The 2019 is coming to an end slowly but surely. The days are getting shorter, it’s getting much nastier outside than it used to be weeks ago. As I’m writing this, it’s raining cats and dogs outside and nobody would get me on a golf course right now.
Unless fall is showing up again with a lovely October or we spontaneously decide to leave for a break to the southern hemisphere, the proper rounds I’m going to play are coming to phase out for this year (unfortunately).
Perfect timing to plan for next year!
As some of you might know, throughout the year I’m playing a Deutsche Bank tournament series which brings me to lovely courses here in the region, including:
…and many others.
For recreational golf, without any tournament pressure, I created a list of German golf courses which I plan to play in 2020:
As you see, these are spread all over Germany. Some in the north, some in the south-east, some in the south-west, in the west, in the east—so pretty much all over the country. And even though this means a lot of driving, I can’t wait for some to play (some for the first time).
When it comes to famous German golf courses, admittedly, there might only be a handful. Munich-Eichenried comes to mind, so does Lärchenhof due to the BMW tourneys. More recently the European Tour teed off at Green Eagle near Hamburg and both Frankfurt and Gut Kaden have already staged pro events in the past.
So did St. Leon-Rot, one of Germany’s top courses and host to numerous Deutsche Bank SAP Open tournaments as well as the Solheim Cup.
The course is located 90 minutes from where I live so I decided to give it a go, a couple of weeks ago. On a Monday morning, in beautiful sunshine, I went down there and had a pure blast. But first things first:
For the last years during which I refrained from paying pathetically high subscription fees for Sky, I paid from time to time a week ticket for Sky Ticket, which is basically the stripped-down version of Sky for those who want to pay-per-view.
It was easy to do, easy to use and I bought such week ticket usually for the bigger tournaments such as majors, when I thought I had time to sit down and watch some golf. That’s not given during the day with a 2-year old toddler which is supposed to only watch one episode of Peppa Pig a day.
I seriously dislike Sky for all what they are doing, for their price policy, their stupid apps and all business decisions they take. In 2019 however, as an infrequent Sky Ticket user, I was offered a multi-month subscription free of charge. ‘Why’ you will ask would they do that. Well it’s the football break in Europe that time and I reckon they fired out free subscriptions as a Marketing gig. If they’d be smart enough they would have checked that I never watched a single football match and sticked to golf only.
Clearly I didn’t complain and was able to watch the Masters, the PGA Championship, the US Open and The Open Championship for no charge at all.
After that period I dropped out of Sky Ticket again and was kind of relieved to be honest, even tough I had no chance to watch golf anymore.
Then I finally found golf’s broadcasting holy grail and since then love every minute of that experience. Let me explain why.
Currently being over the moon with my weekend round, I can report that my (long-time) season goal no. 1, namely #Project12, now finally is accomplished.
Overachieved I have to say. I wanted to reach a handicap of 12.X by year’s end. Two weekends ago I managed to come down to 13.1, which actually was already great news. Then yesterday, in wet and cold conditions, I scored 40 net points, which brought me further down to 11.9.
During my round at Golf Club Domtal Mommenheim, south of Mainz, Germany, I shot 7 pars, 10 bogeys and unfortunately had to pick one up on the easy 18th. That’s 24 gross points and the mentioned 40 net points. And all that without using any woods, teeing off with a 3-iron only.
Since #Project12 is now in the books, it’s all about #Project9 and #Break80 for the coming weeks and of course next season. Wish me luck!
The domestically famous St. Leon-Rot club is a 90 minutes Autobahn ride from where I live and I actually passed the course often. I never played it though which had to change.
So I was overly happy to walk in the footsteps of golf’s greats on the St. Leon course, where the Solheim Cup, several Deutsche Bank SAP Open and other tournaments were staged, where Tiger Woods and Ernie Els battled it out some years ago and where Germany’s amateur golf elite is practicing.
It’s no spoiler when I tell you I really liked it there. Going to St. Leon-Rot (once for each course) on a yearly basis will be my new tradition, and a nice one indeed.
According to Golf Advisor, this is the list of the world’s most beautiful courses which are open to play for the mortals. So you’ll find Pebble Beach, which sets you back 500 dollars, but you wouldn’t find Cypress Point which clearly, as the direct neighbor, is equally beautiful but is a private member’s club, one of the stricter ones even.
You can believe what you want in terms of rankings, this has its US-focus as well and only lists 5 Continental European courses after all. Not fair, you might argue. Well I have very little comparison I’m afraid to judge if the US-courses indeed are of such perfect beauty that courses of other regions are under-represented to a certain extent.
From those 50 courses, I’m fortunate enough to have played 2 at least. The rest is a working target. Will keep you posted on the outcome, as always.
Decades ago, life was easy. Golf life, too. There were distance poles on the side of the fairway, indicating 100, 150 and 200 meters or yards. It was measured towards the front of the green and you would add a good portion to the green center or the flag, whatever you were aiming for.
In between poles you would either roughly estimate or pace out manually. These measures were of course very rough but fine for most golfers nonetheless for hundred years.
Then modern technology hit the golf course as well. Nowadays it’s common to ask for exact distances, and when I say “exactly”, I mean exactly. A margin of three meters doesn’t seem to be OK anymore – you need exact figures.
I couldn’t resist myself either, as you can imagine, so in the end I use both a laser and a GPS device. But let me explain what I think of both devices and what I believe these are targeted at. Because not every style of player would be equally happy with both devices.
Generally I truly appreciate the technology that made its way to golf as well. I also believe that, correctly used, it can drastically improve your game. But it does require some thought process and less ego—yes, I’m talking to you, middle aged male golfer.
What I really like about golf is not only playing the game for myself but also to cheer for one or the other professional player. I try to see some pro tournaments on TV which is not easy with a full business and family life, but I do have some favorite players that I follow, double-tap on Instagram and support in other ways.
Compared to other sports like football I seriously appreciate the fact that rooting for one player not at all means that I hate everybody else in the field—a behavior which unfortunately is so predominant in football.
Anyway, I like playing golf and I like support a handful of golf players. It’s a gentleman’s sport throughout and spectators should be included in the equation. I’m aware that the Ryder Cup or the Solheim Cup might be sort of an exception, where two continents, two teams clash together and the situation is artificially hyped to an extreme. It’s different from the rest, one could say.
Coming back to the normal tour schedule, players earn points according to their stats in the weekly events. The better they play, the more they earn, the more points they receive. Easy as that.
Translated in a ranking of points earned globally on any given tour, this adds up to the current standing on the official world golf ranking high-score list. Please find below the 2019 season ending top 10, enriched with my personal view on the person in question:
Not just since the most recent discussions about Bryson DeChambeau’s or J.B. Holmes’ approach to slow play, it has been a hot topic on tour.
What is slow play, why is it dangerous for our beloved sport and how could the tours increase the pace of play, watch this.
I’d consider myself a quick player: I don’t do practice swings at all, neither on the tee, nor on the green, I have a quick decision process what clubs to take and I’m a fast walker. For me the only things that take a second is to plan the shot (shaping) and to get distances right.
For the latter I highly recommend GPS devices such as watches or handheld products, or the good old laser. There’s a blog post coming on that soon, so please check back and have a read.
Playing in a group of course creates some dependencies to other players but there are measures to speed up: Ready golf is one, leaving the flag stick in is a second. And before you ask, yes there’s a blog post coming on that one too!