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.
Last weekend I played my first and only tournament of the 2020 season. This year truly is remarkable I have to say.
It feels weird. Usually I play around 10 to 15 tournaments a year. Actually almost every round I play is a tournament. And as I’m playing a comp series that is not connected to a certain club, I tend to get around pretty much in a radius of a 90 minutes ride by car.
This year is different. I had no season prep at all, played and practiced very irregularly only and as a consequence didn’t play much at all. As a matter of fact the comp I played last Saturday was the first one this year, and I’m pretty sure it will remain my only one of 2020.
What crazy months this have been…!
Anyway, I wanted to at least get in one official score in 2020 which is why I enrolled for a tournament at Golfclub Rheinhessen Hofgut Wissberg St. Johann, pretty mouthful indeed.
I knew the course from two years ago and while I can’t say I remembered the holes, there were passages which indeed came back to mind. Not to puzzle with local knowledge but it was good to at least have a feeling of “I played here before, I know the course, there are no surprises”.
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.
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.
Two rounds of golf at a fantastic Mediterranean venue, in such a beautiful spot in the world. What else could you ask for. Is it worth it though?
The island of Mallorca has always been close to my heart. Not that I spent most of my holidays here, but when I first set foot on this island many years ago, I fell in love with the interesting complexity of it which seems to get forgotten sometimes when you read about Mallorca and its annual struggle to cope with the sheer amount of tourists coming here.
It’s an obvious beautiful island but also looking a bit deeper, it reveals so many great things, so beautiful spots, so tranquil places, so utterly fantastic stuff which stay more or less uncovered if you’d just spend a beach summer break or something alike there.
Cyclists know why Mallorca is special and golfers do, too.
June is usually supposed to be pretty much the middle of the season. In COVID-times however, all this is turned upside down and June is the new April.
Well, what a year this has been. Working in home-office for over 3 months now, May has been the time, at least in Germany, when golf courses have been re-opened after the closure due to the Corona pandemic.
I made it to the range in May twice I guess and it was OK, but playing a round, the first round of the year, clearly is something much different.
Checking the courses nearby, I was astonished how crowded the tee times have been. On the weekend, when I have time to play, there wasn’t a single slot available from 6am to 6pm. Fully booked golf courses with 4 players in the group, what a nice thing to see.
Well, not so much if you’d be interested to get your name on the list on short notice yourself but overall great that golf is back in the game. Would be shame if not really: An outdoors, no-contact sport in beautiful weather. What could go wrong, huh?
Instead of the usual suspect courses around the corner, I chose a course a tad outside of the Rhein-Main region that normally doesn’t linger so many people just by the fact that it’s a bit remote. Not far off, but still a journey from downtown Frankfurt for instance.
With the year 2020 becoming more and more strange, this all is going differently than planned. Early May will be the first possibility to hit some balls and if all things go alright and there is no second COVID-wave coming our way the season will be shortened quite drastically anyway and requires some adjustments to the travel and game plan of 2020.
Courses I most definitely want to play this year in my area:
In addition some others a bit farther away:
Originally I had some others on the list, some in Munich, a trip to Hamburg, another one to Berlin, one to Weimar or to the south-west of Germany.
Also, the original plan had open slots for travel to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and Abu Dhabi at the end of the year to play some golf. I’m pretty sure this is not happening this year though.
Stay positive, play as much golf as you can and appreciate that you can play at all.
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: