During my recent stay in Belek, Turkey, it was no question if I should squeeze some golf rounds into the family break, it was more a question of how often my wife would approve to be alone with the kids… Alone by the pool of a luxury resort that is.
I played in Belek years ago already and I was astonished by the number of golf courses and the quality at the time of my stay. Back then I remember it was May when I played five different courses during a course of a 7-day trip. This time we booked a family retreat for eleven days in July and surely some golf was on the table, too.
From experience it was difficult to differentiate quality aspects from one Belek course to the other. Back then I played Carya, Cornelia, Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Gloria New and the PGA Sultan course at Antalya Golf Club. The latter club is somewhat attached to the Kempinski hotel and as we stayed there, it was pretty obvious which course I wanted to play again. Especially as the AGC, the Antalya Golf Club, is the home to the Turkish PGA and hosted several European Tour events—so quality was pretty much given I figured. I was so wrong unfortunately.
Apart from skiing in Austria earlier in the year, this trip in May was the first summer-holiday-like we scheduled in 2022. And after all the Corona-mess this really felt like a true holiday again, gladly.
It began with some days in Switzerland, then led us to beautiful Lake Como, where we stayed for a week in beautiful Menaggio, a lovely town on the west side of the lake. It marks the northern end of the so-called Como Riviera and indeed is a great place to stay and enjoy the area.
Close by, there is a golf treasure I had on my list. Menaggio & Cadenabbia Golf Club is the second oldest golf course in Italy and together with Villa d‘Este one of the two clubs in the Como area. Staying in Menaggio, no question I had my clubs with me.
Despite being not far from where I live, I never played this course before. Today was the day, and it was a pretty good day indeed.
All the other courses in my region held their season closing tournaments and blocked the course during golf prime time. So I looked for another course where I could play a round as the weather was forecasted to be really nice.
I ended up at Golfclub Friedberg. Or Golfpark am Löwenhof. Or Sommerfeld Golf Friedberg… no idea what the official name is to be honest. There are at least three websites for the very same golf course. Very confusing and totally worthless.
Friedberg is like 30 minutes from where I live but still I never had the chance to play here. I heard some very strange stories being a very dry course in the summer time, so I figured let’s try out in the autumn, can’t go wrong much. And I was totally desperate to play.
I was grouped together with a lovely elderly couple and 14-year old Jan. He was very chatty (I mean really chatty), played only for 6 months but was already a fine player with his 20 handicap. He was +11 after 13 holes. I on the other side was minimum +13 after 11 holes… As an excuse, this was his 6th round of the week. I’m not even sure I played 6 rounds all year!
Score-wise it wasn’t the best I had to offer. Even with my irons I wasn’t as constant as I had wished but it was a great round nonetheless. The course is interesting and challenging. Nothing too fancy but definitely a well designed and well maintained course which I might visit a bit more often next year.
Or in other words, it doesn’t at all deserve all the hate. Only the club management and the three websites deserve it. The lady in the office was not in her best mood either and they had no logo balls I could purchase. A real pity.
This is the beginning of a new category of articles and posts which will, quite irregular to start with, surface here on Golficiency.
Over the years of golf travel and golf travel preparation, I was a keen collector of travel ideas and hence created quite a substantial golf bucket list. It grew longer and longer. So long that it’s easy to snip here and there and build a neat little golf trip around it.
As my list consists of international courses of all sorts, it should be relevant and interesting for a broad spectrum of golf enthusiasts, just like you!
I traveled for golf and I traveled with golf — and I’m sure you appreciate as well some well investigated golf course, travel and suitable accomodation information to have you all prepared for a great golf break with your partner, your mates or your family.
Could there be anything better than golf travel; get around the world, see new places, meet new people, play the best golf courses and stay at fantastic hotels and resorts? … See, there you have it! Nothing beats a great golf trip. Well, almost nothing.
Stay tuned for some great articles coming your way. Make sure to follow Golficiency on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to not miss a thing.
As the weather turns colder and more miserable outside here in Central Europe, it fills me with great memories of late 2019, when I played golf during winter, which in Mallorca feels nothing but great with its blue skies and very pleasant and moderate temperatures.
