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The 50 most beautiful golf courses in the world you can play

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.

pebblebeach
Unbeatable coastal golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links | (c) pebblebeach.com

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.

So this is the list with more details:

Continue reading The 50 most beautiful golf courses in the world you can play

GPS or laser rangefinder – that is the question

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.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we:

Continue reading GPS or laser rangefinder – that is the question

My take on the OWGR Top 10 of 2019

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.

Brooks Koepka
Current world’s no. 1: Brooks Koepka | (c) golfweek.com

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:

Continue reading My take on the OWGR Top 10 of 2019

Slow play is killing the game

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!

41 net points at GC Main-Taunus and a new handicap for me. A good weekend.

Not easy to pad yourself on the shoulder without showing off or sounding too pretentious. But my game is finally starting to go the right direction and you can imagine I like that!

On the weekend I played a tournament at Golf Club Main-Taunus in Wiesbaden and had a great day with good company, good weather and good scores.

As reminder: I’m currently avoiding my woods and hybrid and instead only use my 2- and 3-iron off the tee. Still scored an 83 and even had three or four lip-outs on the green. In the end I carded 25 gross points and 41 net points which brought me down to a 13.1 handicap. Not far off my season goal of 12.X. And I had no double-bogeys at all, just bogeys, pars and one birdie. Good news that.

I had to leave early and missed the winning ceremony, so I’m not even sure how I ranked in the comp; dont’t think too shabby though.

Still there’s a lot of work to be done, much practice necessary in order to finally make some progress with my woods also. I just feel that I need professional help here unfortunately.

[UPDATE. I actually won the tournament. Who would have thought!! Came up 1st in the gross and 2nd in the net stableford calculation. What great news!]

The 2026 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor will be absolutely mind blowing

Very recently it was announced that the 2026 Ryder Cup (and yes that’s a long way to go) will be staged at Adare Manor in west Ireland. Despite the fact that I’ve been to Ireland a couple of times already, I’ve never played golf there. It was mostly work and one buddy trip from London, but golf was never an option.

I remember that I’ve seen all these lads with golf travel cases at Dublin airport and said to myself “I want that, too!”. So golf in Ireland has been on my bucket list for quite a while, especially the south-west is something that I’d like to tick off that list rather sooner than later. Apart from these legendary courses such as Ballybunion, Waterville, Lahinch, Tralee, Doonbeg, Old Head etc. there are others in other parts of the island, like Portmarnock, European Club, the K Club and alike that I had on my list.

I did not have Adare Manor on it, and truth be told, I have no idea why not. The property (hotel and course) was fully renovated in 2017, so I reckon it has to do with the fact that the golf course changed quite dramatically in the recent past. But I wasn’t prepared to see such beauty when somebody told me Adare Manor will host the Ryder Cup.

I investigated quite a bit since then and can officially agree that it’s one of the worthiest places to host the pan-Atlantic tournament everybody is so much longing for.

But see for yourself.

I hope to play here before 2026 in order to give you a more personal view rather than just showing you a professionally produced resort video, which I have to admit is pretty cool indeed.

Fell in love all over again. Damn.

Preparing for St. Leon-Rot, tee time booked

Just in case you are not familiar with St. Leon-Rot, this course is situated pretty much in the heart of Germany. It was ranked “Best Golf Course in Germany” for some years in a row but you will likely know it from professional golf tournaments such as the Deutsche Bank SAP Open or the Solheim Cup.

Speaking of SAP, the company’s headquarters are just a stone’s throw from the course and one of the SAP founders, Dietmar Hopp, opened the club in the mid-90s and since then takes good care that the club improves, maintains quality, and retains its good reputation as top notch European Tour destination and golf elite training center. He also acts as president of the club.

Living in the Frankfurt area, a one hour drive from St. Leon-Rot, I have to admit I’ve never been there. And this is exactly what I will change.

