Archiv for Golf Clubs
Phew, I cannot believe that I tripled my 18-hole count for the year this week. Before this week, I only had one full round to my count this year, after this week it went up to three after playing Motzen and Gut Kaden.
Between the two courses, there were two fundamental differences. Generally, the fairways in Gut Kaden were in better shape, thicker and greener. Maybe the weather conditions in Hamburg were more moist than in Berlin in the last couple of weeks. The most striking difference though were the greens: whereas the greens in Motzen were fast, thruthful and challenging to putt, the ones in Gut Kaden were dull and slow. Almost all of us left their putts short and you had to putt with a sledgehammer to get the ball up to the green.
Not that this fact spoiled our round. But it would have made it so much more enjoyable. The greens showed almost no break, although one putted down a heva slope. Gut Kaden, you deserve better and we know you can do better.
(overview of he course from the 12th tee, more pictures on flickr!)
Balmer See offers two 18 hole courses (blue and yellow) and a 9 hole course (red). Both 18 hole courses are par 71 with total lenghts (or shortnesses) of 5.492 meters and 5.111 respectively. The blue course was closed for a tournament, so I played the yellow course with Joost and Calla, a really nice dutch couple.
The lack in lenght really showed off on the course, only four par fours over 300 meters, the longest par 3 is 136 meters and plays downhill (see picture above). Doglegs give you a little opportunity to play tactical, but the rest is just shooting straight. The occasional water hazard and shallow bunkers show no real threat to your game.
There is nothing wrong with having the chance to make numerous greens in regulation, but after your round it doesn’t feel like you have achieved something. Plus I think that the course is rated to high, with my current handicap of -26.9 I went out today with a playing handicap of 29. Which I think is too much for this course. I managed to play the course with the exact 100 strokes to confirm my handicap despite having three quadruple-bogeys on the scorecard (and no birdies to leverage that).
Nice landscape, a view on the lake and nice playing partners made the round there some time well spent. Plus, the greenfee of 46,00 € on weekdays and 56,00 € on weekends is a bargain as you get to play all courses for that. On the other hand, it reflects on the course design that lacks challenging, yet expensive to maintain holes and hazards.
The newest golf course on Usedom just opened four weeks ago and is situated in the small village of Korswandt, just a couple of kilometers inland from Seebad Ahlbeck on Usedom, next to the polish border.
The Baltic Hills golf Club features 19 holes, driving range, chip and putt area whilst the clubhouse is still under construction.
The odd number of 19 holes ist because of the warmup hole called Mulligan – a par 3 hole that covers the distance from the putting green to the teebox of the first hole. This was the first time I saw something like it, but the scottish headpro assured me that this can be seen often on scottish golf courses. Well, I liked the idea.
The course makes brilliant use of the natural hilly landscape. Looking at a Google Maps satellite image you can see that they put the course exactly in an area used for agriculture, the surrounding woods weren’t changed at all. The only change made to nature (apart from digging bunkers and water hazards) were some earth movements on the fifth hole, the rest was pretty much left as is.
The course is 6.047 meters from the backtees with hole lengths from 126 meters (hole 14) and 548 meters (hole 5), a course rating will be made in August. Every hole on the course has its own charme or presents its own difficulty. I loved the ideas like the split fairway on #5, or the tree group guarding the green on #13 or the picturesque #14. At the end of your round on #17 you reach the highest elevation of the course and you will be rewarded with a great view over the course and over the island of Usedom.
The course will need some time to grow in. Especially the greens are still somewhat bumpy and slow, but I’m sure they will improve over time. But what the course already has is a great layout and is a nice challenge to play with nicely positioned hazards and good fairway outlines. Plus, you need a solid shot off the tee as it takes you mostly 180 to 200 meters to reach the beginning of the fairway.
I very much enjoyed my round at Baltic Hills, the crew gave me a very warm welcome and the € 30,00 greenfee for the round (still introductory prices) are a bargain. This course is definitely a recommendation.
Golfclub Korswandt GmbH
Winstongolf is a relatively new course near Schwerin, now seven years old and currently featuring 27 holes. The course was recommended to me numerous times by friends so I took the occasion as the GC St. Pauli hosted their Masters tournament there this year to play the course.
Getting there is rather simple, take the autobahn from Berlin or Hamburg and between 1,5 to 2 hours of driving will get you there. You’ll be surprised as I was when entering the premises: currently the club is adding some extra 18 holes and is amidst the earth movement, so it looks more like a moon surface and instead of John Deere machines the brand you’ll see more is Caterpillar. But as soon as you’re getting nearer to the clubhouse, you’ll get the right impression of the course.
The clubhouse is of modern design and from the terrace you oversee wide parts of the course. Staff is very friendly and helpful. With the building of the second 18 hole course, the club will get new practice facilities. Momentarily, it features driving range, two putting greens and chipping green with a practice bunker, good standard.
The end moraine landscape gives the course a nice undulation, playing downhill or uphill or sidehill lies is standard here. In my opinion there isn’t a boring hole on this course. Every single one has its own character and difficulty. Elevated teeboxes on #4 and #16 give you a) a really nice view of the course and b) the opportunity for a precise or long tee shot. Interesting layouts like #6 with a stone wall 180 meters away from the teebox, you need to have the length and the precision.
