The seminal hour for golf architecture in Germany came in 1927, when Harry Colt and his partner John Morrison toured the country. One of the courses they designed rose to brilliance (Hamburger Golf Club at Falkenstein), some to at least national relevance (Frankfurter, Bergisch Land, Hittfeld), some were lost in World War II (Nedlitz, Saalfeld, Dresden), some abandoned for local reasons (Leonberg, Bad Eilsen), some were changed beyond recognition (Lübeck-Travemünder, Gütermann Gutach) and some never even got off the ground properly (Chemnitz). This leaves Aachener Golf Club, the second commission on their trip, with the curious fate of surviving reasonably intact, but staying under the radar all the same. At the time only 9 holes were built, but an extension to 18 was all but done and dusted. When it finally did materialise, the calendar showed 1980 and the architect in charge was Frank Pennink.
Today’s routing meanders between the Morrison and Pennink loop to incorporate the additional property adrift of the clubhouse. The round now starts and ends with the strongest holes and lumbers through a less distinctive stretch in-between. While a recent bunker restoration has set a few highlights, much of the course is sitting dormant architecturally. And that has its upside as well, because very few concessions to the modern game were introduced. The tree management program is a great example: whether by design or accident, Aachener may be the closest that any Colt & Company course in Germany gets to its roots. Some fairways (mostly on the Pennink holes) have trees on both sides, but they aren't especially dense and the undergrowth has been cleared. There is enough open space to find errant balls, but not so much as to let the wind become a dominant factor. This is a parkland course, after all.
The green complexes are quite undulated in parts, so the short game plays a large role. Wedge fans will love it and there are also a number of great driving holes. Only the irons in between will not get a lot of play outside of the three magnificent one-shotters. The classic medium-length par four that constitutes the backbone of so many courses, is oddly missing here. Nevertheless, it's a fun track with some traditional elements preserved and the soil is quite drainable, so conditions should be just fine throughout the year. The club is a bit on the private side, which might explain the relative obscurity compared to courses of a similar pedigree, but guest play is possible during the week.