I just booked a tee time in roughly three weeks and can’t wait to tee off here. The club offers two championship courses, the St. Leon and the Rot. From what I’ve seen two courses with fairly different characteristics. The St. Leon being a bit more open, with more water, compared to Rot, a bit more classic tree-lined, more parkland style. But as said, that’s currently just assumption only and I will check if that’s a fair assessment after I visited the club.

Have I mentioned that I’m looking forward to it…? Can’t wait really!

Up-and-down at Licher Golf Club

Or better: down and back up again.

On the weekend I played a tournament at Licher Golf Club. This was my second round I played with my new Titleist CBs and I’m still in the process to familiarize myself with the club, the shaft, the distance and the feel in general.

So far, so good. I know Lich being a track in excellent condition throughout the year. It’s not an easy course and can be tricky here and there so a little experience is helpful.

The start is brutal: First hole, over water, dogleg right par-5! Never played par here as far as I remember. Stroke index 1. I wouldn’t say I was starting cold but my score was kind of freezy on Saturday. At least on the first nine.

After the turn I had scored 51 shots which for me equals 12 net points (5 gross). Oh my! On the second half I needed only 40 shots that translate to 22 net points (14 gross). You can imagine I liked the second half better.

So in hindsight I’m quite OK with 34 total net points, having in mind my weak start and that I’m only playing with my irons. I carried my 5-wood but refrained from using it as I feared the dispersion. What’s needed now is to create a bit more consistency with my new irons and then maybe get some training sessions in with my woods in order to get them in play more often.

My 2-iron usually has a distance of up to 200 meters. So I’m not much shorter than my fellow bogey golfers with their drivers. Often I’m farther even (and silently enjoy the moment having somebody out-driven with an iron).

I’m still a bit disappointed with my handicap direction this year though. Instead of going down to single digits I’m up by 0.4. Not a drama but still not the desired outcome so far. But I’m on it, promise to practice more and will card another great round this year to get me down a little (hopefully).

Wish me luck.

[UPDATE. I finally received the full results of the tournament. Actually came out 2nd place… Who would have thought!]

Putting drills with mini cups

It’s been a while that I recommended something as practice drill or advised someone how to improve. Mostly because I find little time to practice myself, but today I have to tell you this:

Yesterday I played a tournament at Licher Golf Club. It’s an excellent course with great training facilities. What they do have as well is a large part of the putting green equipped with mini cups. What that means, you are not putting towards a normal-sized 4.25 inch hole but towards a much smaller target. The ball just barely fits into the cup as you see in this picture.

You will know from your own putting practice, you assess the break, imagine the speed and then align maybe like:

  • “cup center”
  • “right edge”
  • “left third”, or for the more advanced player
  • “second quarter to the right”

Of course with more break you align more outwards, but for shorter and straighter putts, you tend to use the metrics of the cup to target your ball.

With smaller cups you have to do the same thing, you just need to be even more accurate to have a chance to hole the putt. A ball aligned towards the cup center which is breaking unintentionally may have a chance to reach the outer part of the standard-sized hole and still drop, while with mini cups this is unlikely to happen.

What this knowledge does, it creates extra pressure in your head, you–intentionally or even unintentionally–adapt your aiming and execution, being aware of that narrower margin for error.

So taking that thought process as given, imagine you practice putting with mini cups for at least 20 minutes before a tournament and as you reach the first green of the course, the hole looks huge compared to the one that you just practiced with. If you stick to the same putting stroke and thoughts, it should be much easier to putt into these standard-sized holes.

So I’m a big fan of mini cups on putting practice greens! More clubs should follow the lead here, I propose!

Last remark: The complete opposite is the usage of these huge hole cups for beginners you might have seen. In my opinion this has nothing to do with golf anymore and should only be used on par-3 courses that are indeed intended for beginners to learn the game. It’s definitely appreciative there.

What do you think? Ever practiced putting with mini cups?