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Kennemer Golf Club at Duin en Kruidberg. (1911 – 1928)

On 11th December 2010 Kennemer Golf & Country Club celebrated its centenary. One hundred years earlier Gérard van der Vliet had taken the initiative to invite several friends and acquaintances to a meeting in Hotel Hartenlust in Bloemendaal to discuss plans for a golf club.

Van der Vliet, had undertaken extensive preparations and unsuccessfully reviewed various alternative locations for the construction of a suitable course before he finally reached an agreement with Jacob Th. Cremer, who had graciously offered grounds near the railway station Driehuis. The grounds situated in the surroundings of Huis te Velzen, formed part of Cremer’s extensive Duin en Kruidberg estate.

A.A. del Court van Krimpen, founding member of the Rosendaelsche Golf Club, and renowned golf pioneer in the Netherlands with a broad knowledge of course design and ground maintenance, attended the meeting. He had acted as adviser to Van der Vliet and with the golf professional A.J. Ife, had surveyed the intended grounds near Huis te Velzen. The conclusion reached was the grounds were suitable for a 9-hole course and that as early as April the following year it could be ready for play. The name “Kennemer Golf Club” was adopted.

At the official opening of the club in 1911 G.F. van Tets, secretary of the Doornsche Golf Club, who in 1912 would invite the five existing golf clubs in the Netherlands to form a federation, was also present. The 5 existing clubs were the Haagsche Golf Club, Doornsche Golf Club, Rosendaelsche Golf Club, Hilversumsche Golf Club and Kennemer Golf Club. 

 

Kennemer Golf Club, Duin en Kruidberg. Map of Velzen in 1915.

Map of Velzen from 1915.

 

Kennemer Golf Club, Duin en Kruidberg. Crossing the railway on the ninth.

Crossing the railway line on the ninth hole.

 

In 1920, the Kennemer was host to the international open championship for the first time at its club in Santpoort. This was to be the only time this competition was held in Santpoort. Overall winner was the English professional Henry Burrows, who went on the win the overall championship three times and was winner of the ‘Wisselbeker voor Golf Professionals’ five times in total, the last time in 1923.

It is noteworthy that the four oldest golf clubs, Haagsche, Doornsche, Rosendaelsche and Hilversumsche all had their historic roots in the period between 1890 and 1895. Note too the Hilversumsche, although officially founded on 1st January 1910, had been formed as a club with the same name as early as 1894 or before. Why it took another fifteen years before the fifth club, the Kennemer Golf Club, eventually started is a matter for speculation.

Of the 9-hole course, seven holes were located on the farmland properties of Mr. Cremer. Mr. P.Th. van Hoorn leased the additional land needed. Here two holes were laid out on the west side of the road on the sandy dune grounds previously known as the ‘Wildernis’. These two were considered as real ‘links’ holes.

Mowing machines were drawn by horse and pushed by hand. The course was primitive and as cows grazed on the fairways, there were wire fences built around the mowed greens to protect them. It was then a local rule that a ball lodged in manure ‘may be lifted and dropped over the shoulder within a distance of two club lengths but not nearer the hole’. Strangely, the penalty was one stroke leaving the unattractive choice ‘to play the ball as it lies’.

The course was about 2249 yards and the ‘bogey’ was 42. The winning score of the open champion Henry Burrows in 1920 was 155 over 36 holes. It was not an easy course, especially with a railway running right through the middle as an added obstacle. Two holes, the 2nd and the 9th hole crossed the railway line that connected Haarlem and Alkmaar.

With the help of green keeper Cees Twisk, who started in 1916 as a twelve-year-old caddy at the Kennemer, the club historian Steven van Hengel reconstructed the original layout of the course in 1985. Although the railway track has since been slightly altered, the site of the old club is hardly built on and is therefore recognisable. It is still quite possible to retrace all the original 9 hole course. The clubhouse Huis te Velsen no longer exists and the railway track now runs over the ruins of the once famous Huis te Velsen.

The leasehold agreed with Cremer was not long-term and had a one-year notice of cancellation clause. The reason for this was the local authorities were negotiating with Cremer to develop close by IJmuiden into a coastal beach resort. A planned new railway and main road would cut right through the grounds of the Kennemer forcing the club to look seriously into alternatives as early as 1915. 

 

Kennemer Golf Club, Duin en Kruidberg. The Golf Clubhouse.

The Golf Clubhouse.

 

The first professional, who was green-keeper at the same time, was the young and inexperienced E.J. (Percy) Hill, the son of an English green keeper. A. J. Ife, the professional of the Haagsche, who had been involved with the course construction in Santpoort, had recommended him to the Kennemer. In 1913, after only two years with the Kennemer, the more experienced E.N. Kettley replaced Hill. Kettley too was an English golf professional, who was mobilised later in 1917 by the British army and was forced to return to England.

His successor was a Dutchman, Jacob Oosterveer from The Hague. He had grown up near Clingendael as the oldest of three brothers and had learnt to play golf from the local professional A.J. Ife. Jacob was a reputedly good player, winning the Dutch Open in 1917.

In 1925, the Committee of the Kennemer Golf Club, presided over by Gérard van der Vliet, decided that they needed to look around for a suitable new club site. He turned to the experienced golf pioneer Gerry del Court van Crimpen, whose father had previously advised Van der Vliet in 1910 on the course lay out in Santpoort.

First plans with a firm planning a seaside resort came to no avail, so discussions were held to expand the existing 9-hole to the neighbouring dune grounds where the Kennemer already had two holes. Negotiations were even held with the Noordwijksche Golf Club to merge both clubs and to expand the existing 9 hole course in Noordwijk. The travel distance to Noordwijk would have caused too much of an obstacle for this to be a viable alternative for the Kennemer members.

Finally, in early 1926 the family Quarles van Ufford, owners of the Zandvoortsch Duin property, offered the possibility of a long-term leasehold contract. Gérard van der Vliet had visited the grounds with the club Secretary A.A. Diemer Kool and their adviser Gerry del Court. The conclusion was that Zandvoortsch Duin was ‘from all angles judged to be quite suitable for golf’.

On May 19th 1928 the Kennemer officially opened its new premises in Zandvoort on 19th May 1928 closing down the old course. The new course was the first one in the Netherlands constructed by Harry Colt and his company Colt, Alison and& Morrison Ltd.

This article is based on an article by John Hisco in golfika, No.6, 2011 – golfika is the magazine of the European Association of Golf Historians & Collectors – see also http://www.golfika.com

Christoph Meister, November 2017.

The Google Map Below shows the location of the former course.