Our press officer at Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club brings you all of the action from behind the scenes at the Van Lanschot Senior Open.
At the last European Senior Tour event, the IPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship, we had several footballers play in the pro-am, as well as Harry Redknapp, who a few days later left his post as Tottenham Hotspur manager (an incident unrelated to his golf, I hasten to add). This week we continue the football theme – it is the middle of the Euros after all – by welcoming ex-Dutch captain Ruud Gullit. He, of the former dreadlocks and tash combination, is playing along Sam Torrance here at Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club, as the Van Lanschot Senior Open takes the form of a Pro-Am, with each professional playing alongside his amateur partner on Friday and Saturday. Gullit, whose clubs included AC Milan and Chelsea, is something of a legend round these parts so we know where to expect the big galleries over the first two days.
Thanks for the clubs
Philip Walton has been easing himself into life on the Senior Tour, but the Irishman feels he is now ready to step it up a gear after a solid start. Walton finished playing on The European Tour in 2005 so has had plenty of catching up to do with old friends. The Dubliner, who secured the winning point in the 1995 Ryder Cup, shared a car from Amsterdam Airport to The Hague with your correspondent and Senior Tour referee Guy Hunt, himself a former Ryder Cup player. It was the first time Philip and Guy have bumped into each other this year and so a few stories of yesteryear were relayed en route. It turned out that Philip’s first set of clubs were Guy’s own make, so he can claim he played a small part in the fortunes of the three-time European Tour winner.
A new look
Our host venue this week, the Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club was founded in 1893 in The Hague and moved to its current location in Wassenaar shortly after the World War II. It is the oldest golf club in The Netherlands and hosted the Dutch Open (now the KLM Open) in 1912 and then regularly between 1949 and 1981. Its clubhouse had to be extensively refurbished following a fire ten years ago.