Peter Kats - can't wait for 2021 Dutch Open!
Owner of Pitch and Putt Koekange, Peter Kats is eagerly anticipating the Dutch Open's return to the spiritual home of Dutch Pitch and Putt. This is his perspective as articulated to fippa.org.
fippa.org (Q.): How are preparations progressing for the 2021 Dutch Open?
Peter Kats (A.) They are going very well. We can build on the hosting of last year’s Dutch Open, so most work is done.
After a difficult start to the year, the course is getting better. It was cold until May, then hot and finally (very) wet over the last few days. For the players who are coming over and haven’t been in Koekange for years, most of the course will look and feel new.
The trees have grown and the fairways and rough have changed a lot. The greens are a little bigger and the course is more mature now. Being the first course in the Netherlands means that it isn’t the best course ever built, but the little changes through the years have made it a lot better.
Q. How has the pandemic impacted those preparations?
A. In the beginning we had to be patient and careful not knowing how things would go. Now everything is reopening, we can go full force! Last year's sponsors were very supportive and most of them have already extended the sponsorship for this year’s edition.
Q. How much are you conscious of Koekange’s place in the history of Dutch Pitch and Putt?
We are very proud of it. It’s one of the things we tell our guests with pride.
The Pitch & Putt Franchise company (which went bankrupt in 2016 and was also located in Koekange) harmed the name “Koekange” quite a lot. Not so much for the players, but in reforming a collaboration between course owners, Koekange was banned.
By setting up a new independent Pitch and Putt Union (PPBN) equality was restored. All players and courses (with a Pitch and Putt layout) can join and have a vote in how Pitch and Putt is played and positioned. This is profitable and transparent for everybody.
It’s a much healthier situation and helped restore the name Koekange as the oldest (since 1998) course of the Netherlands.
Q. Are there any holes or is there one hole that will be crucial to the outcome of the Dutch Open?
A. The 18th has always been one of the best finishing holes in the Netherlands. Surrounded by three bunkers and two big trees, it can be a heartbreaker. Holes 11, 12 and 13, we call “the Bermuda triangle”. They can make or break your round.
Hole 14 is getting more and more difficult. Even if you can keep your ball on the green, it’s still a difficult putt to read.
Also hole 1 isn’t the easiest hole to start with: 56 metres and a front greenside bunker…..
Then again, our entire course is challenging. You must play it, it’s beautiful!
Q. How much are you looking forward to welcoming non-Dutch players to the Open?
A. A lot, and so is my team. We were very happy to welcome Harry and Oliver (the only 2 foreign players) last year.
Welcoming players from Ireland, England, Catalonia, and Galicia to Koekange is something we look very much forward to.
Q. Do you think it will be possible for non-Dutch players to attend?
We are lucky that the tournament is in August, as there will be no or only a few restrictions left. Let’s hope it stays that way, also after the tournament.
Q. Are any social activities planned in addition to the Pitch and Putt?
A. On Friday we will have a nice dinner and a lot of drinks!
On Saturday we will fire up the barbecue. There will be music by two DJ’s, who also will play guitar and piano. And there is room for anyone who wants and can play music themselves. Instruments and microphones are available.
Q. Which local players do you think will contend to win the Dutch Open?
A. Several of the best players in the Netherlands have Koekange as their home course - like Rinus Huberts, who has the lowest scores in competition this year. The winner from last year, Marcel Ahuis is determined to win again. And our legend, Rolf Kwant, is always one of the biggest favourites, on any course.