I have itchy feet somehow… Due to the fact that I don’t really play regularly anymore (which is a shame, I know) I feel like I should plan 10 golf trips in advance! Dubai is booked, a long-weekend-trip to Ireland or Scotland is in the making, but still I feel I could do some more. Lately I’m dreaming about going to Sylt again. This week last year was just amazing.
On the picture: 15th hole at Budersand Golf Course, Sylt, Germany; probably one of only three real links courses in Germany.
last but not least: third golf day in a row, third golf course experience. first thing to notice was, that due to the weekend it was much more packed on the course and on the tee time entry list. even the rest of the island was a bit more crowded. it’s really an issue, i guess: the weather improved and was brilliant, whealthy people from hamburg have a short way to sylt by car or private jet and so it was a bit difficult for me to start the round as easy as the days before. in the end i got a tee time 2 hours after my request and was assigned to three other people from hamburg with handicaps from 11 to 16 (which is far better than playing with some 54ers!).
the course is situated right at the airport what makes it noisy for the most part. that is definitely on the downside. additionally it looks nice but it’s a very flat course and the advertised links character is lacking a bit. the front nine are – sorry to say – a bit boring. the fairways are wide, the rough is always playable, bunkers are deep but don’t come into play that often, it’s flat for the most part and there are very few hazards that could have made it a bit more exciting and good looking.
the three people in my group (1 gentleman and 2 ladies – all very charming) helped me a lot with orientation and advice for course management and strategy. the result was a very nice round of 92 on this par 73 course. equalling 39 points i would have even improved my handicap if that was a tournament. that’s interesting and was really fun!! i’ve hit 36% of the fairways and my GIR went up to 28%. i had not one single penalty shot in the entire round and would have finished it with the same ball i had begun with, if there wouldn’t be such biotope where my ball landed in and which is prohibited to step on. so i got a free drop and finished the round with another ball i found in the rough.
as a resume, i’d say that the marine golf club sylt is a nice course and i recommend it if you’re here some day, but in comparison to the 2 others i played, it’s definitely on rank 3!
bottom line: playing golf on sylt is a marvellous experience. every course has its charme, but golf club budersand sylt is a real treat and you shouldn’t leave that out! the setting and course design is overwhelming and worth a long journey but to have fun, you should be a decent ball striker! golf club sylt is second in this list. it’s flat with less links character but a very nice course with interesting holes and challenging shots to play. the marine golf club is last, but far from being a loser. compared to some other courses i played recently, it’s a beauty and perfectly set into the northern-german landscape, next to the sea (and the noisy airport…)
here some final impressions of the marine golf club sylt:
Second golf experience on Sylt: the famous new golf course at the most southern tip of the island: Budersand. together with the 5-star superior Golf and Spa Hotel Budersand, this resort is very worth a golf trip.
The course is currently rated as 3rd best course in Germany and was ‘Best new Course’ in 2010. It is a true links course with interesting fairways between hilly dunes and the sea. It’s a beautiful spot out here. At some points I nearly forgot to play and watched, enjoyed and took pictures instead.
The course has very narrow fairways, deep pot bunkers and some tricky water hazards. so every player really has to be as precise as possible, should consider to play mostly with irons and has to carry enough balls! There is not much between striking a beautiful shot right on the fairway and – on the other hand – to lose the ball in the hilly dunes just meters away. To be honest: the course is not easy at all and I lost quite some balls, which is bad. Therefore I would recommend to buy a birdie book for 4 EUR, that could help avoiding the most dumbest mistakes.
The starter was a funny guy, offered a chat and some coffee and had no problems putting me into the field without tee time. Too bad that I was unlucky with the group in front of me which was the slowest couple ever!! He, 70+, massive guy, driving in a cart, followed by his skinny wife, by foot(!) and both slow like hell! Fortunately they realized the same at the 4th and let me through. After that point, I had a great day: the weather was brilliant, not too warm, not too cold, the wind went down to normal condition as you expect right at the coast and the course was in good shape. OK, the fairways were a bit dry and brown here and there but these greens were the best I’ve ever played! No idea how the greenkeepers can achieve that this early after the winter.
Score-wise it wasn’t my best golf day at all! By far! I shot a round of 103 which equals 30 points in my case. that is due to the tough ranking the course has. But I lost too many balls, hence had too many penalties and wasn’t hitting the ball constantly enough (for my liking).
Only 3 pars and 5 bogeys, I have to confess. The rest worse… shame on me! But the course is really tough and, like the day before, when there is nobody that might give you some tips, it’s hard to go for the green and squeeze everything out of every shot (GIR: 0%). And orientation was an issue again. I think I might play way better when I get there a second time! We will see…
Sylt is a unique island and hence has some unique sights. One of the main reasons coming here (for a guy like me) are the perfect possibilities to play golf, because there are not less than three courses on this small island (in fact there is one more, but that’s a private 9-hole course and not an official member of the german golf association).
