History of the club

History of the club

Oud Clubhouse Dennenhul

Creation of the club

Golf was first played at Knocke-sur Mer at the turn of the century in 1899. Originally an off-shoot of the Bruges Golf and Sports club, it continued under the management of that club until 1909, when the two clubs agreed to separate and it became the ‘Knocke Golf Club‘.
The Knocke Golf links originally consisted of 18 holes and were considered, at that time, to be excellent laid out and remarquably variable.

From the very beginning the British influence has been prominent and since 1909 all the captains have come from across the Channel. The first captain, in 1909, was Capt. F.T. Bacon.
dennenhulThe ‘Compagnie Het Zoute‘ continued to invest and in 1909 built the Clubhouse on the Binnenhof, on the highest dune, so that it had a sea vista.

The English players nicknamed the villa ‘monkey house’ because of the climb to reach it. The villa remains to this day – close to the back tee of the 15th (championship course) – and is now known as ‘Dennenhul‘ (pine hill).

Play was suspended during the first World War, as the Germans used the course as a military field and bunkers and 280mm guns were installed for the defence of Zeebrugge and the Scheldt Estuary.

opensAfter the war a new course was built on land belonging to the Compagnie du Zoute, and the club was renamed Zoute Golf Club.Another course was created at the Lekkerbek, close to the sea, but, unfortunately, this was destroyed by the Germans during second World War.
When it had been in existence for over 25 years, His Majesty the King, through the good offices of the then president, Sir Maurice Lippens, graciously allowed the club to assume the title of Royal in 1925. After the Second World War, an Englishman, Lieutenant Colonel Allen, drew up plans for two links courses which became the existing par 72 Championship Course and the par 64 Executive Course.

Many distinguished players have played at le Zoute, amongst them Henry Cotton, Arnold Palmer and General Haig. Additionally, the club has several times been honoured by visits from the Royal Family – King Leopold and King Baudouin.

First Pro : Charles Warren

By 1903 the club had become sufficiently important to provide work for professionals. Charles Warren, back from the Boer War, arrived in Knokke. He took the maintenance of the terrain upon himself as well as teaching the game and the making, the selling and repairing of clubs.

He married Valentine Stocks in 1905, nicknamed “Falle”, his caddy. She bore him four children. They served tea and cake to the players. Warren was absent from Knokke on more than one occasion when he was called up by the army and when he assisted in the laying out of Welen and Hainaut courses in Erbisoeul.

Two of his fondest memories were when he won the Belgian Open in 1912 and when he spent a month in the company of Duke and Duchess of York in 1928. They were drawn by the charm of the bathing spot.

The course at the Brabantse Panne

The two important factors determining the quality of a course are the site and the design.
The chosen site bore the name “de Brabantse Panne“, and was situated between the “Binnenhof” in the north-west, the “Magere Schorre” in the south and the “Blinckaert” dunes in the east.

The contractor was Harris and he was English, likewise the company that supplied the grass seed for the greens: Sutton and Son. In 1907 the Lippens family chose the most illustrious
architect of that time : Harry Colt, an English advocate who had already built up a reputation for building the Rye links on the coast of Sussex. He was the secretary in Suningdale, and became a designer of golf courses. He designed Suningdale New Course and the two Wentworth courses, three gems. Colt was also invited by St. Andrews to design Eden Course, which he did.

His fame stretched across the sea – in addition to the 18 holes at Portrush that he reworked, he also created some masterpieces on the continent. He began with Zoute (1907) and thereafter le Touquet (la Forêt, 1908). In 1913, he realised the course of St. Cloud. Colt was an outstanding player – he was semi-finalist in the British Amateur in 1906 – and was also responsible for the design of the Royal Waterloo Golf Club in 1923 in collaboration with Charles Hughes Alison. (The Legend of Le Zoute through 100 Years of Golf).

The Belgian Open

Royal Zoute Golf Club had the honor to host the Belgian Open multiple times.

Our winners:

Belgacom Open 2000 Lee Westwood
Belgacom Open 1999 Robert Karlsson
Belgacom Open 1998 Lee Westwood
Dunhill Open 1994 Nick Faldo
Dunhill Open 1993 Darren Clarke
Piaget Open 1992 Miguel Angel Jimenez
Belgian Open 1950 Roberto de Vicenzo
Belgian Open 1912 Charles Warren

The official course record for our Championship Course is 62 set by Greg Owen during the 1998 Belgacom Open.

Club Champions

2024Laurent De Puydt 151Axelle de la POTTERIE165
2023Oliver SHERIDAN154Ann-Catherine HORN164
2022Pascal COENEN152Ann-Catherine HORN166
2021Pierre RELECOM149Axelle GOUBAU179
2020Cancelled / Cancelled/
2019Oliver SHERIDAN153Anne JORIS165
2018Olivier JAMAR153Axelle GOUBAU163
2017Olivier JAMAR152Anne JORIS159
2016Nick DE MOOR154Caroline WALRAET168
2015Nick DE MOOR152Anne-Laurence VAN DEN HEUVEL162
2014Oliver SHERIDAN145Anne-Laurence VAN DEN HEUVEL156**
2013Oliver SHERIDAN147Anne-Laurence VAN DEN HEUVEL165
2012Oliver SHERIDAN147Axelle GOUBAU165
2011Steve DEVISSCHER149Anne-Laurence VAN DEN HEUVEL165
2010Patrick KUBORN148Louise TANGHE162
2009Steve DEVISSCHER153Louise TANGHE163
2008Michel MOERMAN151Maud MAERTENS159
2007Jan-Erik SCHAPMANN150Larissa KHLUNDINA165
2006Christian VANDAMME152Larissa KHLUNDINA164
2005Christian VANDAMME148Axelle de la POTTERIE167
2004Christian VANDAMME152Axelle de la POTTERIE169
2003Olivier REYNDERS154Axelle de la POTTERIE164
2002Frank DE GROOTE153Véronique MONTOISY157
2001Oliver SHERIDAN151Christiane WEYNE-LOEYS165
2000Patrick KUBORN157Louise TANGHE167
1999Oliver SHERDAN153Sofie DIELEMAN162
1998Frank MORBEE149Louise TANGHE164
1997François KICQ155Anne EMSENS178
1996Christian VANDAMME159Anne JORIS169
1995Frank MORBEE153Marie-Anne TOUSSAINT166
1994Luc DE GROOTE156Isabelle MURCIA171
1993Roger RABAEY150Karine BALLEGEER166
1992Patrick KUBORN149Isabelle MURCIA166
1991Nicolas VANHOOTEGEM146Axelle de la POTTERIE-BOURDON169
1989Roger RABAEY147Axelle de la POTTERIE-BOURDON159
1987Roger RABAEY150Axelle BOURDON173
1986Michel MOERMAN155Axelle BOURDON158