At the same time it gives me a heavy heart as so much happened during the past months which did not turn well for golf in the Balearics or for the lovely islands in general. Of course I’m relating to the COVID-19 lockdown and all the unfortunate consequences that come with it.
This is a travel and course report of the better times when playing golf was an obvious thing to do in good weather and when every chance to play such a course is an absolute must.
Mallorca is a golf mekka, I don’t break this to you I’m sure. On this rather small island there are not less than 24 golf courses and the vast majority of them are publicly available to play.
The oldest, since 1964, and maybe hence the most original course of the island is Golf Son Vida, meandering around the famous Castillo Son Vida Hotel and through the posh and sophisticated Son Vida urbanizacion, just 10 minutes outside of Palma.
Nowadays Mallorca is famous as a golf destination all across Europe, if not the world — and it all started with Son Vida, the grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses.
It was only much slower, but that wasn’t my fault in all fairness.
St. Leon-Rot is one of these famous golf complexes that scream golf quality. It features two courses and they used to be on everyone’s list for the best golf courses in Germany.
Last year was the first time I set foot on this holy land and managed to play the St. Leon course, presumably the more exciting and more difficult course. At least it’s the track that is played when international golf tournaments are staged here at St. Leon-Rot. As I only experienced one of the two golf courses so far, the plan was to go for the other one this time, the Rot course, named after the other part of town.
Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, NY is said to be one of the hardest golf courses to shoot low scores on. And quite fittingly it was the venue of this year’s US Open.
As a matter of fact, there was only one single player in the field prevailing in a sense that he managed to stay under par after 4 rounds in great weather conditions: Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion.
If you want to understand what all players went through these days, suffering from bad scores, across the leaderboard, you should watch this video to get a sense for the course characteristics of Winged Food West and potential traps along the way:
I seriously love these “Every Hole” videos of Golf Digest! If you like these too, then go check out their playlist! You’re welcome.
On a little quest to play as many Leading Golf Courses of Germany as possible, this little journey brought me to Mannheim-Viernheim, the 2018 team champion of Germany and regular suspect to win the Final Four each year.
The badge “Leading Golf Courses” is one that provides some clarity for a question such as: Is it worth it to travel to that course?
This question can always be answered with a plain and simple “yes”. The venue will be great, the maintenance will stand out, and other factors as well will show its exquisite level of detail and craftsmanship. And as Mannheim is just a 45 minutes ride from where I live, I had this course on my to-do-list for a while already.
Then came Corona and with it a completely failed season preparation. I cancelled all tournaments scheduled in 2020 and instead decided to play some gems in the area I always wanted to play but didn’t manage to so far.
So on a beautiful sunny Wednesday morning, I took my daughter to the kindergarten and then hit the autobahn Mannheim-bound. As said, it’s not even an hour ride and super easy to get there.
The moment I learned about The Loop course at Forest Dunes in Michigan, I was intrigued to learn more about it. The first fully reversible golf course, designed by Tom Doak, that you can play clockwise and counter-clockwise the following day.
How ingenious is the idea to create a course, that’s actually two courses at the same time, depending on from what side you’re teeing off.
So imagine you go to tee 1, put your ball in the fairway and attack hole 1 afterwards, before you head to tee 2. Pretty standard right? The interesting turn in this story is, by tomorrow, you will play the same fairway from the other side as hole 18, ending on a green next to where you started your round yesterday.
Sounds weird? Well, it is weird, but so cool at the same time!
Watch this “Adventures of Golf” episode with Erik Anders Lang, thoroughly exploring The Loop and having some interesting discussion with the architecture maestro Tom Doak himself.
I can’t wait to see similar courses being opened in other parts of the world as well. It won’t solve immanent issues golf has at the moment, but will clearly make up for some excitement and change on the course. What a brilliant idea!
I’ve been to Dubai couple of times, always enjoyed it very much, did a lot of touristy things, did a lot of expat things, played a lot of golf—but what I didn’t do for some reason is night golf: golfing under floodlights.
See Iona Stephen in this Golfing World video teeing it off at the Faldo Course at the Emirates Golf Club Dubai to get some impression how that looks like. As I haven’t experienced this myself, it’s hard to assess how the actual feeling might be, whether it’s such a different game that it’s not real golf anymore. Watching the video, it does look like proper golf and I’m intrigued to check it out myself soon.