The 18th Hole Putting Green, 1910
The Greenkeeper’s House along the 18th Hole Putting Green
Royal Inauguration

On July 1st 1903, King Leopold II inaugurated the golf club in the presence of Countess H. de Hemptinne and other distinguished members. The King was greeted by the club’s first chairman, Edmond Drugman.

Club History

It was King Leopold II who, at the end of the 19th Century, understood that the establishment of a golf course would further enhance the attraction of Ostend to British visitors. The course was designed by the Scottish American golf architect Seymour Dunn according to the then prevailing Anglo-Saxon standards. It was solemnly inaugurated on July 1st 1903.

Seymour Dunn also designed King Leopold II ’s private golf course and he was the original golf architect of the course at Ravenstein. The state granted Leopold II a lease of land in what was conveniently called Ostend, but was actually Klemskerke or De Haan, for the annual sum of 91,20 francs. The Royal Ostend Golf Club still lies on the grounds which the king personally selected.
It was Leopold II ’s desire to create two golf courses, one on the coast in Ostend and one in Brussels on the estate of Ravenstein, and bring them together as twin courses in one single club, The Royal Golf Club de Belgique. The king would foot the bill. He was often heard saying: “A king is destined to enrich his country, therefore I will bear the expenses myself”.

The clubhouse 1900-1910
I would rather be on the golf course than at school!

In this well-known Henri Cassiers poster promoting tourism for De Haan, bystanders watch local boys carrying golf clubs for elegantly dressed lady and gentlemen golfers. Maybe they should have been at school but caddying is much more fun!

Both the golf course and the clubhouse were completely destroyed during the First World War and subsequently rebuilt, only to be destroyed again during the Second World War. Thankfully the course was painstakingly restored and the club was re-inaugurated on July 7th 1948. From the 1950s onwards members of the Belgian Royal Family were often seen playing golf at Royal Ostend. King Leopold III especially was an accomplished golfer and a regular visitor.

The clubhouse in 1948
The restaurant in the clubhouse
The bar in the clubhouse

The course was re-designed in the 1990s by the famous golf architect Martin Hawtree. At the same time, the clubhouse was thoroughly renovated in a cosy and welcoming English style. More recently, the ground floor with Pro Shop, secretariat and changing rooms, was completely modernised.

Caddies awaiting golfers at the tram stop in 1930
The German naval infantry in front of the clubhouse
winter 1942 - 1943

The clubhouse served as a training centre for the naval infantry while the course was transformed into a training ground.

German soldiers on The Blekkaert Dune (tee nrs. 8 and 9)

The Royal Ostend Golf Club is the only links course in Belgium. It was the first Belgian Club to have obtained a Five Star GEO Certification for its ecological management. In 2015 Royal Ostend was awarded the prestigious Baillet Latour Prize for the Environment.

The clubhouse in 1945
The clubhouse in 1948
King Leopold III on the 1st Tee in 1972