Just yesterday I arrived back home after a one-week trip to the Austrian Alps for a combined hiking and golfing trip. We chose Kitzbühel as one of the best spots in the area to encounter a great time with beautiful golf courses, hundreds of kilometers of picturesque hiking trails, a lovely village with all amenities and tons of possibilities for wining and dining.
Kitzbühel offers all this and especially for golfers it is a Mecca-like experience as “Kitz” (as residents call it) features not less than four golf courses on its own, with multiple more if you are willing to drive a bit. As one of these four is a rather boring course for what I’ve seen online, I figured it’s a good idea to test the remaining three.
And so I started with a big highlight, a member of “The Leading Golf Courses“! We’ve been a bit unlucky with the weather but as the first sun rays came out after a couple of rainy days I hit the first course on my list: Golf Eichenheim. It’s a fairly new course just three minutes south of Kitzbühel, was founded in 1999 and designed by Kyle Phillips (who also designed courses like Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, Kingsbarns in Scotland, The Grove in England and the PGA of Sweden National Golf Resort). Eichenheim is quite an exclusive place and is attached to the 5-star Grand Tirolia Golf & Ski Resort.
The course seems to be teamed up in whatever shape or form to Mercedes-Benz as they promoted the new GLE class on the course on the day of the world premiere of this car. As a former Daimler employee I was a bit impressed I have to say. And all pin flags featured Mercedes-Benz logos instead of the one from Eichenheim itself, but I don’t even know if that’s always the case.
After a quick visit to the front desk for a spontaneous round of golf I was welcomed very friendly and provided with an immediate tee time. I paid a very reasonable sundowner rate (at 14:30h) and off I went.
Hole 1 is dogleg right through a narrow rock and tree formation that you can’t see the pin from the tee. As I had no warm-up at all I pretty much screwed the first shot and ended on the 10th fairway to the left. After an embarrassing recovery shot back to the 1 I could see the flag and made my way to the green.
One thing I learned very early during the round: Alps golf means steep elevation changes and that walking the course up and down for 4 hours after a 15km mountain hike in the morning can be a very strenuous encounter. Also I have to say that the routing of the course seems a bit sub-optimal as sometimes you find yourself sort of hiking for minutes till you find the next tee box, totally out of breath, with burning legs… and I’m quite in shape, no idea how elderly people tackle all that by foot.
Another highlight of the course, the number 3, a par-5 with a tee box from high above the fairway. A gutsy drive smashes the ball way forward but the hole is uphill itself and leaves some effort to make par. It’s an impressive view from here and you forget all leg pain and breathlessness once you take a second (or minute) and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Kitzbühel mountains.
The 4 is a nice par-3 followed by a downhill par-4 with a wide fairway and easy to reach the green in two. Then another long walk to the next tee for the third par-3, the 137m uphill hole 6. The 7 is a very picturesque par-4 dogleg right around an old barn (which is still in use I guess). There are cows to the left and sheep to the right, other than that there is nothing out there to disturb a great, but exhausting round of golf.
Holes 8, 9, 10, 11 are pretty straightforward but nice holes, the 12 is another par-3 from high-up down to a sort of valley. You walk all the way down to the green, execute the putts, and just walk up the same way you came to reach tee no 13. At this hole it is forbidden to use a wood from the tee as apparently there happened some incidents (i.e. accidents) with off-line balls towards the residential area below the right of the fairway. I took my 4-iron and was left with a wedge shot into the narrow green.
The 14, another downhill par-3 is followed by a blind par-4 dogleg right. The next holes, 16 through 18, are laid up pretty much in an open setting and unfortunately are a bit exposed to the street that runs through Kitzbühel with much traffic. Hence it’s a bit louder here, plus from here I had to wait for almost every shot as the groups in front of me were waiting too. No kidding, I counted 11 groups on these 3 last holes at a time. I guess these 3 holes alone took me another hour to finish a very interesting golf experience for which I waited for quite a while. It was a great kickoff for some great golf days coming up in the week. If you are in the area and fancy a great round of golf, Eichenheim should be definitely on your list! It’s not a global top-notch course but definitely ranks amongst the best of what Austria has to offer I’m sure.
Next courses on my list were:
Check out the Golficiency tag Kitzbühel for all the reports.
And if you wish to experience something similar as well, I recommend these websites: