Golf in Flanders is the joint initiative between the Flemish Golf Federation (GolfVlaanderen) and VisitFlanders (the Flemish Tourist Board), to promote Flanders, the Northern region of Belgium, as an alternative golf destination to the international golf and travel industry.
The prestigious IAGTO award of ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year’ was announced at this year’s International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Cannes with Flanders prevailing after having been selected out of 60 destinations by the international golf travel media.
Marc Verneirt, Secretary General of the Flemish Golf Federation: “Over the last couple of years, our courses have seen a subtle increase in visitors from abroad which gave us the impulse to put a plan together to promote our region and courses to golfers abroad. With the support of VisitFlanders, we were able to put that plan into practice and we engaged with Jo Maes, who is well connected within the Flemish golf scene as well as international golf travel trade and media. We are extremely pleased that during a short period of time the results have exceeded all expectations. We have now become a genuine and attractive proposition for the golf travel industry.”
Already renowned for its history, culture, gastronomy and cycling, Flanders is an unknown quantity for golf but with over 50 golf courses to choose from, a round of golf is never far away from a quality meal and a great beer. Culturally vibrant cities like Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and Bruges all have their fair share of golf courses dotted around in many cases medieval historic city centres. Flanders, in the centre of Europe, is easily accessible via sea, air and road and with one of the most developed road networks on the mainland, every golf course is within easy reach. Traditional and renowned course architects like Seymour Dunn, Hawtree, Colt, Tom Simpson and Mackenzie Ross followed by Paul Rolin, Belgium’s most famous course architect, have created several masterpieces, in Royal Antwerp (Est. 1888), Royal Zoute, Royal Latem, Royal Belgian Golf Club, Rinkven G&CC, Cleydael GC and many others.
Peter De Wilde, CEO VisitFlanders, adds: “To be honest, also for us, it was a discovery to find out that Flanders had the potential to be a golf destination. As a tourism organisation, we are always interested in supporting high yielding initiatives and all research shows that golfers are undoubtedly valuable tourists. The Flemish Federation has put a good and informative case forward to us and our organisation will be looking more closely at including golf in our programs. We have followed the GolfinFlanders initiative with great interest and can’t but applaud the extraordinary results the modest and organic campaign has yielded this year culminating in the ‘IAGTO Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year’ award.”
For more information, the website golfinflanders.com has information about golf clubs, itineraries and packages. The EGTMA has engaged with the international media and several articles have already been published describing the destination in more detail.
Information for Journalists
GOLFVLAANDEREN or, the Flemish Golf Federation governs the sport of golf in Flanders as a result of the devolved institutions in Belgium. Their mission is to elevate the sport of golf working on three pillars: Increase the number of players, Increase the number of clubs and Improving the quality of golf players and clubs in general via education. www.golfvlaanderen.com
VISITFLANDERS wants to act as a strategy and knowledge-driven government service to promote the sustainable development of tourism and the tourism sector in Flanders and Brussels with a view to more economic return, employment and social well-being. Visit www.visitflanders.com for more information on our programs.
GOLFINFLANDERS is the initiative, brand and website used to provide golfers with information about the golf offering in the region. www.golfinflanders.com
FLANDERS has 25 golf clubs of 18 holes or more and 27 clubs with 9 holes or less. The Belgian Open was last played in Royal Zoute in 2000 which Nick Faldo and others claimed to be one of the best courses on the then European tour rota. 2018 will see the tour returning with the Belgian Knock Out, an initiative by the Thomas Pieters’ family.
About the IAGTO Awards
The IAGTO Awards were established in 2000 by global golf tourism organisation IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) to honour excellence in the world of golf tourism. The Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year is voted for by the International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA), incorporating more than 200 of the world’s leading golf travel journalists in 38 countries. Nominations for this category have often yet to make it into the mainstream golf travel programmes of the world’s leading golf tour operators. For more information, visit www.iagto.com/awards