Amsterdam is famous for many things other than its golf courses. To the chagrin of the Batavian capital. However, situated at 3 hours by train from Paris, the traveling golfer for a weekend has a lot to play with. With a few years to explore the flat lands, I will accompany you briefly to find the 18-hole course for your week-end getaway. From exclusivity to solutions for the true democratization of golf, everyone will find its way.
Waterland, the ecclectic
Located north of Amsterdam, the Waterland golf course lives up to its name. What it hides, however, is a diverse 18-hole course with high greens but also long stretched fairways.
The club house is spacious and has a well-stocked proshop.
The only downside concerns the driving range which is on the other side of the highway bridge. When going by car, do not enter directly into the car park on your right, but continue for a bit. After passing the club house, and if luck is with you, you can park between the driving range and the club house just under the bridge.
- Green-fees from €25 to €50
- Need a car to get there
Spaarnwoude, everyone is welcome
Located to the west of the capital, between Haarlem and Amsterdam, the Spaarnwoude golf course is the most open and eclectic golf course that I have been able to do. From foot golf to the “championship” course through 9 compact holes, everything is there.
Accessible by bus from the capital, you will have to walk a little to reach the golf course.
Once there you will have the choice between:
- A “championship” golf course.
- 3 compact nine holes. Perfect for playing without the hassle. My preference is for the B holes. The layout is the most varied with real challenges and more stimulating points of view.
- A practice on 2 levels with contactless payment ball machine. A generalization here.
- A massive pro-shop with a wide choice of apparel and accessories. If you forgot something, you will definitely find it here.
- The gigantic terrace, and an excellent brasserie.
Located in a park, the route is crossed by cycle paths. It will not be rare to see a few bicycles as you approach the green.
- Accessible by bus with a short walk
- Compact holes can be played without conditions (no license)
- The practice on 2 levels and in both directions guarantees you a place even if the crowd is important.
The International, by invitation only
The private course, at the foot of the tracks at the local airport (Schiphol), hosted the KLM Open in 2019. The only occasion during which I was able to tread the fairways.
But otherwise that’s all about it. If prompted by a member, go for it. The layout and the facilities are superb. As long as you can pass the entrance gate. Note that the practice located on the other side of the course / clubhouse.
- Accessible by airport bus … you will need to know a member to enter.
Amsteldijk, to practice like a pro
A little out of the way to the south of the capital, the Amsteldijk golf course is like no other. The training area offers 9 “worlds”. Each world or workshop is turned towards the center. You can practice chipping, book a trackman, work on your bunker shots from the fairways or on the green side, or even hit balls on grass if the season allows it. And when you get tired of it, the possibility of scrubbing on the compact 9-hole will do just fine.
For a day pass, you can work all areas of the game and the driving range balls are unlimited! A very easily accessible structure where everyone is invited to spend the day or just a few hours. Whether you are alone or with friends, this is the perfect place.
Moreover, with the Urban Golf Unit collective, I was not wrong. In this video, you will see how this structure is perfect for having a good time playing golf, and that this sport does not have to be reduced to a country club with 18 holes of 6500 meters.
Amsterdam Old Course or how to play under the rails
Since its opening in 1934, the course has gone through many changes. The biggest one being the addition of railroads in 2005, by the land owner; the Dutch railways. What gave it its particular style. Located very close to Ajax stronghold; the recently renamed Johan Cruyff Arena, the course is accessible by metro from the central station (Strandvliet stop, line 50 or 54).
This 18-hole course is playable all year round despite topography and capricious soil. Most of the courses become very heavy after a large amount of precipitation. On the other hand, if the sun heats up and it hasn’t rained for 2 to 3 days, the greens will be much firmer.
Finally, for those who wish to play golf without going to any golf courses, there are a few spots around the capital which are perfect to play street golf.
Street golf spots
Because it would not be polite to start again without having filed a few club soles on the cobbles, I suggest you work on your swing with a semi-rigid ball on 2 unmissable street golf courses in the Dutch capital.
NDSM: replay the 2016 EUGC
In 2016, the ‘EUGC (European Urban Golf Cup) set down on the old shipyards; NDSM. On an 18-hole course, teams from all over Europe competed against each other during this warmer-than-usual September day. Although the location layout has changed since, it is still possible to play some iconic holes. And if you are patient, you can replay the playoff which saw the final victory of France and Arnaud Pons in the playoff.
How to get there
To access it, nothing could be simpler. From Amsterdam Central Station, take the ferry to NDSM. After about 15 minutes, you disembark in the heart of the area. Head to the right, and take full advantage of this space a stone’s throw from the center.
Schiphol Rijk: on grass and in a company park
The course was set up by Gábor, a Hungarian expat, former king of Kayak. It occupies the grassy parts of an activity park located south of the airport. Accessible by bus from the airport, it takes 10 minutes to reach the tee at 1. Due to its design and if you speak English, ask Gàbor to act as your guide. He will be delighted, and you will have all the information you need to score.
This list is very personal, but reflects the choices you have when it comes to golfing around the Dutch capital. Outside the capital and less than an hour’s drive away, the Zaanse Golf Club or Hoge Dijk golf courses offer an interesting playing experience, especially if you are extending your stay for a few more days.
For those looking to complete the game list of the top 100 of the best European courses, do not forget that the Netherlands has 5 courses among the top 25 only!
And if you can’t find enough adventurous play partners, leave a comment or send me a message. I’m sure we can organize something.
One last thing, if you are planning a visit, the best time of the year would be from May to beginning of September. Avoid October at all costs, unless you want to bet on your luck only.