 1630 by Hendrik Avercamp showing 'Kolf' being played on ice in the Netherlands.

A painting from 1630 by Hendrik Avercamp showing 'Kolf' being played on ice in the Netherlands.

 
 

It all started in the 'Nederlanden'...

One could argue that the game of 'Kolf' was invented in Flanders during the middle ages as in 1261, the Flemish poet Jacob Van Maerlant, described a ball game 'mit ener coluen' (with a colf or club) which was putting a ball in a small hole hundreds of yards away in the least amount of hits. There are several consequent mentions of this game and it being forbidden by the authorities. In 1389, the regent of the county of Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut, after having outlawed the game to be played within the city walls, offered  the citizens of Haarlem a field called 'De Baen', translated as 'the course'. 

Current Flanders, part of Belgium, has a rich history within the 'modern' game of golf. Back in 1888, the Royal Antwerp Golf Club was started in Wilrijk but was in 1904 forced to move to its current location north of Antwerp. Willie Park Jr was contracted to construct a new course in Kapellen which ultimately got extended to 27 holes by Tom Simpson back in 1928. 

Over the years, many international championships were played in Belgium in general and Flanders in particular. The Belgian Open was played intermittently from 1910 till 2000 and the first edition was won by Arnaud Massy, the only Frenchman to win a major. Other distinguished champions included Walter Hagen, Henry Cotton, Dave Thomas, Dai Rees, Roberto de Vicenzo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Faldo, Daren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Lee Westwood. Flory Van Donck, one of Belgium's most influential golfers won his national open five times between 1939 and 1956.