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Hulencourt Golf Club: appreciated by professional and amateur players

00:00 30/09/2016
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“A lot of love and care goes into this course,” says James Beckman, Chief Operating Officer of the Hulencourt Golf Club. Just half an hour’s drive south of Brussels city centre, Hulencourt is considered one of the finest courses in the country, and thanks to shrewd investments in turf renovations and club services, it looks likely to remain a favourite for both professionals and amateur players.

Hulencourt was founded in 1988, but historical records link the land to the Crusades, Godfrey of Bouillon and the retreat of Napoleon’s light cavalry after the Battle of Waterloo. Hulencourt’s owner, Patrick Solvay, is a long- time admirer of Scottish golf and wanted to instil the same values in a Belgian course. “It has the tone of a big British club, with its value of fairness, elegance and sport. But it still has a family feel,” says Beckman, 52, a former property developer and political consultant. “We want the accent to be on high quality service.”

Building the original venue meant planting more than 25,000 trees and other flora, along with fauna like storks, Canadian and Egyptian geese. A big change came four years ago when Solvay hired STRI, a UK-based top turf management firm. “They changed the way we manage turf,” says Beckman. “They massively reduced the fertilizer we use, by using more sand, and finer grass. It is very rigorous. It needs a lot of discipline. But most people say Hulencourt is the best maintained course in Belgium.”

The club boasts the acclaimed Le Vallon championship course designed by Jean- Manuel Rossi, which hosted the 2015 Belgian International Amateur Golf Championship (BIAC), and a smaller ‘Le Verger’ 9-hole course for beginners and younger players.

Hulencourt’s numerous corporate facilities include multipurpose meeting rooms for groups of up to 180 guests. The club now has some 500 members, of which 27% are expatriates from 32 different nationalities.

Its Jérôme Theunis Golf Academy, set up by the eponymous former Belgian Junior Champion and coach to Nicolas Colsaerts has already brought many top young players into the club.

Recent upgrades include a rebuilt courtyard, a new bag store, the appointment of a new caddy master, and a physio. Alain Neckebroeck, a Maitre Cuisinier de Belgique, has been hired as the clubhouse chef.

And the club is also engaged in broader cultural activities through the Hulencourt Art Project, which includes the acclaimed Chamber Orchestra of international young soloists, a music school, and exhibitions.

“We want to give people an environment to relax and enjoy their golf,” says Beckman. “We’re building a family of people with a spirit of golf in their hearts.”

+32 (0)67 79 40 40

Photo: Philippe Buissin / Imagellan

Written by The Bulletin