I started my golf-week with playing the most northern German golf course, the Golf Club Sylt, which was only a 3-minute drive by car from our rental house in Wenningstedt. Next to a typical friesian club house there is a modern pro shop with polite people and a professional starter office. The organization was very quick, so from arriving there to getting on the course, it took me not more than 5 minutes.
Only downside from my current view: at that time I played the course, there wasn’t a kind of birdie book or strokesaver available (should be 4 weeks later), which was very unlucky because it’s always a mess with courses you haven’t played yet. I personally have problems to get perfect orientation and at least for greens in regulation statistics that would be very useful. So it took me a while to get the distances, the proper approaches and the orientation since I played my round alone and had no assistance by other club members or experienced guests. Especially when there are no signs and no yardages displayed at the tee boxes at all, it makes the round a bit harder…. and the score worse!
The course is mostly flat and offers beautiful views at the lighthouse, into the dunes, into the heather and onto the sea. The fairways and greens were in good shape, the weather was quite breezy but sunny, there wasn’t much traffic, which all helped to fully enjoy the round.
Speaking of scores, I shot a round of 95, what equals 32 stableford points in my case. It’s a fair result under such circumstances! 6 pars were very well appreciated!
What a week! I just arrived from a one-week trip to Sylt, the beautiful island in the North Sea. In deed, May is a very good time to play golf on Sylt: Easter is over, so that crowd is gone, it’s not hot enough to swim in the sea or to sun-bath at the beach, so that crowd is not here yet. What’s left is retired people, inhabitants and Sylt- and golf-enthusiasts like me!
The island currently is like empty. The difference to July/August couldn’t be bigger: There are no crowds at the beach, no waiting queues in front of restaurants, no problems to get a table in bars and clubs, no Ferraris/Porsches/Bentleys cruising through Kampen and hence no traffic on the golf courses as well! And that was what I liked the most.
I planned to play all of the 3 official golf courses, as I already mentioned in another post. I enrolled for a golf-hopping event and was able to play to a fairly low price (of 160 EUR for 3 rounds). The organization couldn’t be easier: Just walk into the clubhouse of the first club you want to play, register for golf-hopping, pay… and play. It’s that easy. I highly recommend it to all of you planning to go there some day!
Sylt has three major golf courses. One is old, one is a bit younger and one is only 2 years old. That’s Golf Club Budersand, a new scottish-looking links-course that’s currently belonging to Germany’s 3 best courses (and was rated to ‘best new course’ in 2010). And I think it deserves that title, but more on that later on. However, there were storms and generally breezy weather when we arrived, so every course was, due to their links character, a real challenge!
Let me put it in sequential order. First, I decided to play Golf Club Sylt, then Budersand and then – last but not least – the Marine Golf Club Sylt. Every course is a unique nature masterpiece and perfectly set into the island’s landscape. Each of them has pros and cons but all are stunning and very worth to play! Due to this importance of every single round, I will present the courses in separate posts on Golficiency. So please continue reading as follows:
as i mentioned in the course-tracking, i start to appreciate to come around and to play courses wherever i am. so i decided not only to play as many courses as possible in my home town but to go on golf vacation as often as achievable.
last year i made a wonderful trip to the north-eastern part of germany and stayed at the castle at lake fleesensee. there they have a beautiful country club with not less than 5 courses to play. and when i left, i said to myself: “such golf trips, you’ll do that every year from now on!”
a word and a blow, some days ago i booked my next golf trip for this year: one week golf hopping on the chic and sophisticated island of sylt in the north sea. it is called “the german hamptons” and everbody who’s been there always wants to come back. not only because of the golf facilities, but for sure because of the beauty of the nordic landscape and the other rich possibilities you have.
the “golf hopping” is a combined offer of the 3 golf courses they have on the island (honestly they have 4, but this is kind of a private one). next to the golfclub sylt and the marine golf club sylt, the budersand golf course is the newest and currently one of the 3 best courses in germany! that should be enough reason to go there and play! budersand is a truly links course and therefore one of few real scottish-looking courses in this part of europe. you bet, i’m already a bit afraid of the installed pot bunkers!
in early may i will fly to westerland, which is kind of the capitol of sylt and will live in a picturesque house in wenningstedt, right at the west beach. and boy, what will i play golf there!! i currently have no idea how often i can play, but 4 times is the minimum, i think! at least the beast budersand is going to be tamed twice… excited!! :)