Par for the Course
Germany has more than 750 golf courses and more under construction or near completion. Many of these courses are part of various pro golf tours, e.g., the “European Tour” (highest level), the “Challenge Tour” (second level), and the “Pro Golf Tour” (third level). Germany has produced some of professional golf’s top touring pros, e.g., Martin Kaymer, currently on the PGA tour and was ranked #1 at one time, and certainly Bernhard Langer, who was a great PGA Tour player when he was younger. Langer is clearly one of the top Champions Tour players and a justifiably favorite son of many German golfers. Germany is truly a golfing nation and that makes it an ideal destination for amateur golfers worldwide to set their sights on a long-term golfing holiday in Germany. It’s one more reason in a long list of reasons to visit Germany.
Golf’s Magic: The struggle
Many casual onlookers scratch their heads in bewilderment when they see colorfully dressed golfers in electric carts or walking 6,000 meters, on average, over a 60-hectare patch of land linking 18 holes and trying to hit a small white ball (e.g., a 42.7mm-diameter dimpled golf ball) into a large blue-green ball (the 12,742km-diameter Earth) in as few strokes as possible. One or more of the three elements that has driven mankind since the dawn of time drives every dedicated golfer, i.e., the struggle of man against man, the struggle of man against nature, and the struggle of man against himself. Each of those internal contests plays a role in every golfer’s urge to return to the links. It should be no wonder that German golf courses need to be part of every good golfer’s experience.
There is, of course, an umbrella of experiences and aspects that shelter every golfer’s internal struggles. Regular rounds of golf (1) provide practice; (2) surround one with well-maintained, beautiful nature; (3) furnish good company with fellow golfers; and (4) are ideal ways to get healthful exercise. When one adds the experience that is Germany to that umbrella of experiences and aspects, the endeavor expands geometrically, for it brings out the common ground of all golfers: it sharpens competitive instincts to play with and against unknown quantities, it tests skills to deal with a natural environment that is possibly quite different from one’s usual experience, and it enables each golfer to summon inner strengths to excel. It’s more than the game, it’s the playing of the game.
GOLFING IN GERMANY: MUST SEES
Here are some of the German golf courses that will meet the needs of any golfer, from a par-three duffer to a scratch golfer, whose goal it is to improve all aspects of his/her game.
Hamburger Golf-Club e.V. Falkenstein: This par 71, 5,763-meter/5092-meter (men’s/women’s), 18-hole heath-land course was designed by Henry Colt and it will soon celebrate its 110th birthday. Greens fees are €80 weekdays. The address is In de Bargen 59, D-22587 Hamburg, Germany; telephone 49 40 812177. Reviews praise its beauty, particularly in the fall when the heather is in bloom, course playability, its rolling landscape, and its technical challenges. The closest commercial airport is Hamburg. Nearby hotels include Golf hotel Haus Rissen Gästehaus and Golf hotel Hotel Süllberg Karlheinz Hauser.
Golf & Country Club Hohwachter Bucht: This is a par 72, 5,946-meter/5,217-meter (men’s/women’s), 18-hole course. There is also an adjacent 9-hole course. Greens fees are €44 on weekdays and €54 on weekends. The address is Eichenalle, D-24321 Hohwacht/Ostsee, Germany; telephone 49 4381 9690. Reviews comment positively on the well maintained, diversified course, the wide fairways, delightful playability, excellent lake view, excellent service, fast greens. All-in-all, a “classy operation.” The closest commercial airport is Lübeck Airport. Nearby hotels include Golf hotel Apartments Golden Tüffel and Golf hotel Das Hotel Ostseeblick.
Golfclub Bodensee Weißensberg e.V.: This is a par 71, 5,848-meter/5,185-meter (men’s/women’s), 18-hole heath-land course. Greens fees are €65 on weekdays and €80 on weekends. The address is Lampertsweiler 51, D-88138 Weißensberg, Germany; telephone 49 8389 89190. Reviewers describe the course as fastidious, well-maintained, and prestigious, and the accommodations are top-notch with a superb restaurant. “One of the most beautiful spots in Germany!” The closest commercial airport is St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport, just across the border in Switzerland. Nearby hotels include Golf hotel Humboldt-Haus and Golf hotel Haus Sonne.
Golf Club Lauterhofen e.V.: This is a par 72, 5,960-meter/5,291-meter (men’s/women’s), 18-hole course. Greens fees are €50 on weekdays and €60 on weekends. The address is Ruppertslohe 18, D-92283 Lauterhofen, Germany; telephone 49 9186 1574. Reviewers include fast greens, with many interesting fairways; a truly praiseworthy course; a challenging varied course; breathtaking architecture. The closest commercial airport is Nuremberg Airport. Nearby hotels include Golf hotel Hotel-Gasthof Anni and Golf hotel Gasthof-Pension Brauner Hirsch in Alfeld – Mittelfranken.
Golf Club St. Leon-Rot: This is a par 72, 6,047-meter/5,329-meter (men’s/women’s), Hannes Schreiner-designed 18-hole parkland course. Greens fees are €85 on weekdays and €120 on weekends. There is a second 18-hole course and a 9-hole course adjacent to the main course described above. The address is Opelstraße 30, D-68789 St. Leon-Rot, Germany; telephone 49 6227 86080. Reviewers glowingly mention that it is a magnificent course; provocative fairways and greens; superb amenities; one of Germany’s “top 5” courses; unparalleled quality. The closest commercial airport is Baden Airpark. Nearby hotels include Golf hotel Fairway Hotel and Golf hotel Flairhotel & Restaurant Erck.
Golfclub Rickenbach e.V.: This is a par 70, 5,290-meter/4,680-meter (men’s/women’s), 18-hole course. Greens fees are €80 on weekdays and €95 on weekends. The address is Hennematt 20, D-79736 Rickenbach, Germany; telephone 49 7765 777. Reviewers note the course’s splendid challenges and daunting, hilly landscape; well-maintained; ideal golf holiday venue; wonderful amenities. The closest commercial airport is Zurich Airport, just across the Swiss border. Nearby hotels include Golf hotel Schwarzwald and Golf hotel Pension Sonne.
A thorough list of the top German golf courses, by region, is available here. Plan and book as soon as you can.
An example for golfer’s devotion to the sport
Many readers might not appreciate how devoted to the sport some players are. Here is a true story; judge for yourself. On a crisp Saturday morning in mid-September, four golfers who regularly played together made the turn from the ninth hole to the tenth tee on the outer edge of the course. A nearby road led to the local cemetery. Just as the men approached the tenth tee, a funeral cortege slowly made its way to the cemetery. One of the men stopped in his tracks, pulled off his golfing cap, bowed his head, and stood respectfully in reverent silence as the cortege passed.
Afterward, when the man donned his cap and rejoined the group, one of his colleagues turned to him. “I’ve never been so impressed by anything you’ve ever done. You’re the most competitive golfer I know, yet you stopped to show your respect as that funeral cortege passed. That was extraördinary and quite moving.” “It’s the least I could do,” said the man. “We would have been married 34 years in December.”