What the Scots don’t want you to know

Denise Mosbach, Thursday, April 4, 2013, 310 Views

What the Scots don’t want you to know

Stel je eens voor: je drinkt een paar biertjes in de plaatselijke kroeg en iemand daagt je uit voor een potje “colf”. Dus neem je je club, die sterk lijkt op een zware versie van de hockeystick. Jij en je tegenstander komen een doel overeen: de kerkdeur in het volgende dorp zo’n 10 km verder. Het doel is die deur met zo weinig mogelijk slagen te bereiken. Je raakt onderweg een voorbijganger en een paar ramen maar dat mag de pret niet drukken. Deze populaire sport was zonder twijfel de voorloper van golf, alhoewel de Schotten dit betwisten. Maar ze hebben het natuurlijk mis.

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Imagine the following: you’re having a few beers in the local pub and someone challenges you to play a round of ‘colf’. So you collect your club, which looks a lot like a heavy duty version of the hockey stick. You and your opponent agree on a target: the church door in the next village, some 10 miles down the road. The aim is to get to that door in as few hits as possible. You manage to hit a passer-by and a few windows along the way, but you don’t let that spoil the fun. This extremely popular sport was in no doubt the predecessor of golf – although the Scots contest this but they are wrong of course.

How the story continues? Well, at some point the Brussels’ magistrates had had enough. The number of injured people and broken windows increased dramatically and colf was banned from within the city walls. But quitting was not an option for the colf fanatics. That's when the cleanly cut fairways started to emerge and the clumsy and heavy wooden balls were replaced by much smaller ones (and we do owe the Scots for that). The game, quite literally, took flight.
When golf became the new tennis in the nineties, golf courses started popping up like mushrooms in the Netherlands. Lucky for those who long back for the days that golf was still a sport for the happy few, there are still a few elite golf clubs left. My personal favourite is probably the Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club, established in 1893. Not only is it the oldest golf course in the country, it is also beautifully landscaped with 18 holes in challenging dune terrain just a stone’s throw away from The Hague. A good second on my list is the Noordwijkse Golfclub, ranked number 5 on the list of best golf courses in the world. Situated near the sea with a unique panorama, this course is a joy to play. The same goes for the Kennemer Golf & Country Club. The great thing about this course is the impressive clubhouse. Enjoy a drink – preferably a Scotch – and you will soon forget all about the bunkers you’ve visited.

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