Golf and Golfing in Belgium
Information on golf clubs, facilities and organisations in Belgium...
For a relatively small country, Belgium is well provided for when it comes to golf courses, and has some of the oldest courses in continental Europe. Many of these are in and around Brussels. The top course there is the Royal Golf Club of Belgium. Belgium's coastline also has links courses such as the Royal Ostend Golf Club.
The number of courses is increasing all the time. There are more than 78 golf clubs with over 47,000 members. Many clubs have a youth section, and most offer lessons for all ages and ability groups.
Golf is popular with Belgium's foreign visitors and inhabitants (not just tourists), and many clubs are happy to welcome newcomers and non-members. However, the top clubs are usually open to members only at weekends. Not all clubs have a driving range, but the main Belgian tourist website has a golf section, with listings and links to many of the most popular clubs.
Golfing Federations and Organisations
Golf in Belgium is run by a number of organisations. Chief of these is the Royal Belgian Golf Federation (FRBG), which oversees competitions, the national team, and acts as an umbrella organisation for the nation's golf clubs.
- Royal Belgian Golf Federation (FRBG)
At: Louis Schmidtlaan 87/6, 1040 Brussel
Tel: 02 672 23 89
Fax: 02 675 46 19
Membership of the Federation is only possible for members of an affiliated club, and it is the club itself that must make the application on behalf of the member. Membership also provides insurance, which covers players in Belgium on official golf courses.
There are two official regional bodies:
- The French Speaking Golf Association for Wallonia (Association Francophone Belge de Golf)
- The Dutch Speaking Association for the Flanders Area (Vlaamse Vereniging voor Golf, VVG)
There is also a player's organisation, the Professional Golfers' Association of Belgium (PGA)
Requirements to Play
A medical certificate is not necessary except for players participating in competitions, that are following a treatment listed in the anti doping manual.
Playing Golf in Belgium
Belgium follows the handicap system set by the European Golf Association (EGA). It is not normally possible to play anywhere without a handicap certificate.
- EGA Handicap System: Click here (PDF)
Beginners and novices
Anyone who has played little or no golf previously is unlikely to hold the required European Golf Association (EGA) handicap certificate. Beginners need to attain a basic level of competence and understanding of the rules of golf before they can be issued with a handicap certificate. The most common way to obtain this certificate is to join a golf club in Belgium as a member or a member in training. The club will then be able to offer lessons and coaching which will allow players to work towards a certificate of competence (brevet d'aptitude/Golfvaardigheidsbewijs).
The certificate is issued by the player's home club on completion of three valid scorecards, obtained over a maximum 12-month period. Each of the rounds must have been played following recognised rules as laid down by the EGA. EGA handicap certificates are only issued to players with a handicap of 36 or less.
The player's home club must register the handicap and will review it each year. Each year, all club members in Belgium receive a handicap certificate from the FRBG.
Some clubs will allow an individual to play on their course with their coach or professional and pay the lesson fee and a day members' fee, instead of having to sign up for an annual membership.
- The Royal Belgian Golf Federation can answer questions about golfing in Belgium via email
Experienced players will probably already hold an EGA handicap certificate, and this is accepted by clubs in Belgium. If, instead, they hold a Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) handicap certificate, this can be converted into an EGA handicap by their new club in Belgium.
- For further information regarding CONGU handicap certificates: Click here
There are organisations that will provide players with a recognised handicap certificate if they do not already have one. Often application can be made online. Players need to provide scorecards, which will be validated before certificates are issued by post.
There are a number of societies and clubs aimed specifically at foreigners playing golf in Belgium.
The International Golf Club (IGC): Formed nearly 20 years ago, the IGC is affiliated to the Royal Belgian Golf Federation, and will provide members with an official EGA handicap certificate and a Belgian Federation Card. It organises for members to play most weekends during the year at golf courses all over the country. There are also competitions and a social calendar. The club is popular with locals and expatriates.
Golf In and Around Brussels
There is a good selection of courses in the Brussels area.
- The Brussels Golf Club organises lessons and allows day membership. It also has practice facilities
- The Golf Club of Avernas is approximately 35 Km from Brussels
At: Route de Grand Hallet 19a, 4280 Avernas le Bauduin, Hannut
Tel: 019 51 30 66
Fax: 019 51 53 43
The main Belgian tourist site lists courses in the area and provides links to their sites. A golf pass is available that includes golf and accommodation.
- For information about the golf pass and golf clubs around Brussels: Click here