In between testing the culinary delights, we also visited the golf courses, hotels and numerous potential venues for receptions and dinners.
We can now confirm that the event will be based in Bruges from Monday 23rd April to Saturday 28th April. The conference hotel is located in the centre of the city opposite the magnificent city hall and very close to the historic market square. There are many bars and restaurants within a few minutes walk and if you like chocolate then you’re in for a real treat as every other shop seems to be a chocolatier!
We will be playing golf at two of Belgium’s best courses, Royal Ostend and Royal Zoute on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th April respectively. Both courses are listed in Golf World's Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe 2017/18.
Designed by Seymour Dunn and opened in 1903, Royal Ostend was originally conceived by King Leopold II as a way to attract more British holidaymakers. The course was completely destroyed in both the First and Second World Wars but was restored and reopened in 1948. Martin Hawtree undertook a substantial renovation during the 1990's and a number of greens were rebuilt in 2006. The whole course is within a few hundred metres of the sea and has a wonderful stretch of holes amongst the tall dunes.
Royal Zoute Golf Club is found in the seaside town of Knokke-Heist, close to Belgium's border with The Netherlands. The first club was established as part of the Bruges Golf and Sports club in 1899 but it became the Knocke Golf Club after Harry Colt carried out a major redesign of the course in 1907. The club became Royal Zoute in 1925.
As with Royal Ostend Golf Club the two world wars took their toll but the course was reinstated after 1945 by Lieutenant Colonel Allen, who also added a par 64, 18 hole Executive Course.
Royal Zoute is not a true links as many of the holes are tree lined and the course is surrounded by high quality residential development, but there are lots of humps and bumps on the fairways and the wind is likely to be a major factor. It is rated at number 10 in Golf World’s top 100 Courses listing.
In a change to our original plans we will now be holding our AGM at 8.30am on Friday 27th April. Issues with available tee times, transport and potential venues for the Partners Dinner on Thursday led us to decide to alter the traditional day for the AGM in order to avoid the time pressures we have experienced at other annual meetings. The Conference will therefore have a later start than usual on the Friday.
Bruges will undoubtedly be another superb venue for our annual meeting and we look forward to seeing you all in April next year. Just one word of warning, Belgian beer is strong!