For golfers with a keen sense of history, three destinations in Wallonia offer excellent sport alongside evocative relics of the epic conflicts fought on the soil of southern Belgium. Golf and commemoration can easily be combined.
Mons is where the British Empire forces began and ended their campaign in World War I - driven back in 1914, they returned four years later to liberate the town and the surrounding area. The war is movingly and meticulously commemorated at the Mons Memorial Museum, and there are several other war-related venues to visit in and around town. On golf days, the outstanding course in the area is the Royal Golf Club du Hainaut, while Golf du Mont Garni at Baudour is well worth an outing too: a long (par 73) circuit with plenty of water features.
Moving east, the gentle plains around Waterloo, a 30-minute drive from Brussels, contains no fewer than ten courses: ideal for an extended tour. The stand-out is the Royal Waterloo Golf Club, which is two-and-a-half courses (45 holes) in one large complex, within sight of the battlefield where Wellington finally defeated Napoleon in 1815. Visiting all the key historical sites and museums/exhibitions in and around Waterloo can fill an absorbing day or two, and if the ‘royal’ courses are too daunting for high handicappers, the other nine courses have plenty to offer players of all levels.
Wallonia’s key industrial city, Liège, found itself in the firing line at the start of both World Wars, with its ring of defensive forts succumbing to the Germans’ swift attacks and greater firepower. Some of the forts are open to the public, with guided tours in English. Golfers are spoilt for choice in Liège. There are ten courses within easy reach of the city. Liège province boasts Belgium’s finest course, the Royal Golf Club des Fagnes, another ‘royal’ course at Sart-Tilman and the International Gomzé Golf Club near the medieval village of Andoumont in an area notable for its particularly fine scenery.