Greens are very undulated and fast. This is where I left most of my shots. Imagine a green the shape of Africa. My ball lies in South Africa, but the pin location is in Ghana. It was the first time I thought about chipping on the green. I didn’t, but the one time was rewarded with a five putt.
Playing the course was really interesting and is a challenge for every player. Greenfees are between 51,00 and 61,00 Euros for 18 holes and you need a minimum handicap of -45 to play the course. I’ll definitely return to the club, the new 18 holes also promise a nice experience.
Tel: 03860 – 5020
Fax: 03860 – 50 22 22
Many golf clubs around the world are beginning to encourage environmentally friendly cultivation of their golf courses. The Golfclub St. Oswald took it a step further and had their clubhouse designed as a zero energy consumption building. That left aside, I think the integration into the landscape is outstanding!
The newest golf course in Brandenburg opened this year in Wall (near Kremmen, 15 minutes off the A24 Berlin – Hamburg). Danish PGA Pro Flemming Maas currently overlooks a driving range and practice facilities and a nine hole course (Par 74, Slope 125, CR 70,7). As of August, the second nine holes will be opened, the third nine will complete the course in spring 2009.
The terrain offers no altitude changes, so the course is basically flat out, some elevated tee boxes give a little overview. Most fairways don’t have proper contours yet, fairways and greens need their time to grow in. Things do get interesting, when water comes into play. Several creeks and ponds split fairways and protect greens.
The holes are not particularly long, longest par 4 is 341 from yellow, so greens in regulation are an opportunity for the advanced golfer. I particularly liked the sixth hole, a slight dogleg right par 4 with the creek halving the fairway and a big pond protecting the second half of the fairway and the green from the right side.
The course didn’t have fairway markers and no birdiebook was available. So I had to play the course just guessing the lengths and properly judging my club selection. It worked out pretty well and felt more close to the origins of the game.
My nine holes came at the cost of € 12,00 (on weekdays), a very fair price for the nine holes. Give the course one or two years to grow in and it’ll become an interesting but fair course to play. I don’t know how the second nine holes will look like, but I’ll doubt that it will make the course a true championship course. So it will rather be your destination for a casual round with friends or family.
The clubhouse and driving range reflect Flemming Maas danish descent, being wooden houses painted in red and white. Very cosy and inviting for your after-round beer.
GOLF IN WALL
Am Königsgraben 1
Tel. 03 39 25 – 7 11 35
Fax 03 39 25 – 9 08 05
Mobil 01 60 – 4 21 19 38
After over three years I revisited the Märkische Golfclub Potsdam today to play the 18-hole-course that has been renamed Fontane Course, probably after Theodor Fontane.
The first thing that struck me was the greenness of the course. There was hardly a drop of rain in the last six weeks and other courses I played in the meantime really had to struggle to keep the course in good condition. Apparently, the Märkische Golfclub can use the nearby Havel river as a water source and thus was able to keep the course in such good condition. The club pledges to higher standards as a member of the Leading Golf Courses of Germany.
The course has a classic layout (10 par 4’s, 4 par 3’s and 4 par 5’s), measuring up 6.114 meters from yellow with a course rating of 72,9 and a slope of 135. The first three holes make up for a good start. On the par 4 first, water comes into play twice with a pond in the fairway and the green surrounded by the next pons. On the par 3 second you have to shoot over a vast reed area. The fairway of the par 5 third is split in half by a large tree covered mound, giving you various options to play the hole.
In the dry conditions today, the course played shorter than usual, once you put your drive in the fairway, you got a lot of roll from the hard ground. So I had the opportunity to make various greens in regulation or just barely missed them. Hadn’t my putter been cold today, more pars and a couple of birdies would show up on my scorecard.
Personally I think that the front nine are far more attractive than the back nine. Besides the first three holes described above, the par 5 seventh and par 4 eigth are amongs my favourites. The seventh is a double dogleg playing uphill with an undulated fairway, interesting but fair as it is the shortest par five of the course. The eigth hole plays downhill out of a teebox surrounded by a wall of bushes, don’t be too long off the tee here as the fairway is split by bushes and bunkers after 240 meters. I placed my six iron to the right side of the fairway with 140 meters to the pin, almost made the green in two and three-putted for bogey.
On the back nine, the 10th, 17th and 18th hole are the most interesting. The 13th surely is a challenge, the par 5 measures 549 meters from yellow, but there aren’t too many obstacles on your way to the green. I avoided the fairway bunker, made the green in four and two-putted for bogey.
As for my game I found confidence again today. Played conservatively, kept the ball in the fairway and could have played the round with three clubs alone: six iron of the tee and in the fairway, lobwedge for almost all approach shots and the putter.
In case you are in the area, the Märkische Golfclub Potsdam is surely worth a visit, living up to the standards of a Leading Golf Course. The club also features a six hole practice course, a nine hole course, a huge practice area and a nice clubhouse with a very nice view over the 18th hole.
Greenfees are 60 Euro on weekdays and 75 Euros on weekends.