German Culture: Golf & Golf Courses in Germany

Robert Easton

Bernhard Langer - My Autobiography.

With more than 500 courses and 300,000 players Germany is certainly a place where you can enjoy good golf.

It's crucial that you plan your trip properly in advance as you won't be able to just hire clubs and walk onto a course, but don't let that put you off, there are many great courses worth every Euro of the green fee.

The number of German golf courses has rocketed in the last fifteen years, in part due to the popularity brought to the sport by the greatest German golfer of all time, Bernhard 'The Ice Man' Langer.

One of Europe's top golfers, Langer has a slightly undeserved reputation for not showing emotion, but he certainly showed it after his two US Masters victories and after leading the European Team to victory in golf's most bitterly fought battle, the 2004 Ryder Cup.

Langer was from a poor background, the son of a Russian POW, so it was caddying which first brought him into contact with the game. He won the first professional tournament he entered, but was later hit by golf's most devastating affliction, 'the yips'.

Sufferers' hands disobey the brain on short putts, jerking and twisting with a mind of their own. At one point Langer was 'yipping' so badly that he four-putted from three feet and considered giving up the game.

Now he constantly experiments with different putters and grips and has finally overcome his putting problems. Langer is a devout Catholic and plays most of his golf in the US, but still retains a massive following in Germany.

Among Germany's very top clubs perhaps the most renowned are Gut Kaden near Hamburg (green fees around 70 Euro) or the former home of the German Open, the wooded Club Zur Vahr near Bremen (green fee around 60 Euro).

Also very popular are the Hohen Wieschendorf, (40 Euro) a course by the Baltic Sea which may make Scottish golfers feel at home, and the Motzsener See Club in Brandenburg.

Bavaria has a very large number of clubs, and so would be a good place for someone planning an extended trip, and of course a trip to Augsburg Golf Club, the place where Bernhard Langer first came into contact with the game, is a must for all die-hard Ice Man fans.

The most important factor affecting your enjoyment of golf in Germany may be the degree to which you plan ahead. Unfortunately in Germany golf is still the preserve of an elite, there are no municipal (public) courses, green fees are sometimes high, and Germany is the only European country where you need a licence before you can play.

The licence is called the Platzriefe and getting one can cost several hundreds of pounds and require attendance of a five-day training course.

The golfing associations claim that the regulations prevent unskilled players from delaying play, but others might argue that even good players who know the etiquette can hold up a game, and that the rules are actually just there to preserve the game's exclusivity.

Getting the licence is expensive and difficult, so some German players go to Switzerland or Austria where it's much easier to pass. Fortunately, most clubs will not require foreign players to obtain the licence as long as they can prove their handicap.

For this reason it's vital to get a handicap certificate before you leave for Germany, and it would also be a good idea to contact the clubs in advance to check regulations and green fees. It's obligatory to book ahead at many clubs. One last thing to remember - don't let on if you have a secret past in the porn industry.

Axel Boeckem, a 56-year-old computer salesman and 15-handicap golfer, was recently expelled from his golf club after being spotted in a porn film having sex with 26-year old porn star Carmen, whilst wearing nothing but his Hagen Golf Club tie. The club felt that such activities damaged their image, but were later forced to reinstate his membership after he took the matter to court.

Other articles by Robert Easton
The Amber Room
The Berlin Wall
Austrian Beer
Austrian Food
German Beer
German Cars
German Food
German Music
German Philosophers
German Politics
German Stereotypes
Hiking in Austria
Johannes Gutenberg
Michael Schumacher
Sex in Germany
Sex in Austria
Sex in Switzerland
Skiing in Switzerland
Swiss Stereotypes
William Tell

Deutscher Golf Verband e.V.
Viktoriastrasse 16,
65 189 Wiesbaden
Tel: (0611) 99 02 00
Fax: (0611) 99 02 040

Selected Golf Clubs in Germany

Garmisch-Partenkirchen Golf Club
Postfach 1345, 82453 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Tel: (08824) 8344
Fax: (08824) 325

Freiburg Golf Club
Kruttweg 1, 79199 Kirchzarten
Tel: (07661) 98470
Fax: (07661) 984747

Regensburg Golf and Leisure Club
Jugdschloss Thiergarten
93177 Altentham
Tel: (09403) 505 Fax: (09403) 4391

Stuttgarter Solitude Golf Club
71297 Monscheim
Tel: (07044) 5852
Fax: (07044) 5357

See our City guides for further details

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